How to be good (on Facebook)

It’s difficult to be good in real life. Things are frequently so complex and fraught. To an extent, it’s probably much easier to be good on Facebook. But how? These are some ideas I have.

  1. Sharing is not Caring

I’ve spent a lot of time observing Barney (the dinosaur) for obvious reasons. Why, for example, do small kids love him so much? I think it comes down to shape, those big maternal hips. Or perhaps it’s the catchy slogans dropping from those grinning purple chops like, ‘Big or little, you are all wonderful just the way you are’. Maybe. But that doesn’t mean one wants to views one’s wonderfulness from last night’s drunken dinner party through the harsh glare of the computer screen the next morning.

Rule one: never post and tag a friend in a picture where he / she looks shocking but you look great.  If you must post that pic, crop and cut.

(Somebody I know once posted a picture of somebody else tagged as me. This other person, this non-Lisa Lazarus, was dressed up as a clown with a big plastic red nose. It stayed online for years.)

  1. What Goes Around Comes Around

In the broader sense, I actually don’t believe this at all. Life doesn’t hand back what you

Saint Catherine of Alexandria___Source2

Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Caravaggio.  I think she’d post some interesting stuff on FB (after she’d finished her spinning), but she’d be hard to please and you wouldn’t get a lot of likes from her.

give out. Life is arbitrary, frequently cruel and relentless. But when it comes to Facebook, you can level the playing field.

You know the person? The one who is loath to like anyone else’s stuff, but keeps collecting the ‘easy likes’?  Play fair. Give what you get, or at least in some kind of reasonable ratio.

  1. Reheated Leftovers

Supposedly there’s no such thing as bad pizza or sex. Yet most people have encountered both, sometimes even together.  Don’t serve reheated leftovers on FB.

So it goes down like this: something terrible has happened in the world and everyone starts posting exactly the same pieces from the same sources. I know, it’s tempting. You’re so horrified etc. that you can’t stop yourself – but it’s tedious. Post new stuff.

  1. Sharing is not Caring (yes, again)

I’ve done this. In fact, I did this just last week.

You know how FB shares a memory from a few years back and compulsively, you share it? (It’s often of your kids, because, you know, they look so cute two years younger.) Even though shared memoirs are the cornerstones of most relationships, somehow FB doesn’t quite work this way. It’s the fresh, sensational stuff that captures our attention.

The fun thing about not sharing an old memory is the profuse apology you receive from Facebook (after you’ve rejected the memory). It’s like they’ve just made you witness your old boyfriend right before he told you he’s actually been cheating on you all year, but he’s very sorry, and, really, maybe you would consider an open relationship.

  1. Telling On

It’s a major strategy at age three, four, even five, but it’s one of the harsh truths of growing up: you realise the teacher, most of the time, just makes things worse.

‘Telling on’, however, is very popular on Facebook, especially during a fight: rounding up your posse to go after a common enemy. Childish.  Fight your own fights. Or call up your posse in private.

Those are my rules for good behaviour. What are yours?




Why Facebook is not like Tantric sex

I was out on the weekend with some friends and one of them was telling us about his experience at a tantric sex workshop. My only association with tantric sex is that it’s a place of great honesty. I know tantrica man who, when asked in such workshop what he fantasised about, sweetly responded that he thought about his wife, who was also there. This threw her into such a rage that she called him a liar right there and stormed out. Sometimes flattery doesn’t succeed.

But this workshop wasn’t about intimate fantasies but overt things: genital massages. It’s hard to lie about such matters, especially when the subject is a male.

‘It was a double massage,’ my friend explained, ‘the instructor tenderly stroked his hair while a woman massaged his penis.’

‘Were there a lot of people there?’

‘A good-sized crowd.’

‘And the guy, he didn’t mind?’

‘No, he seemed to find it… uplifting.’

‘Did you all have to stand back at the end?’

‘No, no,’ my friend told us patiently, ‘it’s not about that. It’s about working with your desire. The course convenor kept asking the guy being massaged to rate how turned on he was. He was a four, then a five, then up to a six and then down to a four. It swung wildly.’

‘Not a 5.3?’ said some wit.

‘It’s about the reabsorption of energy and desire…’

I switched off at this point. The phrase ‘ancient wisdom’ popped into my head. That phrase remined me of my grandmother. She believed you could tell people’s personalities by looking at their faces. Though  she also believed my brother stole her curtains, so she  wasn’t always the most reliable judge. (He denies that he stole her curtains, but he did say they were very nice.)

But I have to say, against my better judgement, that for writers, Facebook is a bit like a premature orgasm in tantric sex:  a missed opportunity to build desire upwards. One has an idea, a thought, and the first thing one does is share it on some social media platform. There is no build-up. No quiet reflection. Worst of all, once the idea is out there, the urge dissipates. You’re spent.

Perhaps we need a special tantric sex workshop for writers.