Wednesday 21 March 2012


Hafal's Facebook has updated to a new format and we are debating its merits. The pictures are bigger which is nice but the timeline feature is a bit odd - but ho hum we'll get used to it.

Even more than last year we'll be featuring every turn of our Movin' On Up summer campaign on Facebook (as well as the website of course which seems to be your overwhelmingly favourite medium still) so take a look here - and click to "like" us!

I set up my own Facebook page a year ago but clicked all the privacy buttons so that nobody can go near me - and indeed they haven't as I have no "friends" at all. This may sound very sad but in truth I haven't accepted any in spite of an avalanche of "requests to be my friend".

If you don't know about Facebook you might draw the conclusion that I must be an extremely popular chap and should be less stand-offish and accept people's proffered hand of friendship. But those of you in the know will recognise the strange phenomenon of people randomly firing off these requests to anybody just because they once had an email from you or went to the same school, etc.

On the whole I think that, used sensibly, Facebook is a very good thing and in particular a good way for people who are lonely, including many people with a mental illness and their families, to sustain and build contacts.

My own reluctance to join up properly is based on a possibly irrational fear of introducing people from different compartments of my life to each other. Perhaps I am worried that if they compared notes they would find me out?

And don't forget the reality check. I recollect one of my nephews saying gleefully about their Facebook presence "Look, Granny, I've got 500 friends!" to which my Mum wisely replied without lowering her newspaper "No you haven't". Most people, including me, only have three or four real friends and it's unrealistic and not necessary to have many more. Not having those three or four is what loneliness is really about but the wider acquaintance which Facebook offers can help and, once in a while, may even lead to the occasional real friendship.

My three or four friends aren't on Facebook or, if they are, they haven't told me about it. Now that would be sad.