It's only fair to share…

Facebook is an interesting beast. Over the last year or so I have grown to over 1000 friends some of whom I actually know, most of whom I have not met personally and some of whom I have actually got to know which has been great.

The other interesting thing as the number of friends grows is the invitations to events, causes, groups and pages. The range of these is incredibly diverse. In turn it got me thinking, what does publicly joining a group, cause or page say about the person. It may say a lot more than what is contained in the bio or even what appears on the wall.

Exactly how we get these invitations is not absolutely clear to me. The diversity of what I get invited to though is enormous.  Recently I have been invited to like wrestling girls as well as peace in the Middle East. Both have their supporters and although they are poles apart obviously different people felt both might be of interest to me.

Sometimes I click through to have a look at the page in question before forming a view. Other times I “judge the book by its cover” in deciding whether to join, like or ignore. In some respects it is a click of the mouse. In another, it is a public announcement about my likes, interests and even beliefs.

This came home the other week when I “liked” a draw Mohamed page and drew the ire of someone. Now I am happy for people to follow the religion of their choice and absolutely respect their right to do so. However there is no reason why other people cannot have a laugh, be it about religion or anything else.

The interesting thing about offense is that it can actually only be taken not given. Whether or not a person takes offense is a choice they make. It is not a function of what is said or done as nothing causes equal “offense” to all people. Those who choose to take offense will generally blame the other party rather than accept ownership of their own feelings.

The other interesting phenomenon is that after the mouse is clicked that may be the last I see of the group or page. Whilst I can search and find groups I have joined unless I can remember what I am looking for it will be difficult to find.

So what am I do with the invitation, which got me thinking about this whole issue? It is an invitation to like the page “I love sexy bikinis”. It was sent by a friend and promotes a retail website selling, well, bikinis. To be honest they look pretty OK. If the page was “I love pretty landscapes” or “I love stunning architecture” would that be different?

All three are about something, which is visually appealing. If I like the architecture or landscapes no one would bat an eyelid. If I like the bikinis will there be a range of comments from the nudge nudge variety to the morally outraged?

In liking such a page what am I saying publicly? The answer of course is that I like the look of women in bikinis. This puts me in the company with 90% or so of the male population and a high percentage of women too. Serious swimmers do not wear bikinis. They are, of course, worn for appearance not functionality.

So do I publicly declare my like of bikinis or not? You will have to check my Facebook status to find out.