Facebook is that social media platform that it’s cool to love to hate. Personally, I don’t hate it, per se–it has its (constructive) uses–but this is probably only because I’ve figured out how to make it work for me (before I reached my frustration threshold), which, for many, might be a case of trial-and-error, with more emphasis on the latter than the former, at least for a while. It’s through this process that I’ve answered those pesky questions like “what usefulness does Facebook serve for me?”, “where does Facebook fit into my life?”, “what do I want to use it for?”, and “how high does it rank amongst my other spare time activities?”.
It’s OK not to have answered those questions yet; hell, it took me several years before I finally figured out how high a priority it deserved and managed to position it right where I wanted it to be.
There came a time when I realized that something was out of balance, and it would be a while longer before I realized where it should be, how much and what kind of Life Space it should occupy. And I realized that I was way off.
Facebook would actually be cooler, more constructive, and less stressful an experience if not for certain types of behavior. It’s not even really the people themselves–after all, they’re human, and most of them are people we’ve chosen to keep around in our regular offline lives (grin)–it’s more of a behavioral issue. There seems to be something about Facebook that plunges some people’s mental age backward by several decades, bringing one to question whether we’ve flashbacked to junior high again.
With Facebook’s “evolution” to a more graphical format, the chain posts and chain emails inevitably gave way to chain pictures. Regular, unimaginative, and un-artistic text that says “(message blah, blah, blah) Now share this with 12 people or you’ll have five years of bad luck” has now been screen-captured and digitized as a GIF or JPG for convenient Value-Sharing.
Bonus points if the chain posts mentions money or God. Double points if it mentions both in the same picture.
Ahhh yes, the chain post’s cousin. You know the one. It looks a lot like the chain post in that it is mostly text-based, with no real excuse for turning it into a graphic except in the interest of easy sharing (how endearing). The reader will recognize its trademark: “(genuinely awesome message that would stand on its own, except that the neurotic person who created it felt compelled to spoil it with) “… I bet 97% of you won’t share this.”
Wait–did I miss something? Do we have a closet psychic on our hands? Or a statistics genius? Or do we actually have a neurotic, attention-seeking dumbass who’s dying to have one of their pics go viral so that they can finally feel good about themselves?
They couldn’t stop with the otherwise-excellent message; they just had to keep going, laying it on thick. I know that I probably wouldn’t feel so fulfilled if the reason for half the shares of something I created were due to the heavy Guilt Reflex inside some people–the little voice that sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear that you’re a piece of shit if you scroll past a pic like that without sharing. Heh.
The TMI People (which includes TMI By Proxy, too):
Yep, talking about those who overshare. I overshare, and frequently, but I do it on here, and I try to be at least relatively conservative at that (that is, as conservative as one can be when oversharing in the first place lol).
I assert that there’s a difference between oversharing on a blog and oversharing on social media, though. (How convenient for me if I’m right?). Although WordPress is starting to look and act more like Facebook, with its Reader feed and Notifications button, I still say that it’s not the same as Facebook. With Facebook, the newsfeed feature is much more central to the spirit of social media; it’s the basis around which the other features are positioned in the periphery. On WordPress, on the other hand, the Reader isn’t as obviously integral a feature.
Why is this difference important? Some might say it’s just semantics, but I see it somewhat differently, at least for now. Since the Facebook newsfeed is a more central concept, more people will scroll through it and see pictures and posts in all their glory. Posts are generally more basic and brief than the average WordPress blog post, so if someone is going to post a TMI tidbit, the rest of their connections will see it before they’ve had a chance to decide whether or not they actually would have wanted to see it. In the WordPress world, TMI might be buried further down in the post and if the writer is super-courteous, they’ll even give a TMI Warning (before the fact) or TMI Apology (after the fact). Facebook users generally don’t have that much forethought.
If you have a particularly funny or mortifying Body Function Moment, chances are I’ll giggle or blush right along with you. But I don’t need to know all the gory specifics of your child’s diaper contents.
Groupies and Taggies:
These are the people who want to involve you in everything. It’s touching, but also a-bit-muching. I personally don’t care about reselling stuff or makeup (seriously, I was somehow added to a Facebook group about lipstick?). Maybe this is Facebook’s fault(?); maybe that innocuous-looking “invite” button actually actively adds people to the group? If that’s the case, then there’s a little misleading bait-and-switch going on here. After all, an “invite” button suggests that all it’s going to do is send your friend a notification that says, “hey–your friend [Jamie] invited you to this group; care to join?”, and that would be the extent of it. But if by clicking on the “invite” button, Facebook responds with, “dude, congratulations! Jamie is now a member of the group!”, then that would be going too far.
And I’m not sure how I feel about being tagged in pictures. The good news is, I don’t do stupid things, and even if I did, I wouldn’t be enough of an idiot to take pictures of myself doing it (or let others take pictures of me doing it), nor would I be dumb enough to let them show up on Facebook.
So at least I don’t have to worry about that.
But the rest of it? Hell, who knows. I don’t mind sometimes, although I know I probably should, because there are probably ramifications I haven’t even considered.
It’s one thing to post a particularly cool or unusual selfie once in a while. Strangely enough, I have no problem with that.
But I don’t think I need to say much about those who are constantly posting selfies. Ugh, I don’t even like the word “selfie”. That should tell you something about what I think of the people who always post them. 😉
Tales From the Cryptic:
Truthfully I can understand the motive behind a cryptic post. And I get that it’s not always passive-aggressive or attention-seeking. This fantastic post by another (also fantastic) blogger illustrates a(n also fantastic) defense of what they call “vagueblogging”, which in my eyes is totally legit, when done correctly and for the right reasons, as I’m sure that blogger does.
What I get the urge to gripe about is different than what that blog post describes. My beef probably lies in what is likely to be mere semantics, the more subtle underlying context. You know the type: the ones who are always looking for attention. The ones who never have a good day. The ones who are always seeking validation or reassurance or their very self-esteem from someone else. The ones who rely on others for their wellbeing, which they never actually achieve, because a certain component of the wellbeing has to come from within.
The problem is, when I see a status update like that, what am I supposed to say? Do I take the bait and ask what’s wrong, what’s up? What if the answer ends up being something I can’t do anything about? I don’t mind wishing someone well, wishing them luck (although either one sounds a bit like a farewell even though I’m not going anywhere), nor do I mind reaching out and acknowledging someone’s existence or hard times, but if the same person is always writing statuses like that, I can only think of so many ways to say “hope you feel better soon!”, before I start to sound like a broken record and start feeling self-conscious about my powerlessness to make them feel better.