The trouble with Facebook is not that there are people on there who think we are all interested in what they had for lunch, or that they have broken up with their girlfriend because she turned out to be the scrum half for the London Irish rugby union team. Or for that matter even that they think they are the first to call Tony Abbott a dickhead. No not at all, and in fact my staff and I rather enjoy all the funny cat videos. The real problem is that Facebook is inhabited by some very strange people with very extreme views, views that they think everyone should share, and I must say that I have a sneaking feeling that if everyone did suddenly decide to agree with these views, these peculiar folk would then take the opposite view just to be contrary and to provoke an online argument.
A few years ago my male staff happened to mention that perhaps a more tolerant approached towards asylum seekers from the Australian government might be a good thing. He pointed out that it is not actually illegal to seek asylum and that modern Australia has been largely built by immigrants - British and Irish (Who of course disposed the original Australians, but that's another argument.), Greeks, Italians, Vietnamese, Lebanese and a dozen other ethnicities, all of whom have made their own valuable contributions to Australia's mostly peaceful multi-cultural society. Almost immediately Facebook exploded with racist rants, name calling and naughty words that I hadn't heard since I accidentally bit male staff's dangly part through his trousers while sitting on his lap. (It tasted of chicken by the way.)
Most of these types of "Status Updates" came from young, attractive women, or at least their Facebook profile photo was that of a young attractive woman. It is of course entirely possible that the person typing this vitriol was in actual fact a disgusting snaggle-toothed old hag. I guess I'll never know, and that's a risk you take with Facebook and Twitter. You're never quite sure, unless you know them personally, that the human you are corresponding with actually bears the slightest resemblance to their photo. I guess it's a bit like phone sex. You run your finger down the list of young lingerie clad sex kittens in the personal ads (or so I'm told), pick one, dial the number, give her your American Express card number and she'll tell you what she's wearing (Which if the pictures are anything to go by won't take very long.) and what she'd like you to do to her if only you were there.
Well, as a guinea pig of the world I'm guessing that it's just as well that you're not there, because if you were you'd probably find that your busty, husky voiced chicky babe is actually a seventy two year old grandmother of six with a colostomy bag and dentures which are sitting next to her in a glass of water on the coffee table beside a packet of corn plasters and her toenail clippers complete with a neat little pile of clippings which she'd forgotten to put in the bin last Monday. Oh yes, the eftpos machine would be there too, along with a stopwatch to make sure that her clients don't get a second more excitement than they've paid for. That sexy, husky voice of hers is probably the result of her sixty ciggies a day habit and she's only doing the whole phone sex thing because she spends all her pension on poker machines.
Anyway, where was I before this little fantasy broke into my train of thought? Oh yes - Facebook. So along with all these hateful replies that my male staff received from young women were an equal number of supportive "updates" also from seemingly young women, and pretty soon an online cat fight had broken out between the racist women and the non-racist women. It was getting really nasty, so being the utter coward that he is my male staff turned his computer off and let them get on with it; the online equivalent of starting a fight and then skulking off before you get hurt.
It just goes to show you that as far as social media goes you never really know who you are talking to or what you are taking on when you plunge into it. But then I guess that applies to life generally. Take the case of my male staff's mad sister for example. She agreed to look after her friend's two year old boy for an afternoon while her friend and her husband went to a matinee show at a local theatre.
"He'll be no trouble." said mad sister. "I'm taking my granddaughter to the church fete so we can all go together." So off they went to the fete and a great old time was had by all, the children petted the lambs, held the bunny rabbits, ate lots of sugary treats and drank gallons of pop. At the end of a lovely afternoon as they were leaving, the vicar's wife approached mad sister to thank her for coming and to say that the event had been a great success. She crouched down to the children's level and said to the little boy who was clutching mad sister's hand "My, you're a big boy aren't you?" The little boy shuffled his feet shyly and inspected his free grubby, sticky little hand before proudly pronouncing "Yes, and I've got bollocks" in a loud voice.
"I'm sorry darling, what did you say? asked the vicar's wife, apparently not quite believing what she'd heard.
"I said I've got bollocks!" repeated the little chap, louder this time. In fact loud enough for people twenty metres away to turn and look to see who was bragging about their genitals.
My male staff's mad sister made hurried excuses and whisked the children away from the scene as quickly as she could. Later, when the little boy's mum came to collect him mad sister told her what had happened, how embarrassed she'd been and how he couldn't have chosen a worse person to tell that he had bollocks.
The little boy's mum laughed. "Oh!" she said. "He's always doing that. He's so proud, but he's not saying bollocks, he's saying "pull-ups". I've just started him on lined pull-up pants instead of nappies so he likes to tell everyone what a big boy he is now because he's got pull-ups. It's just that he hasn't really learned to pronounce it properly yet."
Hah! Kidz eh? Uncal Billy sez that his male staff wunce told him that his mum's bestest frend came for aftanoon tee wun day wen he was littul and then wen she was like leeving she sed goodbuy and Uncal Billy's male staff sed britely "Goodbuy and good riddunts." I don't think that she was Uncal Billys male staff's mum's bestest frend ennymoor afta that.