Facebook and Nido – Part 1

It is the hippest new thing in town. If you’re yet to participate in the phenomenon that is Facebook you better get moving with the times, especially if you’re a nidoer. Anyone who’s someone is on it: highschool students, university students, investment bankers, consulants, accountants, the list goes on and on.

So what is facebook? It’s basically an online social utility to practice voyeurism, whether you are the one being voyeured on or whether you are voyeuring on others. You add friends and join “networks”. You are then able to keep up with “updates” about what others in your networks or friendlists are doing. These networks can be your university, your school, your company, or even as general as “Bahrain”. You can see their pictures, what books and movies they like, what friends they have, their political viewpoints, whether they are single or in a relationship, and even what they are up to every day. You can join groups that you like, such as “I love Prison Break!”, “In memory of Saif El Arab – Saddam Hussein”, and “sexy, hot, arab women and proud of it. “Heck you can even play a “friends game”, where you have to guess your friends favourite books, their political viewpoint, etc.

And it is an absolute phenomenon. Stories abound about universities where half of their server capacity was dedicated to facebook surfing and subsequently had to be shut down. Pretty much every young person in the west and every nidoer around the world (but not only them exclusively) has joined the legions of facebook.

Yes it’s a great way of keeping in touch with friends, but everyone knows that it goes way beyond that. In fact I bet that facebook is one of the primary sources for the CIA and other intelligence agencies if they want to find out anything about anyone. With a couple of clicks of a mouse you can find out what a person’s political viewpoint are, who his friends are, what books interest him, his pictures, what he does for a living, and most importantly the groups he joins. If someone joins the groups “friends of Palestine”, or “friends of Israel”, or “Save Darfur!” or “I am a libertarian and proud of it”, you can get a good idea of his political leanings and viewpoints. As a source for finding information about someone, it equals and maybe even surpasses anything that google can offer.

Anyway that is only one of the interesting things one can read into facebook. The coolest thing about facebook is the insights and revelations it gives you about its users. Facebook must be a minefield for anthropologist and cultural and societal commentators, and I am sure that tons of studies/comments will abound about facebook. Since this is a blog mainly concerned with the nido society, I will limit my focus (it will be polemical and informal obviously) for the moment to this.

And my god there is so much to say if we focus mainly (but not exclusively) on the nidoers on facebook. For example, how is it in a society that is renowned for its emphasis on personal privacy and “not spreading your laundry in front of your neighbours”, how is it that a phenomenon that shows complete disregard for the aforementioned trait has grown so considerably? Here are people plastering information and pictures about themselves on pretty much a daily (if not more) basis. People update their status hourly. “nido is sleeping.” ” Nido is feeling great!” “Nido is taking the biggest smelliest dump ever.” “Nido is getting jiggy with his/her girlfriend/boyfriend.” I swear I have seen pictures of people in bikinis, holding beer bottles and french kissing plastered all over facebook (remember that they or their friends are actually the ones who post these pictures) , and this is in Bahrain! And all you have to do to view their profiles is join the network they are on (e.g. Bahrain).

Anyway, this will not be my main concern in my next few posts (and this facebook sensation definitely needs at least a few posts to even just scratch its surface), although I will keep coming back to it. I will be more interested in what this Facebook reveals about nidoers, the society(ies) they constitute and are part of , and indeed how facebook has helped shape and add to the nido generation phenomenon.

More to come on this in the next post. In the meantime, if you’ve been living on another planet you are sincerely advised to check out the phenom that is Facebook! If you’re already a seasoned facebooker, please let us know what you think of it!


23 Responses to “Facebook and Nido – Part 1”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    its asw that counts

  2. Aigre-Doux Says:

    HA HA HA. Requisite facebook coverage. Identity construction and performance no matter how masturbatory is fun.

  3. Aigre-Doux Says:

    I’m sure in a couple of years, there will be a flood of work (if there isn’t already) in cultural studies on the facebook phenomenon (i think its practitioners are tired of covering hip-hop and advertising). Also, its hardly the “hippest new thing”… its just coasting a new wave of popularity since its creator(s) decided to open it up to the rest of the world. You might want to discuss its exclusivist, Ivy-league -school-only origins as a site before it gradually expanded to include the lesser minions enrolled in the American educational system to god forbid, the rest of the world.

  4. chanad Says:

    haha, yes aigre. not that i ever use my account now — but i do remember those early “exclusivist” days back in 2004 when facebook was a convenient way to find someone in class who could help you with an assignment. i guess e-stalking is more fun and profitable.

    (what ever happened to friendster??)

  5. nido Says:

    Aigre-doux and chanad:

    Yup facebook has been around for a while in the U.S. (it’s probably old news by now) but it has become a big hit in Bahrain over the last few months, particularly with nidoers. There are like a thousand people on the Bahrain network now and it’s growing! It’s probably expected I guess….
    It used to be hi5 that was big in Bahrain (there’s even a group started up in the gulf contingency of facebook called “We Don’t want facebook to be like Hi5!”.


    What’s asw? American School of Warsaw? or you misspelled ass?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    a small world

  7. Mariam Says:

    I’ve been on facebook ever since my last year of college which was three years ago! I used to love it. It was limited to ppl in my college and was a good way to keep in touch with friends, classmates and professors. Now since its been open to the entire world, I hate it! Its like all the nidoers I loathe from bahrain have taken over.. lol.. It is really interesting to see what they’ve written. And of course the pictures are sometimes shocking, lol. I’m amazed at how “open” everyone has become!
    Regarding your next post, I also totally HATE the word moderate. I mean what is a moderate but a person who is satisfied with the status quo, or a person who just doesn’t want to think or take a position on things. But I also don’t like that entire spectrum of radical – liberal – moderate – conservative. I feel it just doesn’t apply to us in Bahrain or the entire Middle East for the matter. Take the shia political movement/organization of Hezbollah as an example and place it on that spectrum. It just doesn’t fall anywhere. It sometimes violently resists the status quo, so that would make it radical. On social issues, such as education and healthcare, it seems to believe in a welfare system and believe that governments should provide for their people. So in that respect, they are liberal (in the western sense). Now on other social issues, such as marriage, “gay rights”, religion, etc. you could describe them as conservative. Now look at a typical nidoer (and this is a MASSIVE generalization). He or she is conservative when it comes to changing the status quo, fiscal spending, minority rights (especially when it comes to immigration) and social welfare, liberal on some social issues such as dating etc. but conservative on others such as abortion, and then of course “moderate” on everything else.
    I refuse to call myself a liberal, moderate or a conservative. So on my facebook profile, I put “other”!

    Keep up the good work by the way! I enjoy reading your blog and would love to see more posts (although I’m sure your busy!) Its nice to see that there are some like minded bahrainis out there!

  8. Aigre-Doux Says:

    So, a general survey of the new flux of Bahrain entrants on facebook reveals that they care primarily about the following: Cars, narcissism, memorializing Shaikh Isa, the coat of arms, idolizing living members of the royal family, and yes, Juffair. There’s also a really misguided and fucked up “Anti-Tajnees” group. This is their description:

    “Are you bahraini? are you pissed because ure fellow brothers and sisters get nothing but elmojanaseen get all the fruits of our land for nothing and ure a citizen and you dont get shit… its time to speak up.. and stick it to the man

    This coming from bahraini group creators who “love porsches”, own audis, and are self-proclaimedly apathetic. Now doesn’t that make a whole lot of sense.

  9. nido Says:

    It looks like you’re a seasoned facebooker Mariam! Thanks for the encouraging words. Although there aren’t many it seems there are more and more people in Bahrain (of the nido background variety) who are not completely satisfied with the way things are which is encouraging.

    I’ll try to post as much as I can but unfortunately it does take a bit of an effort. Since there are a few of us however out there I think more and more of us should start posting and raising the issues. Please if any of you have interesting posts/comments to share I think it’s really important that we do! The more people talk about it the more it is out there and the more these issues will become “mainstream”!

    Thanks once again!

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