A friend asked me recently why I hadn't acknowledged the birthday wishes she sent me.
'What birthday wishes?', I asked.
'The message I placed on your timeline', said she.
'My timeline? What timeline?', I asked.
'Your Facebook timeline' said she.
I joined Facebook shortly after its launch. It seemed an interesting idea but it only took me a few months at best to tire of the countless friend requests from complete strangers around the world with whom I appeared to have little in common and what seemed like a mountain of emails pinging in my in tray all day long.
At the time it seemed there was no way to shut down an account so I took the next best steps and stopped using the service altogether not even as a curiosity for occasional enquiries or observation. That seemed to work. Apart from the occasional (annual?) email mentioning that I hadn't accessed my account in some time which offered help in restoring my password in case I had forgotten it, I was not bothered by the ubiquitous service again.
Until this week and the unrequited birthday wishes.
Fearing it was a dangerous thing to do, I accessed my account using a newly established password (for indeed I had forgotten my earlier password), found my timeline and the aforementioned wishes and I sent the desired acknowledgement.
Facebook is a more complex looking affair now. I have been conscious during my Facebook dormant era that others use it to keep loved ones informed of their travel and other celebrations and whilst I was never sorry about being inactive I did think occasionally how useful it could be in keeping those I want informed up to date about myself.
Inevitably I have been drawn back into the demon site. The effect has been immediate. Former work colleagues and friends have spotted me there and the friend requests are flowing. Someone I worked with in Beijing more than 35 years ago and with whom I have had not a single contact since and who now lives outside Washington DC spotted me after only two days.
I have tracked down some friends too, although without necessarily asking each of them to befriend me (again). Andrew is one I located on Facebook but as his site appears untouched since 2012 I decided to leave him be.
No doubt I will tire of Facebook yet again but for now, in the approximate dialogue from, I think, 'The Godfather' and with a New York criminal twang, I say that 'I keep trying to get myself out and they keep drawing me back in'.