'Like' it or not: Facebook foolishness


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The Independent Online

If the Women Who Eat on Tubes controversy has taught us anything, it is just how many odd groups can now be found on Facebook. And while that particular rumpus has been discussed elsewhere in this paper, it falls upon this column to point out that the story has its origins in a Mumsnet discussion on the site's "Am I Being Unreasonable?" section, kicked off last month by a user named Kate Milner. Milner got in touch to tell me "I'm happy to talk about it, but I really didn't do very much [to get the page removed]." So what other Facebook groups are still doing the rounds that you may wish to avoid/join/petition to be shut down?

1. Accomplishing something before the microwave reaches :00 (1.3 million "likes")

2. I flip my pillow over to get the cold side (1.1 million "likes")

3. I secretly want to punch slow-walking people in the back of the head (21,000 "likes)

4. Panicking when your finger gets stuck in something stupid (755,000 "likes")

5. Going to a McDonald's for a salad is like going to a brothel for a hug (2,500 "likes").

A right pickle

It's hard to keep up these days. Often, before a trend has made it halfway to the tipping point, the Twitter backlash has begun and the phenomenon is declared dead in the water. A case in point: the pickleback – the practice of chasing a shot of whisky down with the brine from a jar of pickled cucumbers. It started in Brooklyn, moved on to east London and now, with a smattering of pubs (as opposed to "bars") wanting in on the action, the sort of people who call bartenders "mixologists" have declared the pickleback's days numbered. But what you want to know is whether a pickleback tastes OK and the answer is "shockingly good", according to one New York Times writer. So for anyone who wants to give it a go (remember: we laughed at the idea of strawberries and balsamic vinegar once), might I direct you to the London Whisky Weekender, at which Jameson will take over a former pickle factory in London's "cockney heartland" and offer the chance to taste the trend in the perfect setting (see whiskylounge.com for details).

Twitter feed of the week

It's been up and running for a few months, but the Twitter feed @GOPTeens is really hitting its stride. GOP, as you probably know, stands for "Grand Old Party" and the parody Twitter account imagines life through the eyes of a Republican-minded teenager – recent sample tweets include: "Double the #meat you eat today to make up for your #vegetarian classmates" and "Do you agree it's not #racism if you're just #joking?". The account is the work of Daniel Kibblesmith, co-author of the book How to Win at Everything, who says that one unexpected side-effect of running @GOPTeens has been that some Republican politicians have taken it to be real. "I don't actively troll elected officials," he says, "but when one of them follows me my standard operating procedure is to ask them for a #selfie, because the hope is they'll be so excited to engage with young people who use slang they'll do something funny against their better judgement." British politicians take note.

Sweet little lies

While newspapers from The Times to the Daily Mail last week reported that "Spangles are the UK's most missed sweets", neither paper saw fit to mention the fact that the poll behind this revelation questioned just 620 people and only 18 per cent of those voted for those boiled sweets you could suck until your tongue poked through the middle. In any case, if Spangles were as missed as we are led to believe, the attempt to relaunch them in 1995 would have been more of a success, no?

You're spoiling us, Ambassador

The United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun, is making many friends with the monthly soirees he has been holding at his Regent's Park residence, Winfield House. The last one was a couple of weeks ago now, and the big social-media story to make it out of the private gathering was that David Cameron was a fan of the band London Grammar. Less reported, was the rather lovely idea that Barzun had put a set of record decks out for guests to play LPs on. There were two boxes of vinyl, one decorated with the Union Jack (the Clash, the Stones, the Pistols and so on), the other with the Stars and Stripes (Johnny Cash, Prince, Screaming Jay Hawkins, etc). My man on the spot says he was lurking around when the jovial voice of the ambassador boomed: "I officially empower you to change the record!" Well, it's more fun than passing round the Ferrero Rocher.

No rhyme or reason

Another in an increasingly regular series of limericks based on recent events:

They said off to New Zealand you go

With your wife and new baby in tow

But first it was Pippa

And now it's the nipper

Who's guilty of stealing the show