‘Facebook Is For Busybodies’

One time, when I was younger, Sola, a neighbour, told me about two of our other neighbours who might be sleeping together. Sola and I were teenagers — 13 or 14 at the time.

“No way!” I said, my eyes like bulbs.

“I caught them one night,” he said. “Around 11pm.”

“Damn.”

This was scandalous. Not because two heterosexual adults might from time to time engage in a consensual act of coitus. It’s because these two adults were married to other people. The woman’s husband and man’s wife lived in that same building.

Of course I had no way to confirm what Sola had just told me. It was impossible. But from then on, every time I saw the woman or the man, everything started to “make sense”. Yes, I thought, they were definitely smashing.

Now, what do I do with this story? That’s a no-brainer. Of course, I had to spread it.

Soon, the two couples became the subject of an inside joke among the three of us on the block who happened to belong in the same social classification: libidinous secondary-school kids with a penchant for titbits.

This was about eight years or so before Zuckerberg would invent Facebook. But if we’d had Facebook, that gist would have gone viral.

On Facebook, we all share a communal backyard. We cook here. We eat here. Sometimes, we bathe here. If you thought you could have some modicum of privacy, you’re kidding. Should one person see you eating, the backyard will echo the sound of your eating to everyone outside earshot. They have to see this.

“Kunle has just seen Ahmed take a shower.”

“Mr Emmanuel has just bought a new Toyota Corolla.”

“Hey, we thought you might be interested in knowing that Mrs Douglas and Mr Douglas have changed their relationship status. It’s complicated.”

It is not enough to share info with your friends. No. The algorithm feels compelled to let your friends’ friends and their own friends’ friends know that you have revealed something about yourself. It has to go, “Hey, everybody come and see o; Sam has shaved his beard!”

This is why I don’t like Facebook.

Of course, I could change my privacy settings, thank you very much. But I don’t wanna. I want it to be a given that when I share details about my life, it’s only with the few people who are my friends and who have chosen to follow me. I prefer to be niche famous; I don’t want anyone to show up to my party when I’ve not invited them.

So you ask: does this mean then that Millennials aren’t so keen on privacy? You’re asking this because new research shows that, at least in the US and UK, millennials are the largest group of users on the social network, followed by Generation X and Boomers. Gen-Z, unsurprisingly, is a goner. But I don’t know, what I can I tell you.

By the way, Facebook is still good for businesses because of course, 5.4 billion eyeballs.

You could also ask: what are those millennials doing on Facebook? Do they actually use use it or they just stop by once in a while to check out what’s up with their fornicating neighbours? Again, what can I tell you. The data is macro.

Here’s what I can tell you: I’m not a millennial. Missed that bus by a few months. Which is why, if you want to be anal-retentive, you’d say I’m an Xennial haha.

I prefer WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok — in that order. Compared to Facebook, when you’re on those platforms, your business is your business. Mostly.

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