For some users of Facebook, there comes a point quite early on in their membership when the real palss on their friends list are swamped by dozens and dozens of zombie-friends.
Zombie friends are people who you once knew, but have not been in touch with for years, so they seem to rising from the graveyards of your old address books. Not infrequently, the comments they leave on their or your pages seem so horrifically cringeworthy that they remind you why you never stayed in touch. Longing to be rid of them, but unwilling to cause offence by removing them from your friends list, you can begin to develop a disgusted, baffled, fascination; are people really like that? Why?
I mention this because I recently friended a female zombie-friend whose postings so mystified me I had to ask my wife to try to explain them. The baffling element was Zombie’s relentless, unconvincing, my-fabulous-life sunniness. There were at least three updates day: “Been to RA Summer Exhibition – amazing!! Now looking for sexy-but-tasteful dress for dinner with Jake!” “Finishing Charlie and Lola cake for Amelia’s birthday!” “Am soooo missing Port Eliot this year, kiss to all my girls there! XOXOXO” “Listening to Satie – don’t you think he’s the most divine composer?” And so on. And on.
These messages were mixed with others saying how “mad busy” she was - which to me seemed strange because if I was mad busy, I would try saving time by not posting on Facebook. Even stranger than this, though, was that I I didn’t remember her talking or acting like this at all in real life; in real life she was nice, a bit geeky, chatty and sympathetic. Sad, really, but then this is England after all; it was probably inevitable that Facebook would be co-opted into Hyacinth Bouquet culture.