Proper Facebook Etiquette

#2057 Maggie Thatcher Backroom

Tuesday 9th April, 2013

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Dear Dr M.

‘Ding, dong the witch is dead’, is how Friends announced the death of Margaret Thatcher on Facebook.  Is this a Page to be Liked, shared, tagged, commented on or ignored?  And what does it say that this news came Facebook first and BBC/Sky second…

From a concerned gentleperson.

This is a historic moment indeed. And time for you, Gentleperson, to adopt your most patient and patrician manner. This is when you may hint at this new News, but then also offer obeisance in terms of the passing of another amongst the rich tapestry of life.

To translate my rather oblique statement above; even if you find yourself sing along with the Wizard of Oz song (lalalala lala la), you would do very wise to exercise extreme caution in dancing on any woman’s grave – even one who was Friends with General Pinochet, and unFriended Nelson Mandela. You risk an appalling loss of face and damage to your respectable status otherwise.

Do be impressed that your friends know who this Margaret is.  Most have no truck with carrying out a quick Google search after the event, which makes it (almost) impossible to tell whose political leanings can really be trusted. My own NewsFeed reveals over a century ton of MT related reflection as well as an especially important objection to the stupid-ness of stupid via @whoisthatcher

103 other friends posted about Margaret Thatcher.

A Friend

That’s right kids, don’t think to use a search engine, just post on twitter.

Wait, who is Margaret Thatcher anyway?

Dedicated to those who just don’t know… @whoisthatcher

Like · · Share · 43 · 14 hours ago ·

    Another Friend

RIP Margaret Thatcher, one of the most famous power women of all time


There’s nothing flakey about sharing the News. Imagine if Diana died today, Facebook and Twitter would capture this event before any of the News channels.  So Gentleperson you are a product of the Facebook school of news.

This observation makes me go a little bonkers. The news! My Friends interpretation of the news!… The beginning of the end in terms of political tarnish….  This remains a classic class context (Facebook was originally only for Us university kids ya know). I bet no other generation has to spend hours trying to outdo one another with their social activities and friend sensibilities.

I’ve got it! Why not create a Facebook Event.  An evening of ‘talking politics’, then there can be uncomfortable silences, pickled eggs, Victoria sponge and cucumber sandwiches! Nothing more English or stand-off-ish than forced political debate. Except when it’s on a SNS it seems. No…. this is the only answer.  A Facebook Event.  It’s got the English element of traditional communication and revelation, whilst retaining a symbolic gesture to congregate around booze and reveling.   Facebook is the ultimate funnel for how we understand the news and politics; as we import the raw materials from Friends, and use our ‘wit’ to transform these into mundane commentaries worthy of the Daily Mail.

A bit like this blog.

[written at Spring Espresso. 45 Fossgate. York. YO1 9TF]

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