18 July 2013


I have received many requests in recent days to be liked by people who I do not know - on Facebook. I don't like it. 

I don't like it at all.

I am a relatively new user of Facebook and I opted to join it to connect with other people who write and to see what actually happens there. I was unprepared for the madness. There is a lot of really weird shit. My offspring and their cousins invited me into their Facebook lives. This surprised me and then shocked me. The publicizing of their shenanigans and allowing me to look at what they do and who they are connected to is interesting.

To say the least.

I have written about the Facebook phenomena before. I referred to it as "Playing Facebook" I think of and refer to the constant users of this social medium as "Facebook Animals".

They don't like it.

Each day I receive multiple requests from people who I do not know asking me to "Like" their Facebook pages. These seem to be set up to promote their self-published books. Their requests are often accompanied by a message that says "if you like mine I will like yours". I assume that their intention is to get attention.  To exchange attention. When I look at the Facebook Pages that I am invited to like I don't like them. There is no "I don't like it" button so my only option is to 'unfriend' them.

I would like to do more.

The social media phenomena is very strange and particularly Facebook. It is however fascinating and I am at times mesmerized by it. I am hypnotized and I find myself being a bit of a voyeur. I am peeping Peter.

The word voyeur is French in origins. Obviously so. It is derived from the Latin word "videre" which means "to see". The French interpretation is literally "one who watches".

An alternative for a voyeur is a scophophiliac. This word is originally Greek and is a "lover of looking". It has more sexual and pornographic connotations though than simple voyeurism.

I quite like saying it though.

I called one of the English with whom I work a scophophiliac this afternoon - just for the hell of it and because I like saying it.  He of course had no idea what the term meant and he gave me a confused look and muttered a baffled "Ay Oop?" The English to whom I referred to as a scophophiliac was a Northerner. He is from Lancashire and it is quite possible that he is a scophophiliac. The Northerner asked me "Wa's tha' lad?'. This is Northerner means "What does that mean mate?". 

I just gave him a wry smile and walked away. If he knew what a scophophiliac was he wouldn't like it.

I watch Facebook sometimes with morbid fascination as peculiar people post intimate and quite often incredibly boring details of their lives to their many thousands of 'friends' and to the world at large. "This is what I am eating". "I am brushing my teeth now". "I have had my first bowel movement in three days". "My boyfriend is a bastard"  - and on and on it goes. And people 'like' it. Millions of them. Every minute of every day.

The Facebook world is surreal. It is not real. No-one in the real world goes up to strangers and invites them to like them. They do not say 'be my friend'. Real writers do not ask people to like what they read. They just write stuff and people make up their own minds.

It may just be me - but when I receive an invitation to like something on Facebook I will instinctively not like it. The only available option that exists at present to express this is to 'like' it then immediately retract my ‘like’. This is not really 'unliking" it. The creators of Facebook have not offered up any other options.

I was so annoyed by the inundation of requests to 'like' what are not very well-written and are obviously self-published books on Facebook that I posted the following on my 'page':

“OK these requests from random "Writers" asking me to "Like" their pages and they will in turn "Like" mine are getting ridiculous. Read what I write if you want. Or don't. I don't give a fuck either way. I will do the same with what you publish and if I like what you have written I will "Like" it. If I don't I won't. I will never ask you to 'like' what I write or "like" me - that would just be too desperate and demeaning ..... so please stop asking me!?

It has had no effect.

I have since received more than a dozen requests to 'like' what I believe to be dreadful pieces of writing. This is only my opinion though – which I am entitled to – and I am well aware that reading is very subjective and other people may ‘like’ it. My friend James who is both a real friend and a Facebook friend 'liked' what I wrote and we exchanged banter. My lad Tom weighed in at the tail end of our conversation the next morning. Here is some of it:

    James What is there not to like???? 23 hours ago via mobile
    Peter Heppo There is much my Irish friend .....23 hours ago
• James I'll ask Zuckerberg to add a dislike button for the whole duality thing. More democratic that way. 23 hours ago via mobile
  Peter Heppo Can do. The only other viable option is for me to "like" then immediately "unlike" - and I simply couldn't be bothered. I 'unfriend' them instead. 23 hours ago
  James would be defeating the purpose. Would a like follow by a dislike not just result in nothing? Also, should you be able to multiple like / dislike for added emphasis? In any event, I don't really give a fuck. 23 hours ago via mobile
   Peter Heppo either ..... However write something and I will give you a 'like'. Only if you "like" me back though. There is much madness in the world. A lot of it seems to reside here on Facebook. 23 hours ago
    Peter Heppo Fucker! "Unlike" that immediately! 23 hours ago
    James walked into that one.....23 hours ago via mobile
    Peter Heppo I have no option but to 'like' it back then. Done. Give me 10 minutes and I will 'unlike' it. I am also considering 'unfriending' you. Talk to Zuckerberg ......23 hours ago
• Peter Heppo James I have now 'unliked' everything about you21 hours ago 
    James I never liked me either21 hours ago via mobile
• Peter Heppo heart bleeds for you. I have given you a temporary and sympathetic 'like'. It will be removed in the morning. Going to bed now .....21 hours ago 
  Tom I'll just like everything regardless of my feeling towards the comments made, merely to increase the likes and subsequently increase those face bookers egos, why? Just coz. I do what I want, this is Facebook.10 hours ago via mobile 
    Peter Heppo are my son Tom I don't "like" you. I love you 9 hours ago via mobile
    Tom "like" that but love you too papa 9 hours ago via mobile

It is all a bit bizarre. 

I don't like it.

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