The other day I read a great post by blogger and author, Tim Venable about why he shut down his Facebook account. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it. Tim’s realization of the version or representation that we create of ourselves on Facebook brought with it an understanding that, well…
It’s not real.
Not all the time anyway. And the need for validation and the brief stamp of approval we may receive through Facebook is fleeting and impermanent. I think he says it best when he writes, “…the messages we receive, the comments on our comments on our comments, the pictures we see, are all part of the air we breathe, and it doesn’t sustain us.” He says a lot of other deep and profound things on his post, so hop over there and read it, because I can’t do it justice.
Am I quitting Facebook anytime soon? I don’t think so. But I do recognize that I am extremely “needy” when it comes to Facebook. I find myself relying on it to ease boredom, as a quick news source (Hurricane Sandy) but more so to hear that other people agree with me and that I am not alone in my thoughts.
And that they like me. That they really, really like me.
These are some embarrassing admissions about my relationship with Facebook.
1) I really like when people like my posts. I am so insecure about it that sometimes, when nobody likes my post after some time, I will delete it, because seeing it up there, all alone, makes me feel like it’s sitting in the high school cafeteria at a table all by itself.
2) I notice when I have not heard from certain friends in a LONG time, but I still see them commenting or liking other people’s posts. I know that this surely indicates some level of OCD on my part, but it also leaves me with a strong suspicion that they have hidden me from their news feed.
Yeah, that’s right. I am ON to you.
3) I sometimes accept friend requests from people who I am not crazy about. Like this girl in high school who used to be really mean to me. I don’t know if it’s because I believe that you should keep your friends close, and your enemies closer (which is why I follow Ann Coulter’s twitter feed), or just the fact that I still have a hard time saying “no” to people.
So you see, I recognize that my relationship with Facebook may be less than “healthy” at this point. Plus the shield of our computer screens give us so much more license to say something to someone that we wouldn’t normally say to their face. I have gotten into passive/aggressive arguments on Facebook because it’s just so darn easy to tell someone why you think they are wrong in a little comment section before pressing the “Enter” button.
Without ever having to look them in the eye.
Knowing that Facebook can be a minefield though – and an incredibly vulnerable one at that (you are typing into a world that can be seen by many FOREVER. Screenshots are not that hard to take and send to others even if you hit “delete”), here are some of the top suggestions I have to navigate gracefully through Facebook.
Rule #1 - Don’t use Facebook to tell us the weather. Things like, “The hurricane is coming. Preparing as fast as we can!” is one thing. But telling me it’s sunny outside is just silly. I have a window. If you are far away, your friends can find out by checking weather.com.
If they care.
Rule #2 – Don’t use Facebook to bitch about life. ALL THE TIME. It’s one thing to let your friends and family know you are stuck in traffic. Again. But if it happens everyday, just find a decent song on the radio and chill the fuck out. We don’t need you to text us another picture of the Interstate.
Rule #3 - Don’t use passive/aggressive/inflammatory remarks in your status field. When you say something like, “I HATE when someone says they’re your friend and then goes and stabs you in the back. You know who you are!” Well, that’s just asinine. And don’t get me wrong, I did something like this to a friend two years ago in my blog and it was just mean. And I regret it. Deeply. And I probably looked like a real asshole, because I was.
So just don’t do it, because it kind of makes you look like a real jerk. And anyone close to you knows exactly who the friend is so just pick up the freaking phone and call them or shut the hell up and don’t say anything.
Rule #4 - Don’t Facebook after having had too much to drink/popping an Ambien/or the combination of both. Nothing good will come of this. Nothing. It may not even come out in English, so God knows what the fuck you’re gonna say.
Rule #5 - Don’t tag your friends on Facebook in pictures where they look like ass. I know that your complexion is glowing and you look really skinny in it and all that, but for the love of God, people! Be nice. Don’t tag them. And if the picture is REALLY bad, don’t put it on Facebook – I don’t care how hot you look in it. Photoshop them out or find a picture where you might look a little less hot, but everybody is decent.
Rule #6 - Don’t say anything on Facebook that will make people think you are bat-shit crazy. As Tim explains in his blog, one of the breaking points for him with Facebook came when a stalker-ish Facebook friend told him she “…hoped he got cancer.” Like me, I am sure you are gasping.
“WHAT!!!???” Who would say such a thing?
In which case, I might respond that this was an obvious case of someone breaking Rule #4 (Alcohol/Ambien/Both) above or the person is bat-shit crazy.
And trust me, Facebook is full of people who are bat-shit crazy.
Rule #7 – Don’t be everybody’s savior. It’s good if you have a cause. A passion. I have been there. But just because somebody writes an anti-Romney or anti-Obama post, you don’t have to respond back EVERY time. It is also not your responsibility to interject in cases when it becomes clear that a person whom you are “friends” with is an asshole (racist, sexist, ridiculously ignorant). Just be calm, cool and press “Unfriend.”
Rule #8 - Don’t get into family feuds on Facebook. Oh man, these are just bad. And friends, I have erred. Oh boy. One of my worst Facebook performances to date. A couple of months ago, one of my uncles said something mean about another one of my uncles and I of course, I HAD to jump in, fully violating Rule # 7. The whole thing totally blew out of proportion. Finally, the uncle who had started the insults tried to inbox me.
First message comes bad mouthing my other uncle again.
My response: “I can’t hear you.” Send.
Second message appears. Same thing.
My response. “I’m not listening. I can’t hear you!” Send.
Then I unfriended him.
Now, I know that my responses here were less than mature. I am going to see this uncle again. And again. I may live in Virginia and he may live in New Jersey, but we shall meet, perhaps across a buffet table at an Indian party and have to have an awkward conversation over the samosas.
Which is why it is critical that you always abide by Rule #7.
And never, ever, EVER break Rule #4 and Rule #7 at the same time. The combination of the two can lead to irreparable Facebook damage.
Rule #9 – Don’t get all political up in my Facebook grill, yo.I probably know which candidate you support. And it’s nice that you are passionate about the electoral process and America being one nation, yada, yada. But when you have to shit talk about the candidate you don’t support EVERY freaking day, it makes me not like you. Even if we support the same candidate. And, even though we might still be “friends” on Facebook, you will always annoy me just a little bit and I will always think you are a closed-minded donkey.
Rule #10 – If you suspect someone else of being bat-shit crazy (see Rule #6), unfriend. Now, given everything I have admitted over the course of this post, I am expecting a few “unfriends” myself. But like, here is an example. A guy Facebook friended me. No biggie. He was married, cute wife, cute kids. Pretty safe, right? But EVERY time I would get on Facebook, he would chat me within the first two minutes. Like he was waiting. Ewww. And so I “unfriended” him and within three minutes received an inbox asking me why I “unfriended” him.
Which is weird, right?
So get the crazies off. You don’t want them seeing pictures of your kids and know that your are stuck in traffic again on the Interstate.
Rule #11 - Don’t post the a new version of the SAME picture of yourself regularly of you staring sultrily into the camera. I don’t get it. If you are female, is it to show us a new lipstick shade you are trying out? A new t-shirt? I don’t know how it’s any different than the picture you posted yesterday of you staring sultrily into the camera. Because they all look exactly the same. Yes, your cleavage looks really good in the picture. Check. Your hair looks nice. Check.
Girlfriend, you’re hot. We got it.
If you are a guy. Stop posting gratuitous shots of you topless, looking for creative ways to show us you work out. Same thing. We know you are not the dorky guy you were in high school and you have great abs now. Now, go show someone who cares.
So friends, for now, this is where I will leave you today. I know that this list can go on and on and on and on. But I know blog posts can only be so long and I probably lost you (if I ever had you) somewhere around Rule #3.
If you have any suggestions for additional things that drive you INSANE on Facebook, please leave them in the comments below!