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Olivia Rose Headshot

New Facebook - a Minefield for Cheaters and an Assault on the Senses

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When Google changed and suddenly began predicting what we were going to search for, sometimes before we even knew ourselves, many of us applauded it and told ourselves that this particular new development in the world of technology was useful.

The same can be said for the entire concept of Facebook. An amazing tool to stay connected - all you have to do is login and browse your newsfeed and suddenly you aren't alone anymore. Everyone you ever knew, and their wives are there, nattering away, making you feel like you're part of some new world. A world that exists entirely within your computer screen, or nowadays, smart phone.

To say we are inundated now with communication would be an understatement. Throughout the day, we are assaulted with emails, phone calls, text messages, watsapp, BBM and of course, the old faithful, Facebook. And to be honest, I am one of the addicts, someone who spends all day with the tab open (partly because it makes me feel like I'm not just at work all day and partly because if I don't, my phone bleats constantly with the many 'likes', comments and messages I receive a day).

I know that Facebook can be an incredible tool for connecting people. As a photographer, I have utilised it as a professional tool to find models, assistants, locations etc. In those circumstances, Facebook is good to me. It's like my little friend, I call him 'Facey B.'

But just like all people, Facey B isn't always nice. He has a nasty side to him and hey, although you aren't meant to "shoot the messenger" and all that, Facey B has brought me some of the worst news in my adult life. Seeing the man you love go from 'single' to 'in a relationship' hurts more than a slap on the face. Watching them 'like' someone elses photographs is like a stab to the heart.

Facey B is terrible at keeping secrets. And ever since yesterday, it all got worse. I can't even go into the new top stories feature and for the entirety of yesterday I was battling with bizarre 'top story' choices. Facebook didn't inform me how to change this, so it took a few updates, a few Facebook chat boxes and a knowledgeable friend before I could sort out my news feed. I felt like I had lost control with a relationship that I was perfectly comfortable with.

Suddenly I'm given new features against my will, they've improved something that, as far as I was concerned, didn't need fixing. And with little warning. Or perhaps I was blind to the warning, hoping that it would never really happen. Ignorance is bliss and all that.

There is now an extra bar of information on the right hand side of my screen, constantly updating itself, constantly flickering like a TV playing white noise. Oddly enticing to the eye. I spent the entirety of yesterday not doing work. I just watched that bar update, hypnotised. Most of it is drivel, which was annoying in itself.

Then suddenly I realised that I was seeing things I hadn't seen before... but even as a self proclaimed Facebook stalker (the things you can find out about other peoples lives with a little searching are incredible) I didn't feel excited. I felt dread. Suddenly we cannot post to walls without instantly alerting our Facebook community. Suddenly there are no secrets whatsoever. And suddenly I was scared about how this was actually going to affect my real life. The one that exists outside of Facey B.

Everyone needs secrets, it's how we keep our sense of mystery. It's how we can juggle flirting with Matthew and Michael on the same day whilst we're trying to make our decision about which one is better suited to us. This kind of behaviour has always been around, but before social networking, it was harder to execute... and there was certainly less chance of getting 'caught out.'

With new Facebook bombarding us constantly with information, suddenly what was once a fun way of obtaining a bit of something to chin wag over the coffee table, is a dangerous step in knowing everything about everyone. We all like a bit of gossip, but too much of anything is a bad thing.

For any serial cheaters out there, who deliberately hide their friends list so they can add attractive people a-plenty and flirt via 'poking' or 'liking' or 'wall posting' beware! Your better half will be watching you. And they will know exactly what you're up to, real time.

For me, the most disappointing thing is having my choices taken away. Once upon a time, Facebook was a tool that you could manipulate to show you more or less of what you wanted. Now, it's just gratuitous. Like the people at Facebook are conducting some mass social experiment to see just how much information will send us devoted Facebookers crazy.

They may just have done it this time. Embarrassingly, I cried twice yesterday. Both times, it was because Facey B told me something I didn't want to hear.

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