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!