Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

Facebook is very worried about me. It keeps sending me notifications.

“You haven’t updated your status in two weeks!” it screeched, with the plaintive moan of a very large behemoth working itself into a lather over a broken fingernail.

“People are INTERESTED in going to something that’s on somewhere relatively near you, if that notion of relatively near were to be very loosely applied!!” it bellowed, beseeching me for some, any, level of engagement.

“We’ve made a video for YOU, Tara!” it wheedled, finally. “Because you mean so much to us, some algorithm made a thing out of randomly selected stuff from your past you couldn’t care less about!”

I turned away, preoccupied with something resembling real life.

There was silence for a time. Tumbleweed rolled past my closed eyelids. My fingers ceased twitching in my sleep. I was known to go without checking my phone for entire afternoons.

And then it tried again, its voice ominously stealthy as a very large truck rumbling through fresh snow in a neutral gear.

“You need to update your status, Tara…” The sounds of sniffles were becoming annoying at this point. There is nothing less appealing than a corporate giant with the dubious morals of a wealthy toddler, claiming that your lack of attention is ruining their pudding.

“All right,” I snapped crossly. “I’ll do something next week. Just leave me be on my holidays for now.”

I could see its binary eyes narrowing, unwilling to concede even a few days more of blissful quietude for but one of its captive servants. But I was not to be moved. I would not update my status until I was good and ready, and possibly not even then.

Having said that, I am a product of my environment, and years of schooling and universitying and working in 5-day-week professions mean that I am now institutionalised to the extent that I find it difficult to disobey orders (unless, of course, they are orders I find offensive; irritating; tiring, or in any way inconvenient).

So without further ado, I hereby update my status, having taken a complete break from social media for two weeks, during which I visited Hong Kong.

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

Many people in Hong Kong use Facebook. I was not one of them

It is a marvellous city, teeming with life and colour and noise and smells and air so thick with humidity you can taste it. A west-meets-east feast for the senses. A hundred thousand reasons to get your face off social media and on to the humanity right in front of you.

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

It felt like cheating, to take photographs. To view this city through a lens is to waste both time and grey matter

But on to business. I’m not a fan of taking photographs when exploring, because it ruins my experience. Just my opinion, and most definitely not shared by the 2,305,967 tourists pouring off buses and into both Hong Kong and Dublin every day, camera phones clutched tightly in both hands. But some photographs are worth taking.

You know I’m a lover of the English language. Other languages too, if I’m honest; I’ve been known to be fairly loose with my affections when it comes to the written word in particular. I know I’m not alone, and so I hereby present to you: English, as loved by the Chinese.

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

Ah, Pra IS. City of tration, time dind, and ctenes. Vive l’amour!

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

Where do I start?

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

I love Kevin. He was my favourite Beaile. But it’s usually so hard to find him on a t-shirt.

I will finish this post with words of heartfelt love to something which is dear to my heart: the designer brand industry. I am accompanying this with photographicalish visual art of unique beauty, to illustrate the depth of my feeling on this subject.



Designer brands are really great

They fill our lives with meaning

When we don’t like ourselves that much

Rich goods will soothe our grieving

The expense is great; that’s true, no lie

Though small hands work long, for little

But knock-off goods are the absolute worst

Because cheapening brands is very bad for the economy but especially for the shareholders of the company selling four thousand euro handbags to people on a waiting list for their SOULS


Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

OMG Star Wart is my FAVOURITE!! Especially Verruca Skywalker

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

Voulez-vous Vouis Vuitton?

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

Rpada was a favourite of Carrie from Sex And The City, as I recall

Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

Nothing like a good Adidos of sportswear when you’re feeling fit, I say

All right, Facebook. Are you happy now? ARE YOU???? Can I get back in my writing cave now please?

  60 comments for “Facebook Told Me To Tell You Something

  1. July 11, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Wonderful. I’ve shared it on — where else? — FaceAche.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 9:44 am

      This tickles my irony clavicle nicely, John, thank you. Did Facebook give you a slap on the wrist, or was it beyond them?


      • July 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

        A bunch of thickos, the lot of them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • July 11, 2017 at 10:53 am

          I keep meaning to design a graphic for them with a new tagline which says “Facebook. Bringing Out The Worst in People I Like Since 2007”


  2. July 11, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Marvelous. You used a fine-hair brush, I would have used a sledge hammer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Hmmmm. Now I feel like I’ve missed an opportunity somehow. Perhaps I should rent that truck after all.


  3. July 11, 2017 at 9:02 am

    This is awesome. People like you still exist in this world. Faith in humanity restored.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 9:45 am

      That’s very high praise, arjukhan. I’m not sure I deserve it. I’ll take it, though, if it’s going.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. July 11, 2017 at 9:22 am

    LOVE these pics

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 9:46 am

      So do I, lyart. Although I don’t think the stall holders were too impressed!


  5. July 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

    God Facebook is so needy! I mean, I haven’t been checking your blog for that last few weeks wondering if I’m missing something. Oh no, not me.
    I love those t shirts. I don’t usually laugh out loud at work but once again you’ve made my day. I’m off to find out more about Kevin the Beaile.:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. July 11, 2017 at 11:10 am

    But… but… you didn’t actually PUT this on Facebook. Does that count, in terms of getting the cyber-monkey off your back? I’ll know if it does because FB will loftily inform me in MY notifications that “Tara Sparling has posted for the first time in a while”.

    And of course the same imperative you previously suffered, like patient zero, will spread the plague of You Must Post to thousands of otherwise happy and not busy folks, who now will be commanded in no uncertain terms to click, view, Like, etc. And perhaps to comment, triggering another plague-wave, and so on ad infinitum.

    Are you happy now Cyber-Typhoid Tara? Sure, take care of your own problems and never mind what has to happen to the rest of us!

    Oh wait, I hadn’t actually gotten around to Friending you. Never mind, scratch all that, great post and have a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      It was a cunning back-door plan, Will. My blog posts are automatically publicised on Facebook, which means that technically I DID post on it, without posting on it! How clever is that? I know. I should be working in CERN. If I was, then spreading cyber-typhus would probably be celebrated, no?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. July 11, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I am trying to comment, but my fingers keep slipping off the keyboard because of all the laughing. Ah, bless…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. July 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Don’t make me laugh when I’m eating! It’s entirely you fault (or possibly that of Chinese linguists) if I choke to death!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Can we blame the Chinese linguists, Katy? If you don’t mind? It’s just that I’m apparently on a list about the choking thing. The authorities are becoming terribly sensitive to comedy these days 😉


  9. July 11, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Why did this post go right over my head? I feel disoriented. Facebook to Hong Kong to designer fashions. I have to go lie down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      It’s all part of my strategy for world domination, I’m afraid, Diana. Conquest by confusion. Good to know it’s going well so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. July 11, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    Oh. My. GODS!!! So glad you’re still with us Tara, even if you did succumb in the end.
    Alas… FaceBorg and tWITTERER may have overlooked the irony of your response, but we liked it anyway! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      I think it’s impossible to ignore them entirely, Jan. The best I can do is satirical obedience. Thanks for the re-blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 11, 2017 at 5:54 pm

        A case of ‘can’t live with or without ’em’ I think – social glossing is the way to go. Take part with a minimum effort! 😎

        Liked by 1 person

  11. annerallen
    July 11, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I’ve always felt the same way about looking at the world through a lens. I’ve never taken photos while traveling. But I’m so glad you took these! It’s so sad about Kevin. 😦 . I hope you bought yourself a Rpada bag! Thanks for giving me a real out-loud laugh on this smoky California morning. (We’re on fire here. Not so fun.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      We were entirely blanketed in soaking rain this morning, Anne. There has to be some sort of import-export deal we can do here.

      Don’t be sad about Kevin. He’s happy. He’s got A, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. July 11, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Priceless. I saw a report last week that the government in China is becoming very concerned about the Chinglish signs that are greeting tourists and see an urgent need for improvement. Seems like they have a mountain to climb

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      The signage in Hong Kong is perfect, due to its history obviously, but the merchandise is far too entertaining to contemplate any change. I for one would be devastated if I never found this sort of stuff again. It’s a gift to the world!


  13. July 11, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Ack! Fell out of bed laughing. I’ve been grumbling a lot lately over devices telling me what to do and reminders of my lack of diligence. You hit the funny bone right on the…er…funny bone.

    The comments are almost as funny as the post. What a collection of readers you have.

    And Hong Kong is a hoot. I’ve been there and it is an amazing city. My husband couldn’t stay out of the tailor shops. I felt like I’d made a trip into the future there. Welcome back, Tara. Enjoy the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 11, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      It’s a motley crew of readers I have indeed, Sheron… going around being funnier than I am… I mean, who do they think they are???

      But Hong Kong is very special. I don’t think anyone could go there without feeling it.


  14. July 11, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Reblogged this on mallie1025 and commented:
    This is hysterical!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. July 11, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    You made me laugh on a really unlaughable day. Here I thought I was the only non-fitable on facebook. We are all herded like sheep with every word we’ve ever typed hidden in facebook hell for eternity. I really want to destroy them when they go into my facebook fan page and pick out a particularly ugly picture of me and post it without my permission!! Then they take my book promo and post it ever so nicely, adding that only I can see this gem unless I pay them to ‘boost’ it. You know where I’d like to boost them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 12, 2017 at 11:01 am

      It all feels quite disingenuous, Micki, I agree. They pretend what they’re doing is all for you, when it’s really about what you can do for them. I frequently get very cheesed off with it… hence posts like these!


  16. July 11, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Star Wart and Rpada! Two of my very favourite brands 🙂 And Kevin, of course – he’s a favourite too.

    Sounds as though you had (are having?) a fab trip – somewhere I’d love to visit one day. Hope you get to enjoy the serenity for a little while longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Thanks, Helen! Serenity got smashed by my return to the blogosphere, sadly. Now, I’m not saying I’ll be jumping to attention and posting next week or anything. I have to maintain SOME aura of mystery. Me and Kevin….

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)
    July 11, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    I’m pretty sure the Chinese laugh at us about our peculiarities too, would like to know what though. I did a February Facebook fast this past year, I had a month of so much free time. When I returned in March I had 96 notifications so I didn’t know whether I should feel wanted or guilty (same thing in the Wild West anyway). I did wonder where you were now that you’ve been quiet on the blogsphere for the past few weeks, did you find anything of literary interest (apart from signage 😀 )?

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 12, 2017 at 11:08 am

      How many of those 96 notifications were things you neither wanted nor needed notifying of, I wonder? My guess is 95! I’m sick of Facebook notifying me about stuff I can’t turn off and don’t want to know. Living in Dublin, I get about 2 a day telling me that someone I know is interested in going to something nearby. It would have something going for it if I lived on the outer steppes of Mongolia, but a place like Dublin? Exceptionally irritating.

      I didn’t do too much reading on this particular trip, sadly. Far too much to see and do. I might need a holiday on a sun lounger to catch up on my reading…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS)
        July 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm

        There are so many studies which point to the negative effects of using FB, (recent one says using it makes people feel lonelier) that I’m not surprised they are ramping up their efforts in grabbing our attention. I would love to dump it but when one is using it as a platform for engagement with a blog it’s not so easy to disengage from it. Aren’t they clever little truculent toddlers?
        If it’s sun you’re after, you had better get out today while it lasts! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • July 13, 2017 at 12:59 am

          You’re right – it was a glorious day! Or afternoon, at any rate. More than enough to take me away from all the digital stuff. You know, I reckon we’re only at the beginning of serious addiction studies regarding social media. Facebook’s relentless prodding feels like the equivalent of Big Tobacco promoting the sake of single cigarettes.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. July 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Who picks July to visit Hong Kong? Oh wait, I’ve done that, but in my defense, it was for work and I really didn’t have a choice in the matter. My hair still has yet to return to normal after exposure to that humidity. That is a great shot from the peak though and I absolutely love your great shopping finds, particularly the star wart ship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 13, 2017 at 12:32 am

      My return to Dublin Airport was greeted with a bark of laughter, Allie. “Nice hair!” were not the first words I thought I’d hear from my beloved husband. It seems “welcome home Tara” was beyond the powers of observation 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  19. xantilor
    July 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    It’s not fair! Facebook doesn’t love me the way it loves you. All I get from them is the odd notification that someone I don’t know is having a birthday today and maybe I might want to do something about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 13, 2017 at 12:35 am

      I don’t know much about love, xantilor, but if that’s how Facebook expresses it, I don’t want it! They need to get their noses out of people’s business. It’s a beautiful irony that the social media behemoths consistently prove how little they know about sociality.


  20. July 12, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Hahaha 😉 Facebook cannot get enough of you and I cannot get enough of Kevin 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 13, 2017 at 12:38 am

      We need a subscriber-only Kevin fan club immediately, Christy. Isn’t it just wonderful how the internet identifies all these gaps in the market? I’m going to be RICH!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. July 13, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Facebook constantly asks me what’s on my mind which I find somewhat off-putting because if I’m checking Facebook it means my mind is blank.
    As for tourists taking photographs — nine years ago I was in Malta, visiting a church where a German bomb had come through the roof but not detonated — much to the relief of the 200 worshippers in the church at the time. There’s a replica bomb with an inscription which I was attempting read when a group of tourists told me to move so they could take pictures. Like they couldn’t even wait. So I walked through their pictures, several times, waving my arms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 13, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Bravo, Kathy! I confess I find it alternately amusing and maddening when tourists visit sites of beauty or interest, only to see nothing but their own reflection. Love what you did there 😉


  22. July 13, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Methinks a savvy new generation is, or will, purposely manufacture novelty items with spinoff spelling. What superstar wouldn’t want to trundle around Hollywood flashing a handbag with RPADA emblazoned on a brass plaque. It’s the latest must have. Star Wart is priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 13, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      I did buy one t-shirt, Veronica, with beautifully misjudged gibberish emblazoned all across the front. I intend to wear it in the most meta way possible!


  23. July 15, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I want an Rpada Bag!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. July 16, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Now that I have to use social media for work, I’m even less inclined to use it personally, except it feels weird to not use it for myself, and thus, I am here, trying to rekindle my love of social blogging (instead of just writing stuff in a paper diary of relying on my brain to actually do its job 😛 ) and tweeterpostinggramming. I’m glad you had fun in Hong King, and thank you for giving me an excuse to not feel guilty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 16, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      How crazy is it that we now have a situation where both of us are feeling guilty over something to do with social media, Ariel?! I have a sudden need to take to the streets in protest!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Ali Isaac
    August 10, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Ooooooh Hong Kong! Nice! Gotta love those ‘branded’ goods… I brought a cap in Peru that had Adidas with the Nike tick. Such a bargain! I completely get the thing about not taking photos so you can properly absorb the experience. I am exactly the same. I need to be on my own and on a specially designated ‘photo trip’ to be able to take snaps… even on holiday. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

      That cap sounds almost subtle, Ali. It’s a marvellous example of the style. I like the idea of the photo trip, too. That’s a different mission – and makes it perfectly permissible – although I ‘d give you permission any day. I love your photos of ancient Irish landscapes. They’re a real treat.


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