Facebook is my favorite social media platform. It is the most delightfully self-indulgent and self-important thing I’ve ever done. It’s the best place to catch up with other wonderfully self-indulgent and self-important people you know – your friends and family. I particularly love Facebook because I get to be slightly creepy, without the potential of arrest, by peeping into other people’s lives from the comfort of my own home. Seeing their pictures, sharing in major moments, or reading their random thoughts that they wouldn’t find an opportunity to share in real life tickles me. If you think that makes me pathetic, you’re probably right!
Recently, I’ve seen people disappearing from Facebook because they think it’s an incredible waste of time. Well, it is. I’m not going to argue that. As a matter of fact, I’m going to support it. It’s a distraction that prevents your friends from paying attention to you at dinner. It causes an immense false sense of social pressure because, obviously, everyone is having a great time and never inviting you. Most of all you’re doing something without actually doing something. C.K. Louis put it best when he said, “Your brain isn’t resting and it isn’t doing.” I say, so what? If I subscribed to that kind of thinking, I’d have to stop watching reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and I’m not giving that up.
People are strange and bizarre and Facebook is the best tool to see it. While it doesn’t depict the reality of a person’s life, Facebook does provide some insight about a person. In a single status report, a single sentence, you can find out something you never knew about someone.
Elizabeth Gomez: “Just had the best rum raisin ice cream of my life!”
At first glance, this status tells you that Elizabeth loves rum raisin ice cream. When you dig into it a little more, it also tells you what kind of person she is. For example, maybe Elizabeth is a bit of an exaggerator. Sure, it could have been the best rum raisin ice cream of her life, but is it really? Does she remember all the rum raisin ice creams she’s had over the years? It’s rum raisin ice cream! How many times has she eaten in a lifetime? Twice?
Who eats rum raisin ice cream is the next question you have about this status. I’ll tell you who – 80-year-olds in nursing homes. Now, you know that Elizabeth is not the 40-year-old woman that you’ve loved and admired for years rather she’s a 80-year-old woman with a bad palette who has a hard time with honesty.
There are many types of Facebook Posters. That’s another cool thing about Facebook. There are attitudes and ideas that you would have never known about your friends or that kid in high school that you never remembered until he found you on Facebook and sent you a friend request. Facebook provides a platform for people to feel free to reveal a little of their crazy. There is no other platform to allow this action. Twitter is too short for a good rant and Instagram leaves too much to interpretation. Crazy is where the Facebook fun begins.
Learn to label folks based on their status posting style, which carries into their commenting style, which is where you truly get to know how much crazy is too far. By identifying these things, you will be able to know when to take someone seriously, hide them in your newsfeed, or discreetly unfriend them.
The Againster: He’s against everything. His status reports would be daily posts about everything always being wrong, “Patton Oswalt isn’t funny, I would never pay to see him.” Clearly, he is wrong, but because everyone else likes Patton Oswalt, this guy by his nature, cannot like him nor does he enjoy playing the lottery because he has no hopes or dreams.
The Thankful: These type tends to be female, “I am so thankful for my cashier at Macy’s. She made me smile.” This is a person who is trying to find gratitude in everything, when she should not. While it’s fine to be appreciative, after awhile it sound desperate, especially when they become “blessed because [she] received a free coffee at 7-Eleven.”
The Public Private Conversationalist: A PPC has no idea that there’s a time and a place for everything. Instead of simply posting their status and walking away, they continue a personal conversation for all the world to see with the commenter. For example:
PPC Status: I need some milk
PPC (in his own comments section): (tags) Stacey – can you grab milk?
Stacey: Sure, but maybe you should text me.
PPC: Where are you going? Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?
Stacey: Whole Foods – why don’t you ring me.
PPC: Cool! Can you get those organic peach o’s?
Stacey: TEXT ME.
PPC: Great, I’ll text you. It looks like we need more dog food.
PPC: Stacey – I texted you.
PPC: Did you get it?
The Quoter: Oh, the Quoter, he is a mysterious one. His status reports are only comprised of quotes. Quotes of songs, of writers, of recent tv show lines. You never know what he is thinking. The most skilled of Quoters know that they should never credit the quote leaving the reader to wonder if it was the Quoter’s own thoughts or to guess the originator and force a comment. The Quoter, he is slick, carefully picking something to also indicate his mood, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” The Quoter should learn to get his own f’ing material.
The Conspirator: I never unfriend a Conspirator. They never make any sense, but they know that there is some great conspiracy behind everything, especially politics. They are the perfect Facebook member because they believe that the world is constantly thinking of them, “My dry cleaner broke one of my buttons because last week I asked for extra starch.” The Conspirator shines at endlessly commenting on your status.
The Sad Sack and The Vaguebooker: Oh man, if you’re looking to unfriend, these are the folks you want to go after. “Some people need to learn to adjust their attitudes when they come at me” or “I weep into this cup though no one will notice it spills over” – no explanation, no story, end. Do not engage this types of posters. DO NOT. Let them wallow and go on eating your hot dog.
The Link Announcer: I like this person. He gives me news updates and keeps me afloat with stupid stories and videos by posting links. I wish I was better at keeping up with the world around, but because I’m on Facebook I can’t. The Linking Announcer allows me to be just current enough that I can carry on a water treading conversation around the water cooler.
The Mundane Reporter or The I Live for My Children Parent: Not everything is interesting. Most certainly what you’re currently eating or what your child is currently eating is not interesting. Stop posting.
There are so many more, but I think by now, you’ve got it. Play with these categories a bit, make up your own, then prioritize your newsfeed so that it’s bearable.
Next time, we’ll talk about how to make your Facebook page more engaging and entertaining for your friends so that they don’t think you’re crazy or want to stab a fork through your eye.