The Five Point Guide For Being My Facebook Friend

I felt a bit reticent over creating a post about facebook. I thought it might seem, although I’ve been at it for a while now, that I’m joining the “facebook is dead” and “anti facebook” bandwagons. So I’ve changed my tack a bit on broaching this subject. For some background, I left this particular social network, by choice, for a month. I came back after I lost my phone and the need for any kind of social discourse forced me to reactivate it. It’s amazing in this time of email and ease of communication that you might as well be a hermit in a cave if you don’t have facebook, a mobile phone or both. I personally am a complete twitter convert. So the first thing I did was to attach my twitter account to my timeline, limiting the amount of time I’d need to be on it. But alas, I got drawn in and had to comment on things and like some stuff and I felt as dirty as Hugh Grant must have after getting caught.

But my hatred is still there and the constant feeding my hatred gets is on facebook every day, in fact, every few hours. The thing is even though we all discuss it in private and hate it; everyone still does the same thing. Which made me wonder if my generation skipped this annoying trait of social networking indulgence and just learnt what to do, as every other generation seems born with the ability to generally annoy me more than Jo Whiley does – which is a lot. So I thought it might be best, instead of ranting and just generally venting, to create a small five-point guide for beginners on facebook, especially those befriending me. Consider it if you will as an informal pamphlet on facebook etiquette.

1) Don’t like your own statuses.

This may sound incredibly silly. But, simply put, if you like your own status then you are either really stupid or a completely egocentric garish amoeba. You don’t talk to your friends and say “I’d like some pizza” followed by “Yeah I’m awesome, I like this.” So don’t say it on facebook.

2) Be careful what you get tagged in.

One of the most annoying things is when you get automatically tagged in a picture that shows how many people have visited your profile or what love heart you are. Or more recently what Game of Thrones House you belong to. If you have that much time to waste on these pathetic additions to the timeline then you really need to recheck your life, go to a library and get a book, or simply get out of bed and go for a walk. They aren’t entertaining and they certainly aren’t entertaining me.

3) If you have a problem with someone, keep it to yourself.

Ok so this is probably the hardest one out of all of them. I’m certainly guilty of it. But if something’s wrong with your relationship with friends, family, ex’s, whatever, then keep it to yourself. Firstly, I honestly don’t give a toss if you’re getting annoyed, unless it directly affects our friendship or me. Secondly, don’t follow it up with “I can’t say” or “text/call me” as then you are as big of a twat as the person who was annoying you. Don’t bring your shit into the public domain if you haven’t got the balls to actually mention it. If you’re trying to send a “message” to the dickhead that’s annoying you then try calling him/her and tell them yourself.

4) Speling and gramma

It may shock you to know that 100% of the people on facebook in the UK have either been in education or are in education. If you really have trouble spelling words correctly or using correct punctuation without a character limit, then you should really spend the time you are on facebook over at the BBC’s GCSE Bitesize website to give you a reminder. Unless that is you are intentionally mocking or trying to be funny. In which case stay on facebook and don’t come back into the real world. We did those jokes years ago and they aren’t funny anymore. Slang I will allow as long as it fits the character of the person saying it. For example, I can’t see my status being updated in a language only Snoop Dogg could create or understand. Speaking of which, don’t quote TV people’s catch phrases. People used to do that in public in pubs before and they really were the worst type of fool.

5) Pictures of you. Not your family album

I’ll be honest, when I get married or a have long term partner, I fully expect my parents to pull out the “long lost” baby pictures album to show me at my worst/most naked. I do not expect my parents to jump onto the nearest computer and log in to facebook to show them my baby pictures. The fact that baby pictures exist on facebook in abundance is already well mocked. But consider for a moment the effect this will have on your child. In a completely made up survey conducted by a completely made up agency, because you’ve put your baby and child’s pictures on facebook and haven’t checked your privacy settings, over 1 million completely made up paedophiles have found your child’s picture on a google search and bashed out some completely made up semen. What if your child grew up knowing these completely made up facts?

Ok so that’s a bit extreme and sometimes it’s fine for a family picture or to show that you’ve just had a child, or if they’ve done something really funny (like the youtube videos have). Otherwise, please don’t. I am willing to bet that you have somewhere a physical photograph of a family member (parent or grandparent). Imagine if your child doesn’t have this, doesn’t have the physical connection to that person with an actual photo that they can frame, show off, hold in times of need, talk to and look for inspiration or guidance. Imagine instead that you log on to facebook and can only mouse click backwards and forwards away from it. To me, I think that’s rather sad.

There are probably a lot more things that will eventually annoy me and that I will scorn facebooks’ millions of users for. But until I work them out or they become blatantly obvious, just stick to these points and we can be friends… Virtually, of course.

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Will Defiance Defy or Defile?

Defiance.

It seems like a brilliant idea and a brilliant concept.

Here’s a “bring you up to speed” bit. SyFy in the US (the people that have brought you Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Eureka, etc.) are launching a new show called Defiance over Spring 2013. Its premise is that aliens crash on a near-future Earth with an ark of animals and people and begin to terraform and cohabit with the humans.

Fair enough. But they are also releasing a game. Not a tie in, but a constant companion to the series. The game is set in a different city to the TV series (game in San Francisco, TV in St Louis) but it runs side by side with the TV universe. The stories, mythology and events of the series happen at the same time in the game. Characters jump from the series to the game and back out to the series to talk about what’s happened in the game. It’s what they call “Transmedia.” The game itself is a Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter (MMOFPS) that will be on 360, PS3, PC and will have an iPad version. Here’s the website about it that gives you all the info and videos that you need. http://defiance.com/en/

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This has been in development for 4 years. In that time, from the TV perspective, SyFy made and cancelled at least two major (costly) series; Caprica and Stargate Universe. They’ve ended Eureka and have given a very big paycheck and primetime slot to Vince McMahon for WWE’s Smackdown. That fact that this isn’t a tie in and the whole duality of both the TV and MMO game makes me nervous because it is completely new territory. The game doesn’t make me nervous at all as a single entity. The game, if it’s a good game, will succeed, regardless of the TV series. Or it won’t (e.g. APB).

This is where my fears lay however, the TV series. For those of you who know anything about how television works you may get this immediately. For those of you who don’t, here’s how it goes:

  • Big series is developed. Lots of money goes into it.
  • Series premieres to rave reviews and large audiences. TV rakes in advertising money and distribution rights.
  • TV Execs immediately commission second series.
  • Series begins to fall mid season where not much happens. Viewer numbers tumble.
  • Series goes on mid season break. Viewers get annoyed with pointlessly long gap and forget series.
  • Series returns with more viewers but less than the premiere. Execs move it around the schedule to get best audience, but ultimately lose it because they keep moving it around.
  • Viewers fall completely with only peak at the end of season inevitable cliffhanger.
  • Second series starts and audiences drop to a third of what they were.
  • TV Execs continue to move the show around, hoping they stumble upon an audience like they’re drilling for oil.
  • Series is cancelled by mid season break.
  • Avid followers begin uproar; execs cite how much money they’ve spent.
  • Series ends and Execs have stirred the fans into such an angry frenzy, they’ll bleed money from the huge DVD sales.

That’s pretty much it. With a show idea like Defiance, it has three major problems that will lose the casual massive audience it needs to prevent that from happening. Firstly, it’s Science Fiction. This is a harsh but true problem. With the exception of Star Trek: The Next Generation, there hasn’t been a successful mainstream Science Fiction show produced in the US in recent times that has kept a casual audience. In the UK, Doctor Who may be the only example of this. But as soon as you start putting in aliens, spaceships or whatever, casual audiences turn off. Secondly, its allure is innovation. This works incredibly well in a movie environment where it is a one off. But once its been done, its old and people will forget it. For all of Avatar’s innovation for example, there is hardly anyone that will argue that the story was more wooden than Joan River’s face. As a TV series, Avatar would have been a very expensive blue turd.

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Thirdly, the idea of the computer game will possibly end its appeal. The risk is that the show begins to cater to the universe its in rather than the audience itself. The casual audience will scatter immediately leaving only the gaming audience who will either be a large community that love the game and find the TV show a distraction, or a small community that enjoy both equally but not enough to keep SyFy pumping the money into it.

I really am interested to see how this pans out because it’s a major risk from SyFy. But with great risk comes great innovation. If it works and it’s successful, it will completely rewrite the entertainment industry. Which will probably lead to Fox doing exactly the same thing, only much cheaper and with no care on what the show is about. But I fear that the American big audience, which it is mainly aimed for, will disappear. All that will be left is a core cult of people that the TV execs simply cannot justify spending multi-million dollar budgets on.

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This is an intriguing multimedia proposal, but there is one other side note. Near-future alien/human crossover shows never last very long or aren’t very good. Examples being Alien Nation, Earth: Final Conflict, V, Alf… Ok maybe not Alf, but you get my point. Even the Terminator series only lasted for two seasons and those were human looking robots! There is an often mistaken theory in all walks of the entertainment world. If you throw enough money at it, it will be successful. I just wonder if the money spent on this could have been better spent on developing many new series instead of one absolutely mega blow out. We shall see.

Edit: Just discovered Bear McCreary is doing the music. It will be awesome.