anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

An interesting commentary on Facebook.

I haven't spotted any paparazzi planted outside my home with a telephoto lens. But I've discovered what it means to be a celebrity. Last year I beat Federer and Nadal, I played at the Masters Cup and the media talked about me. I was in Paris Match and even on the 20.00 TV news. The cab drivers now recognize me and there are people watching my practice sessions. As a result - it's terrible, you'll see -, it takes twice as long to go back to the lockerrooms. I will never feel like being a star, a real one, with body guards. I'm not a fan at all of the "and me and me and me" and "look, here I am" attitude.

I appreciate the recognition. Not of who I am, but of what I've done. I like the idea that people appreciate my work. If this recognition lands on me when I'm not at work, I have trouble dealing with it. When I'm doing Christmas shopping with my girlfriend and a guy turns up saying "Hey, Simon! Come on, sign something for me!", it feels like a real intrusion to me.

The problem is that my generation has erased the line between private life and public life for long already. And I realize I'm not in line with my time. I'm not saying I'm old-fashioned either. I like video games and McDo desserts.

But let's take an example: Facebook. I heard it's the website with the highest market value at the moment. If that's true, I'm flabbergasted. A lot of players are on Facebook, but I will never ever have an account there. A guy is pretending to be me there, but you have to know he's a fake. I don't get at all the idea of this website. If the point is to find again people one hasn't seen for a long time, why not?

But what's Facebook? It's self-centred. It's a giant chat-up club. It's voyeuristic. It's: "Look at the photos of my holidays", "I'm in a bad mood today, everybody should know it". People say everything, disclose everything, enjoy telling their life, even the hollowest parts of it.

I think all this started with "Loft Story" (the French "Big brother"). The show was a huge success. What did we see people do during two months? Nothing, nothing and nothing.

I don't feel like showing everybody the photos of my holidays. First, they're mine. I don't think a lot of people would be interested anyway. And I don't see what it would add to my "character". Some newspapers asked for photos of my girlfriend, for example. I refused. That's the line I was talking about. Yes, I talked about my "piano years" at the Conversatoire. Yes, I talked about my passion for video games. I did it once, now it's done. I'm a tennis player. And I'm not on Facebook.

That short write-up there? Courtesy of Gilles Simon (translated, of course).

First, I totally agree with what he said about Facebook. It's the best platform for the average person to whore out his social activities to the people that he wants to impress in real life. Want to let everyone know you spent your holidays in Paris? Just upload all your photos which will show up on everyone's newsfeed, and so even if they can't be bothered about you enough to click on it, at least they'd know that you've gone to Paris. Feeling like shit, and depressed that no one cares? Just write some stupid emo-shit update in your status and the whole world will now know!

Facebook is attention-seeking. Very attention-seeking. In a way, it's worse than a blog: you tend to add people you know in real life to your friends list, and so you have the perfect avenue with which to transmit information about yourself, which you think will make you seem "cool", to these people, some of whom you might be trying to impress. A blog, on the other hand, while undoubtedly public, doesn't have the same reach that Facebook does. People will log into their Facebook accounts and see your random update on their newsfeed; but they won't check your blog for updates if they're just acquaintances, not so much a friend, and therefore couldn't care less about your existence.

And it's such people, and the need in some of us to "reach out" to such people and show them we're cool enough to be worthy of their attention, that makes Facebook so enticing and, in a dark sense, useful. Gilles, therefore, hit it right on the head when he talked about the self-centered and voyeuristic nature of the website.

Of course, he doesn't say anything new about it; but having someone lay it down so explicitly, and having a really pretty tennis player whom I didn't think was particularly thoughtful or astute, lay it down in such simple terms, does quite a bit in making me think about this: Facebook's voyeuristic nature, the way we use it to seek attention, the way we seek attention because of it.

As a result, I can't be bothered much with my Facebook account nowadays. All I do with it is to check Roger's fan page for updates (which he actually runs HIMSELF, omg), fangirl over tennis/Federer and American Idol/Kris Allen in my status updates, and reply to messages. Like Gillou, I don't really want the whole world knowing what I'm doing with my life every second of the day, and I don't really care if people know that I've been to Paris or not. Putting up photos on Facebook is a convenient way to share it with your friends that care (be it because they went with you or because they're your friends, hence), but that's about as far as it goes. And if I'm being honest, I hardly ever look at vacation photos put up by people I'm not particularly close to.

I guess I'm just not very interested in people's lives. Unless you're my friend, I wouldn't even remember your Facebook page exists.



I totally knew he had a girlfriend too. I've never seen her before. He does really well to protect her privacy, and his. Good on him.
Tags: commentary, facebook, gilles simon

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