Uncle A Allays Facebook Fears

Uncle A encourages diligent student Pablo to enter the virtual minefield that is Facebook.

Agony Uncle Alex Bower Cambridge Facebook frape procrastination uncle a

Dear A,

I’ve managed to go this long without getting on Facebook, but my dad has just emailed me requesting my ‘friendship’, and I’m worried that I’m being left behind. Should I sign up? I don’t really know what it involves, but it seems to me that it’s mostly about procrastination. I have heard that people ‘stalk’ and even ‘rape’ you when you are on Facebook – this is scary! What’s the etiquette with adding people? Is my time really best spent writing about the banalities of my everyday existence, or should I stick to working diligently and getting good marks?

Antiquated regards,


Dear Pablo,

You sound a little panicked by it all, but don’t worry. Facebook is The Daily Mail’s least favourite thing, which makes it one of my absolute favourites. Don’t be put off by procrastination. People who claim to know how to live your life, like life coaches, will always try to say clever things, like: “procrastination is the enemy of success” to you. However, life coaches do not understand what it’s like to be at Cambridge. If anything, looking through the photos from last year’s May Ball that Jenny from your Critical Thought seminar uploaded eight months ago will provide a much-needed burst of creativity for your essay on tractor reform law. And it’s not weird that you’ve never spoken to her, either – if she didn’t want you to be looking through her personal photographs, she’d have taken the time to navigate and customise Facebook’s complicated privacy options.

‘Stalking’ is such a dirty word. Unfortunately, it’s often used as a synonym for ‘procrastination’, which, as I’ve explained, is a profoundly good thing. Keep in mind the following proverbial equation: “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” + “know your enemy” = “look through every photo album you can get your mouse on, whether of enemies or friends.” An army doesn’t go into battle unprepared, and you shouldn’t go anywhere without knowing who you’re up against, which subject they do, and what they wore to Willy Wonka Baby last week.

Do be careful: if Facebook is sometimes useful, it can also be irritating. Many couples use Facebook as a way of showing the world just how truly hideous they can be. They will dominate your news feed, positively encouraging you to de-friend them with cringe-worthy in-jokes and declarations of their undying love for each other. The worst culprits for this are people in long-distance relationships, who are trying to mask their perennial horniness by making repetitive and obtuse references to the time one of them farted in bed or, even worse, a day-by-day status-countdown to their next meeting, nauseatingly surrounded by love hearts, kisses and the aforementioned in-jokes.

We now come to ‘likes’. The fact is that ‘likes’ are the black holes of banter. We would all love it if people would ‘like’ swap-ammo pages like “The awkward feeling when you realise that your mum has walked in during an intensely passionate wank to leave you a bit of toast and some milk but you didn’t see her because your eyes were closed” on finemeatthemahal.com. In reality, however, it’s something gash and poorly spelt like “Bottleing up you’re feelings and then one day, you just EXPLODE on ?”.

Lads can often be seen ‘liking’ things such as: cock, bumming and small children. Many claim that this happens as part of a Facebook ‘rape’ (or ‘frape’) but everyone knows that they’ve done it themselves to gain attention, or lay the groundwork for their coming out later in the year by getting everyone subliminally used to the idea that they are homosexual. ‘Frape’ is an excellent reason not to add your family on Facebook, unless you want your mum to see that your ‘religious beliefs’ are ‘scatology’ and your only ‘interest’ is ‘giving deeps’.

Now for adding. This is a valuable skill in the modern world, and for many there is no right time to add. These people will never ever add you, but will find it offensive when you don’t add them. This is especially true of girls. As a rule of thumb, most girls will be annoyed if you don’t go for the add and you have spent the last evening with your tongue firmly lodged down her throat.

As you are new to Facebook, now is a great time to bypass the awkwardness of adding people, because people who are new to Facebook are allowed to add everyone.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


Illustration by Amy Munro-Faure