Facebook is one of those things (sorry Prof Howard) that I love to hate. I pick it apart and douse it with flames, but at the same time, I can’t pry myself from it. It’s not a compulsive addiction, nor is it a morbid curiosity like a bad traffic accident. It’s a combination of longing, semi-stalking (in a friendly sort of way), a quest for humor and information, and boredom. Some people turn on the radio or TV in the morning; I log into Facebook. Some send call or write letters; I message people on Facebook. Some people forward funny stuff via email; I share funny pictures on Facebook. Some send Christmas or Birthday cards; I post greetings and warm wishes on Facebook.
But at the same time, Facebook can annoy me to no end. And although I’m annoyed by the usual suspects (game/app requests, friend requests by strangers, constant nagging to spam your friends, etc), there are a couple of other things (sorry again, Professor) that bring mild feelings of annoyance.
Babystalking (I.e. The Child-Related Posts):
Holy fluorescent blue Christ, this is by far the worst part about Facebook. You’re pregnant. You delivered. Your child is now growing up (too fast) and s/he is smart and good-looking and just about everything else. You’re happy (or so you say). Thus, I’m happy for you. Personally, if it were me, my life would be over. But you’re beaming, floating, and proud, so I’m genuinely happy that you are happy.
That’s where it ends. I don’t need to know every time your kid takes a shit. I don’t need to see 57 baby pictures a day. It’s not so bad if it’s from one good friend, but it seems like everywhere I turn, people are popping out kids and it appears that most of them feel like they need to give us an up-to-the-minute play-by-play from conception to college graduation. When no less than a dozen of your friends are doing this, your newsfeed quickly gets flooded with nearly-live coverage of the little miracle. Major milestones are fine; feeling like I live in your house is a little creepy. If I wanted to see kids every single waking moment, I would’ve had my own. In fact, it’s rare that I find a child of any age cute.
Contrarians (I.e. people who only post or comment when they’re disagreeing with me):
If the only time I’m reminded of your presence on my Friend list is when you’re posting in opposition to an opinion that I posted on my wall, and you are otherwise silent the rest of the time, there’s something wrong. Believe it or not, that has happened to me more often than one would think. You would think, “what? They’re friends. They obviously reached out to each other to make and accept that connection. Why the contempt?” Hell if I know. But it has happened, several times.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to disagree with me. In fact, as a firm believer in the idea that “iron sharpens iron”, I welcome intelligent, respectful discussion involving differing viewpoints. My only criterion is that the discussion remains just that: intelligent and respectful. Copping an attitude is not allowed, and neither are personal attacks or general bickering. Bonus points are scored if you cite factual sources to back up your opinions.
However, if the only time I ever hear from you is when you’re disagreeing with me, I might begin to wonder 1) where you are the rest of the time, and 2) if we have anything in common at all, and 3) why you put up with my presence if you disagree with me so much. If that’s the case, I must drive you nuts, and thus, you look like a glutton for punishment.
The Bully (or disrespecting another friend of mine on my wall):
Believe it or not, this has also happened. Luckily, this kind of thing is quite rare. I can’t recall what the discussion was about, but several people who otherwise did not know each other were debating an issue back and forth and it was all fun and games until one of those people personally attacked the other. It was a completely uncalled-for ad hominem attack involving something completely out of line like the victim’s weight or digestive function or something like that.
Let me just say that if looks could’ve shot daggers I would’ve needed a new computer screen several times over. I wasted no time. I deleted the perpetrator from my friend’s list so fast I hope his/her head spun and with it, his/her horrific comments. Normally I’m not one to promote censorship or worry about “offending” someone, but this was truly hurtful and I was embarrassed to have such vile filth on my profile. I felt slimy just for having associated myself with that person at one time. But I couldn’t change that. What I could change was my Friend list from that point on, and I did. Don’t be that guy.
Sheep in the Herd (i.e. “Liking” large companies):
This is a much more mild annoyance than the previous offenses. However, this is a more common and grating one, over which I have far less control. Here’s the problem: when you “like” a large company or one of their products, it appears at the top of my newsfeed and it may remain prominently displayed for a while, ensuring that my eyes see it several times. Why? Because these companies invest some of their advertising budgets in “Sponsored Stories”, in which if one of my Facebook contacts “likes” them or gives them any action whatsoever, the company makes sure I know about it. Those “stories” are the least relevant and I purposefully skip right over them. Let’s not give these fatcats any more love. I mean, do you really have to “like” Walmart or Tide? Publicly? Really??
Chain Posts (i.e. Stupid guilt-ridden posts that try too hard to go viral):
You know the type. These are the ones that have a wonderful and profound message, and at the end of said message, the author really should’ve stopped there. But no. S/he had to continue babbling, tacking on something at the end such as, “I know 97% of you won’t re-post this” or “let’s see who posts this” or “please put this on your status for 1 hour”, etc. Do people really succumb to this? (Don’t answer that.)
Newsflash to the original author (not necessarily the friend regurgitating on his/her page): your message is significant by itself without tacking on some cheesy call to action at the end, okay? And if your point IS that cool, then your quote/picture/etc will spread as people take it upon themselves to share it with each other. Who knows – it may even go viral! But truth be told, I cannot begin to count how many of these otherwise-wonderful posts with which I agree 100% because the author ruined it at the end with a cheesy “I know most of you don’t care” sentiment. I don’t want to be associated with that kind of passive-aggression, so I don’t re-post those quotes, no matter how cool they might be or how much I agree with them.
Now, please understand that I’m not some miserable hater who has no life outside of social media. In fact, despite my voluminous Facebook posting, that couldn’t be further from the truth; my in-the-flesh social life is vibrant, and getting stronger.
And hell, I might even do things myself that annoy my Facebook peeps. I didn’t say any of us was perfect. But I felt like listing off the glaring examples of various Facebook headaches.