Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More Facebook Tips From Under a Rock

Ok, yes, I've said this before, but there's always more to say, about social media. 

The other day I was laughing at what I call my "ever-shrinking list" of friends on Facebook.  Most people on Facebook have like 462 FRIENDS.  Which just says:  "DON'T YOU WISH YOU WERE AS POPULAR AS ME?  I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE".  Is it a popularity contest?   The one with the Most Likes wins?  I lose, then, I guess.  Or I'm doing it wrong...
Hit LIKE if you have a pulse.  You.  Right now.
I do like some of the positive stuff I've seen posted--don't get me wrong.  I've found recipes, news stories, and some truly funny stuff on Facebook.  I have gotten to see the children of my friends from high school, and it's very sweet to know that we're all still alive and well.  

I must be living under a rock, though, because I can't honestly imagine more than about 10 people who I truly want to know what they're up to every.single.day.  Seriously.  Every day? By the hour?  Lord, no.  I don't even need that kind of constant updating from my immediate family.  It makes me yearn for the time when whole hours (or even days, weeks, or months) could pass before you'd hear from some of your friends.  And you still loved each other.  Remember how GREAT it was to catch up with them, in person?  No so, these days.  It's like Detail Overload, only with no human contact.  It's a little freaky.

Hey, we're almost touching!  Want to see a picture of my pets?
Why should any of us think that our friends from high school (or--let's be honest--some of them are really just acquaintances from high school) would want to know what we're eating or drinking, what our kids did over the weekend, or where we're going on vacation?  These are people I sat in a classroom with, (or not?--I can't even remember anymore), something like 28 YEARS AGO.  Not to sound cold-hearted, but I really don't actually care what kind of coffee you had this morning. 
Isn't Facebook proof that we are all so self-centered?  What could be more attention-seeking than to post publicly to 462 people, who you probably don't know that well, that you're "feeling disappointed today"?  Facebook should impose an auto-complete for those vague posts, like this…"THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ASK THE POSTER WHAT'S WRONG SO THEY CAN BE VAGUE AND MYSTERIOUS."  Do we need this kind of constant affirmation that people, even down to our most minor acquaintances, are interested in our life?  Because trust me, they're not.  They're interested in theirs. 

Unfortunately, these are the reasons I find myself turning off feeds of people who I truly do care about (in the real world), simply because my "TMI input" is maxed out.  I just don't need that kind of info every day (no offense, I love them, but--still).  Also, what is with the "What's for dinner" posts? …WHO CARES? We're all busy.  Eating DINNER.  Stop it!  Finish your vegetables!

Or how about the posts where someone you're with will post pictures on FB, and you'll see yourself online instantly, and it's like, "Oh, look…there we are, eating lunch…and I'm STILL CHEWING THAT  SAME BITE OF STEAK." 
Also, for those who haven't mastered the concept of "Bragging is UNattractive" (especially in this economy). It's very nice that some of us can still afford to travel.  Traveling is lovely, and I adore going places. HowEVER, please pay attention:  If you're lucky enough to be planning a weekend getaway, a major vacation, or a hugely romantic evening out--here's a tip:  Unless you are inviting us to join you, please refrain from posting a count-down like this:  "TWENTY DAYS TIL TAKE-OFF! TAHITI HERE WE COME!!! J  SO excited!"  Because most, if not all, of the people who see that on their screen when we sit at our desks in the morning to deal with bills and emails, will just think "Well, whoopdeefrickinDOO for you.  Shut UP," and continue staring into space with our chin on our hand, trying to figure out how to stop foolishly squandering our money on electricity and food.   Or we might be tempted to turn off your feed…
Not to say I haven't taken some seriously cool trips myself, both with and without our family.  Somehow, though, I've always had the tact to realize that--seriously---no one wanted to hear about it. 

Not before we went ("Guess where weeee're going?"). 

Not while we were there ("Hello from The Bahamas!! Don't you wish you were US right now?"). 

Not after we got back ("Oh my gosh, I'm SO TAN now!  It's so COLD here"). 

If someone asks me about a trip, I think the polite thing to say is, "Yes, it was really nice," and leave it at that, unless they ask for more details.  Then of course I'm happy to tell them whatever they want to know.  Emphasis on "want".
So, every once in awhile, I will cruelly sit at my FB screen and scroll through my 'friends' list, and instead of looking for people to ADD to that list, I'm usually rubbing my chin and considering each name, and thinking…"Well, really.  We worked together for less than a year, more than a decade ago.  You have never so much as even *liked* anything I've posted on here, let alone COMMENTED, so… obviously, we don't need to be in touch.  And if memory serves, we weren't actually friends then anyway."  And so, mercilessly, *click*, I remove our connection.  I mentally apologize to them, and sure, it feels a little heartless, but the truth is, it's not personal.   I'm not mad at them, and I don't dislike them, but chances are, they won't even notice that we're no longer connected (partially because they have 461 other 'friends' still left on their list), which means we probably didn't need to be connected in the first place.

Yay! Everyone Likes Me!

All of this is not to even MENTION the nonsense back-and-forth mudslinging that can get fired up online, usually over nothing.  If you have an argument with someone, take it to them personally.  Don't call them out publicly from behind the safety of your screen.  People will say cruel things online that they would never DREAM of saying in person.  Trust me, I've been there. 

The lesson?  Don't be afraid of the "unfriend" button--and here's to keeping our friends "real". 
-I know… I'm like the Emily Post of Facebook etiquette. 


  1. Yes, this information overload is trying. I don't need to know every little thing you do. And the humble/brags really have got to stop.

    I'm also very much not a fan of the vague...oh no, something horrible happened, but I just can't talk about it..but please tell me everything is okay and beg me to tell you what it is...posts.

    1. I am so glad it's not just me! My husband calls it "Social bragging".

      And I kid you not, right after I wrote this, someone I know showed me a Facebook status update written by a distant acquaintance. This woman is in her forties, a mother of seven, and a cancer survivor, yet she posted: "Time to take a deep breath, and pull the knife out of my back."


      What gets me is that post like that will get 37 replies, but I can put an update up about my daughter getting accepted to a university, and get maybe two...

      I must be doing it wrong. Or maybe it's time to be done with Facebook.