Facebook or Fakebook?
Does the Facebook social networking revolution have a good side after all? Can entertainers use Facebook in order to simply get things off their chest regarding their fears, tears and tantrums? Mark Ritchie looks at the keyboard warriors and the performers who appear to seek a form of catharsis as they surf the net.
I have to begin by admitting that I’m an unashamed user of Facebook. Coming in from gigs, as a working act myself, I often settle down to a nice cup of earl grey tea and boot up my lap-top to see how everyone’s night went.
My Facebook hero is a member of Yorkshire based 80’s tribute act, Echo Beach. I don’t agree with a lot of what Ivor Hillman writes. I manage to get on well with many of the people that Ivor clearly doesn’t. Conversely I don’t have a lot of time for one or two people that Ivor is friends with. All of which is irrelevant. The point is this. Ivor Hillman has found the perfect platform for his activities as the one of the biggest wind-up merchants I have ever come across. He revels in creating controversy. His posts often act as catalysts for everything from great debates to undignified slanging matches. As for his own act, which was known until recently as Cats Eyes, he and his long-suffering stage partner Kirsty have, like most of us, experienced just about everything, from brickbats to bouquets. So, what does Ivor get out of his social networking life? A cathartic response to a life spent trying to entertain audiences who, in many cases have only come in for a game of bingo and a natter? Perhaps?
From ‘selfies’ taken in dressing room mirrors to a new profile picture placed practically every other day, perhaps Facebook is the 21st century answer to the wealthy narcissists of the 17th century aristocracy. Many such people commissioned portraits of themselves at regular periods.
Hundreds of young entertainers seem to use Facebook to either build their own and their friends ego’s with fatuous comments, perhaps in the belief that such material increases their profile.
The good side is surely the sounding board Facebook creates can be useful and that informative to those who follow into the same venues can glean some information in advance.
As a footnote to all of this, the most amusing story I ever heard about Facebook was when a certain northern Clubland lady singer came off stage, apparently in a bit of a strop, into her dressing room in a certain Yorkshire club, just after she has finished her first set. Obviously feeling the pain of dying the proverbial death, her knee-jerk reaction was to go on Facebook, on her mobile phone, to launch of tirade of abuse against the audience, the staff and anyone else in the immediate vicinity. The problem was that our keyboard warrior actually named the club in whose dressing room she was ensconced. Clearly forgetting that a member of the audience was one of her ‘Facebook friends’, things certainly didn’t get any better when the post was then shown all around the concert room. We can only imagine how the rest of the evening went!