Being “Friends” on Facebook

At the beginning of this year, I had a bit of a revelation.
It had been on my mind for ages, I could just never quite put my finger on it. And then one day – the words put themselves together in my brain.

The moment you realise you’re just a FB friend,
when all along you thought you were more.

After that little epiphany, I started thinking about it more and more, and about my life and friends pre-Facebook. A time when I actually SPOKE to my friends on the phone. When I actually SAW my friends in person. When my social circle was small. Before people developed a complete aversion to answering their phones at all (and I LOVE speaking on the phone).
And I know FOMO well. It has plagued me all my life. You know the feeling – when you see your “friends” doing something without you, or getting together somewhere without you. That has bugged me less and less this year, and FOMO has always existed, but I have come to the conclusion that its Facebook’s real bread and butter – its what keeps people logging in and scrolling.
What really got to me though, what REALLY opened my eyes, was when people I thought were actual friends of mine, experienced major life events – and I knew no more about what was happening than anyone else who could see their Facebook feed.
That really hurt, because I was under the illusion I was closer to them.

Its taken me months to actually start doing anything about it, and I have no intention of closing my Facebook account, but I am unfriending* and un-following people regularly now. And I’m not doing it with any of those attention-seeking “I’m culling my friends list, leave a comment if you still love me” posts either.
Whilst I have used the “birthday notification rule” for some time now – the one where you unfriend someone after getting a Facebook birthday notification, but you have had no interaction with that person in over a year, but I am getting stricter with myself.
If someone makes me roll my eyes on a regular basis, for whatever reason, I un-follow them.
If someone makes me wonder how the hell we became Facebook friends in the first place, I unfriend them.

Its given me an odd sense of peace. An “out of sight, out of mind” kind of peace. Its made me determined to properly reconnect with the real people in my life.

*I loathe the word, I know its accepted, but it still sounds grammatically wrong to me.

Being Concerned About Children’s Pictures Becoming Memes

Picture it. You are scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feed one morning, while you sip your first cup of coffee, and suddenly… there’s a face you recognise.
Its an image that has been shared by a Facebook “friend” you have only a vague memory of meeting or ever speaking to, who found it on their friend’s feed – someone you don’t know at all.
Its been liked, and commented on, and shared numerous times already by this friend’s friend’s friends – never mind the attention it got when it was posted on The Divine Side Of Parenting, or the Dads Who Babysit Badly Facebook page*.

Its your child’s face!

It’s YOUR child!

Its the picture you took before cleaning up the mess he had made, ‘coz it was so typical and funny and you knew your family would get a laugh.
Its the picture you took because your little princess looked so cute all pink and smiling on her tiptoes after her bubble bath and you knew her granny would love it.
Its the picture you took ‘coz they were smiling in an especially cute way, like they had just been mischievous and your timing was perfect.

And now it has a caption on it. In bold white text.

There are quite a few very well known memes on the internet that are made using pictures of children. They have many different captions ‘coz there are some very clever and funny people in this world. Some of those captions are mean and crass and offensive.
And they are on the internet forever.
You’ll know them if you see them (I have deliberately blurred the images so they won’t be shared yet again). Do you think their parents shared them as memes, or in the hopes they would become memes? What about when these children are Googled by prospective employers one day? The internet doesn’t go away. It can’t be deleted.

You’ve seem them before, haven’t you? You may even have commented on them, liked them, and shared them and thought nothing of it.

Think before you post pictures of your children online. It doesn’t matter if your Twitter feed is private, or what your privacy settings on Facebook are – they are changed all the time, nothing is safe.

And remember that pictures of naked and semi-naked children are considered child pornography when posted online in South Africa. Yes – even babies, and yes – even when posted by the child’s parents.

And I don’t give a crap how justified you think your cause is – you may NEVER post pictures of someone else’s naked children without their permission!
It was an incident exactly like this that got me onto this subject today – a woman photographed a naked child, and shared it publicly on Facebook because she didn’t like the circumstances under which the child was naked – she was all “I won’t rest until I find out what was going on…” and “I won’t rest until I find this child’s parents…“.
This is not how you take action, FCOL. How dare you.

*not actual Facebook pages

You may want to read:

Clearly I’m Getting Old.

I must be, because I’m reminiscing about “The good ol’ days…” and muttering into my coffee about “Thats not how we did it back then…”

I’m talking about blogging. And heaven knows my blog has gotten quiet since my son grew into an adult and said I couldn’t write about parenting him anymore.
I still write about my animals, and my cake art, but those are on seperate blogs to this one.

Seeing Facebook group posts like “Hi! I’m new to blogging! How do I get 10K readers?” or “Hi! I’m new to blogging! How do I make money?” and one of my favourites “Hi! I’m new to blogging! How do I get free stuff?” makes me want to ask them if they can even write worth a damn.  🙁

Ugh. I miss what blogging used to be.

Make no mistake, I’ve had my share of some AWESOME freebies. I still get invited to an event once in a blue moon and I blog about them. But I got lucky because I was there when SA businesses started asking bloggers to talk about their products, before you had to be an “influencer” with an audience of thousands.
But that isn’t why I started blogging.
I STARTED blogging because I wanted to share my life as a single mom.
I DISCOVERED I could make friends – many of whom I treasure some eleven years down the line. Hell, I met my darling Glugster, my husband, through our blogs!
If I remember correctly, there were easily fifty local and international blogs I was reading on a weekly basis at the very least back in the day. I loved reading them and leaving comments*.
Very few of those blogs even exist anymore. And now there are only a few blogs I still read, and I can’t remember when last I started reading a new one.

In the early days, before Facebook and Twitter (and and and), we didn’t use our real names, and we were super neurotic about people discovering our identities, and being stalked and murdered by the weirdos on the internet.
Now the weirdos are loud and proud, and everyone uses their real names.
Bloggers I got to know long before blogging was a business, or social media was a career in South Africa, have succeeded in turning their blogging into a business. These people are incredible writers and/ or photographers, and their work is worth paying for.
I am not a writer, not by a long shot. I am a blogger. 😛 And there is a big difference. I have seen my writing turned into a masterpiece when edited by a writer, so I do know the difference. And I am a happy snapper, not a photographer.
IMHO, if you want to blog to make money and get freebies, then you had better be a good writer, and at the very least a half-decent photographer, and work on your blog daily, to get and keep “influencer” status.
It takes WORK.

But I do miss the days of reading about each other’s adventures just for fun.

*I am a serial comment leaver, I will comment if I read your blog. It never occurred to me to lurk

Upfront Africa With Discovery Networks

Last night, my Glugster and I were lucky enough to attend the Discovery Networks Upfront Africa event at Levelthree Premium Venue, where the 2016 lineups for the Discovery Channel South Africa, Animal Planet, and TLC Africa were announced.

Whitney Thore was on stage, as was Andi Rive – The Lion Queen, and after a card trick or four Troy The Magician got someone on stage who then coloured in a picture he had drawn – and while he had his back turned she had to choose one colour at a time… And then he told us to look under our seats for a photograph from a photoshoot last week!

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The winner of TLC Next Great Presenter competition was also announced – Namibia’s David Mbeha. While our vote totally went to Joburg’s Star, David is very deserving of the win. What a personality for a twenty-year-old! He will become the first-ever African presenter for the channel!

I got to do some celeb “stalking” too, while nibbling on delicious snacky things – sushi FTW – and sip champagne. Here’s me with Whitney Way Thore, Troy The Magician, The Lion Queen, and Mix 93.8 FM‘s Helen Desbois!

Here’s the official press release:

DISCOVERY NETWORKS AFRICA UNVEILS ITS 2016 PROGRAMMING SLATE

Discovery Channel Presents New Scripted Series HARLEY-DAVIDSON; Oprah Returns to TLC with BELIEF; and More Local Content on Animal Planet with THE LION QUEEN S2 and MAN IS WILD.

Johannesburg, November 18 2015; Discovery Networks today announced its impressive 2016 programme line-up in spectacular fashion at its exclusive Upfront event in Johannesburg. The event also saw the crowning of Discovery’s first African presenter for TLC, as David Mbeha from Namibia was announced the winner of the hotly-anticipated TLC NEXT GREAT PRESENTER campaign.

Over 200 guests were treated to the presentation which saw Discovery and DStv executives announce the key shows set to premiere in Africa next year across Discovery Channel, TLC Entertainment and Animal Planet, while performances byWhitney Thore (MY BIG FAT FABULOUS LIFE), Andi Rive (THE LION QUEEN) and Troy (TROY) provided added star power to the night’s proceedings.

“2016 is set to be another incredible year for Discovery Networks in Africa, with a fantastic slate of new series and one-off specials proving yet again why we have the leading factual entertainment portfolio in Africa,” said James Gibbon, EVP & Country Manager, Discovery Networks CEEMEA. “From landmark documentaries filmed right here in Africa on Animal Planet and even more must-see lifestyle content on TLC, to a brand-new ambitious scripted series for Discovery Channel, next year our content offering will be second-to-none!”

DISCOVERY CHANNEL

Key Discovery Channel series announced at the event include the ground-breaking documentary SHERPA premiering in Q2, which details how Mount Everest’s Sherpa community united following the deadly avalanche that struck in 2014, killing 16 of their members. TELESCOPE is the brand-new documentary film set to premiere in Q3 that will take Discovery Channel audiences behind the making of the greatest telescope yet – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – a veritable time machine capable of taking us back to the origins of our universe. In Q4, Discovery Channel will look at the real-life story behind HARLEY-DAVIDSON in its next scripted series which examines how the iconic brand has paved the way to becoming a national symbol in American culture. And returning favourites FAST N’ LOUD, GOLD RUSH, and RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS will ensure Discovery Channel is truly unmissable in 2016.

TLC ENTERTAINMENT

On TLC, South Africa’s #1 lifestyle channel, audiences can look forward to a host of new faces and must-see moments.TINA MALONE: MY NEW BODY (Q1) sees British actress Tina Malone attempt to reshape her entire body after a huge weight-loss; then in SAVE MY STYLE, celebrity stylist June Ambrose transforms contestants from social media in this brand new makeover series coming to TLC in Q2. FIRST HEARTBEAT is the moving reality series premiering in Q1 following one couple and their emotional journey to start a family. And Oprah Winfrey returns in the New Year withBELIEF, a ground-breaking television event exploring humankind’s ongoing search to connect with something greater than ourselves. TLC viewers can also look forward to new dating series MARRIED BY MOM AND DAD and LOVE AT FIRST SWIPE, as well as new episodes of SEX SENT ME TO THE ER, CAKE BOSS and MY BIG FAT FABULOUS LIFE.

ANIMAL PLANET

Africa will once again take centre stage in 2016 on Animal Planet in series such as MAN IS WILD premiering in Q3, which follows one outlandish animal tracker and his novel and very brave approach to studying animals in the wild. South African lion conservationist Andi Rive returns for a second series of THE LION QUEEN in Q2, as she continues her mission to raise awareness about a species that is facing extinction. DR. DEE: ALASKA VET follows one dedicated woman as she travels across glaciers and mountains to care for the wild and domestic animals of America’s largest state; and frightened felines are reunited with their owners in the lovable new series TREETOP CAT RESCUE coming to Animal Planet in Q1.

Ah Facebook, How I Loathe You…

The more I use it, the more I dislike it.

For a while I thought it was social media in general that I can’t stand anymore, but I actually still enjoy Twitter and Instagram. WhatsApp has become a communication tool rather than a form of social media. And even though I blog far less than I used to, I still enjoy that too.

I also work in social media – Facebook included – and this I enjoy too. Probably because it’s not personal…

Anyhoodle.

My growing distaste of Facebook has nothing to do with the fact that my feed defaults to “Top Stories” no matter how many times I change it to “Most Recent” (get over it people, it’s not going to change no matter how many times you share a protest-slash-petition).
I try to keep the number of Facebook friends I have under 200, and I limit my acceptance of friend requests to people I actually speak to on a fairly regular basis.
My irritation also has nothing to do with the games people play. I just reject the request and block the game. Problem solved.
Even the click bait, bad grammar, and “vaguebooking” isn’t what has put me off.

What I have come to hate is that as much as people share on Facebook, they don’t talk to each other.