I am currently sitting outside, squinting to see my computer screen, and discussing friendship with Gui Gui. He's tired, after last night's festivities, and playing, as per usual, something on his Iphone. Sharing a boyfriend with a piece of technology is difficult, so here I sit.
The French have a reputation for being closed off and cold. I have read, and heard, that a major issue between the French and Americans originates because of how open and bubbly Americans are, supposedly the French find this insincere and off-putting. I don't agree with this, necessarily. The French I have met, as of recently, have been friendly and inviting. Even Gui Gui's female friends (after two or three times of hanging out) do the bisou and talk pleasantly with me.
But, one thing I have noticed, comes from a good friends of mine--Facebook. Gui Gui and I, obviously are friends on Facebook. And although I have spent much time with his friends, the only "friend" we have in common, is one of mine. I actually don't care that much, but I do think it's an interesting manifestation of the French friendship. For example, when I have met friends of Tati's, who are mostly Spanish, or hispanophone, they have friended me, or accepted a friend request immediately. Now, I'm not naive enough to believe that your friend status on Facebook actually matters, at all. But I do find it interesting, that one of my friends here, who has apparently stopped speaking to me, is friends with me on facebook, while one of Gui Gui's best friend, whom I've met and spent time with and would call a friend, has yet to accept me.
In turn, because I had Facebook when I was 18, before it got as huge as it is now, and during those precious first months of college, when you want to befriend the world, I have something like 800 friends. Gui Gui, everytime he see this number he tellls me "Mais putain! Porquoi t'as autant d'amis? Tu les vraiment connais?" And then I try to explain how back in the day, things were different.
It's funny though, when one of my friends friended him, he turned to me, bewildered, and asked why she had done that. As an American, I would never think that this was bizarre. You meet someone, that is friends with one of your friends, maybe you don't have their phone number, but you could get in contact through facebook. Or, if you're like me, and you do your study abroad in South America, you keep in contact with everyone that you met, because you never know what country you may end up in.
I guess that's where privacy comes in play. The French view of privacy, is something that I have a bit of a hard time understanding. In the US, there are a few issues that seem to be always in the news, and something that everyone has an opinion on. Some examples-gun control, abortion, the first ammendment. In France, an issue that comes up frequently, is privacy. I was at Gui Gui's house yesterday, watching TV with him and his brother. The feature story, was about spam phone calls and text messages. Apparently, companies get a hold of a phone number and sell them. Then, for reasons incomprehensible to me, someone out there created a business model that involves texting these numbers saying something along the lines of "Hey, it's a sexy woman, give me a call, and we can meet for a drink sometime." You call this 089 number, and basically pay out the ass. And, as it's still going on, it's apparently lucrative...Whatever.
Anyway, so as this has become quite a nuisance, the program continued to show a man who's job it was to combat this spam plague. He basically spent all day calling numbers and then cutting the line if they were for spamming.
Now, it's important to keep the following in mind a)I have done no actual research, which is the glory of having a blog and b) it's been a while since I've watched a feature new story like this in the US so therefore c) I could be wildly off base here BUT, I can't see this happening in the US. Spam exists, and I would have never even thought about trying to cut off the source, because they're just doing business right? (yeeeah capitalism) Yes, you get spammed, but, can't you just delete the text message? In France, you know that all cell phones start with a 06, or more recently 07, so if you see that the number isn't one of those, and you don't know the person, isn't it obvious? But here, the issue all stems back from the numbers being sold by companies. Their privacy has been violated, and here comes the French to intervene.
So, with this mentality floating around, no wonder Gui Gui is immediately suspicious of people out there seeing his facebook. I don't care, I don't have anything on there that I would feel necessary to hide, more than that....
I want people to read this blog, so go ahead Mark Zuckerberg, SELL ME.