21 March 2009

Even my teddy bear now has a Facebook profile

I know that headline won’t make much sense to those of you who knew I didn’t even have a Facebook profile until about six months ago. I kept thinking it would be another time robber. Just another place to keep updated online. But I finally gave it a try and ended up finding out it was actually a good way of keeping in touch with people, especially friends living abroad and those I don’t get the chance to see very often. An added bonus has been that I also got in touch with people I used to know a very long time ago. However, this post is not about me, but about teddy bears.
So, where does the teddy bear fit into this picture? To those of you who may be afraid I have now, finally, lost my marbles, I can assure you I am of perfectly sound mind! It is just an experiment provoked by the fact that I found out many Facebook groups with negative, sometimes even very hateful contents were allowed, whereas Facebook admins regularly deleted 'teddy bear accounts.' I decided to check it out and discovered there is a whole subculture of teddy bear enthusiasts who have a profile for their cuddly toy. Everything I read in those profiles was just a lot of fun and perfectly harmless. But the Facebook policy is that all accounts must have a real person (above the age of 13) behind them. I wonder just who they assume are behind these teddy bear accounts, if not real people? Surely not the teddy bears, themselves?! On a more serious note, I do understand there needs to be rules, but I see no harm in teddy bear fans.

So, I decided to join the disobedience and open an account for my teddy bear, Sofus, who kindly agreed to take part in this experiment. I took a couple of snapshots of Sofus, wrote whom he wanted to get in touch with (‘Looking for contact with other bears around the world. Bear-friendly people, raccoons, koalas and pandas also welcome’) and filled in the questionnaire. You can find out about Sofus’ interests and his taste in music, films and books in the screenshot below.
Next step: how does one find friends? I assumed one probably makes new friends in cyberspace almost like in real life: find out where everyone else is and go meet them. Consequently, Sofus joined a few Facebook groups, including the Teddy Bear Network, Save the Polar Bear & People for the Ethical Treatment of Stuffed Animals. Immediately, the friend requests came pouring in, mostly from profiles of other cuddly toys. These messages were hilarious. How wonderful to discover there are so many other people out there with a sense of humour at least as ridiculous as mine. In less than one month Sofus had about 350 new friends. I can recommend clicking on the picture below to see the details. And these are just a handful of Sofus' friends.

The number has gone down and up ever since then, depending on how many profiles are deleted. It seems there is a drastic cut about once a month. Until now, Sofus has been out there for close to four months without being tracked down by Facebook admins. But I think it’ll only be a matter of time….

Sofus success did backfire, somehow, as there were a zillion invitations for various games people wanted ‘us’ to join, but which I would have no time for, or (to be honest) much interest in. But everyone received a reply apologizing for Sofus not being able to take part, but his family didn’t allow him much internet time, and being such a big bear, his huge paws made typing extremely slow and difficult!

But I was amazed at other people’s enthusiasm and time spent on their bear profiles. So I’ll support teddy bear’s rights to be on facebook, any time.
Above: Oatmeal Bear, who is quite a smart dresser and seems to have a lot of outfits!

Sofus’ Facebook profile: (check it out while you still can ....!)


Paul Nicholas said...

I love this post! I wish there were more people out there with self-irony and a ridiculous sense of humour. Keep it up!!!

I especially loved the bear with the book and the one in the snapshot with he Little Mermaid. Super! Bear Power!

Love, Paul (who is pround to be one of Sofus' many facebook friends)

Anonymous said...