Thursday, June 25, 2009

Facebooking 101

I recently had a chance to catch up with an old friend via a phone call. We'd ran into each other again on Facebook, and I was so happy to talk to him. We got to talking about Facebook, and the things that drive us nuts.

He told me about a time he'd been deleted by a friend. It was rather a humorous story. His main offense was that he posted a quiz result. This offended a friend of his, and she zapped him like a bug. Over a Facebook quiz! As if they're accurate. Most are probably written by some bored 13 year old girl and her gaggle of friends. Check the grammar and spelling in the results sometime. See? It's not like a team of scientists and psychologists have carefully constructed the quizzes and when they say you're crazy, you damn well better listen.

It's just a Facebook quiz.

Really, I had to laugh because I, too, have deleted people who weren't close friends per se because they annoyed me. Probably those who know me best would pose the question right now, "What doesn't annoy you?" Good question, but there are things that bother me about these social networking sites.

I had a Myspace account for a good long while, and the thing that struck me the most about it is that Myspace could make adults carry-on like they were 14 years old. "You moved me from your top four friends, so I moved you out of my top friends." "Why aren't I your top friend anymore?"

I saw, and was involved, in my fairshare of Myspace wars. I finally deleted it after reaching the conclusion that Facebook didn't cultivate a playground mentality. At least not with the notion that one has the ability to tell the world who they like best on their friend list. And don't even think about randomizing your friends because that'll likely strike a nerve with the person who used to be your number three. I have to say, I don't miss Myspace at all.

That's not to say that Facebook doesn't bring its own set of annoyances. I've gotten the distinct impression that the biggest Facebook crime involves the status update. I'm not the only one who feel like I don't need a play-by-play of your trip to work. I've seen others lament that after 15 status updates in one hour's time, they've clicked the "X" beside someone's name.

This would be one example:

7:42 - I'm off to work. I'm running late.

7:45 - Stuck in traffic, running even more late for work.

7:48 - I was nearly t-boned at the stoplight. (I can't imagine why if you're sending updates and not paying attention while driving.)

7:51 - I'm going to need to have my brakes checked soon. I will do that after work.

7:59 - I'm running into work from the parking lot so I won't be late.

8:01 - I just dumped a hot cup of coffee in my lap. I think I have third degree burns on unmentionable parts. I'm off to the ER.

Really, I could have waited to read something like, "I was running late for work, got stuck in traffic, nearly died when I was t-boned, and now, after spilling coffee in my lap, I'm going to the ER because I see blisters on my hoo-hah."

It seems the status update is there to inform, enlighten, entertain, maybe offer a public service announcement. Perhaps, they are a good way to start a rousing conversation with your peers. I'm partial to the witty, sarcastic, and sometimes even cryptic updates.

I'm not partial, however, to the ones that turn into church sermons.

I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, and God has decided to use the forum that is Facebook to preach to the masses. The pulpit, perhaps, has been replaced by a keyboard. I don't begrudge anyone their faith. I'm happy you have faith in something. That's a-okay with me. I know plenty of people who go to church on Sunday and for whatever reason don't make every other status update about thanking Jesus.

I understand if you want to add a little update after nearly being t-boned that you are thanking God that you were not. I'm only slightly disturbed by the fact that you don't have anything else to say unless you're collecting the jewels to throw at the feet of God when you witness in the end. Again, more power to you if you love church. But the thing is, if I want a sermon, I'll go to or to an actual church...that's the building with the steeple, right?

Another status update that annoys me is the "gloom and doom, whining, my life sucks" posting. It's like catching an ongoing episode of "Hee-Haw," with a loop of the whole "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."

I'm sorry if you're life sucks. Sometimes, mine sucks, too. I'd hope if someone thought Debbie Downer had taken over my keyboard, they'd give me a head's up about it.

I remember back in my chatroom days, there was one chick who didn't go into the chatroom unless she had something to complain about. She couldn't help but take pride in letting everyone know that her life was far worse than anyone else's. I think in one month, her dog died, her teenage daughter got pregnant, she had to have a boil lanced, she found out she had chronic fatigue syndrome, her ulcer was acting up, she lost her favorite ring, and she had a hangnail.

One other type of person I don't get is the "friend collector." They are sort of like "soul collector," but not quite all burning in hell for an eternity. I once received a friend request from someone who was a year or so behind me in high school. I don't recall really ever having a conversation with the person. That might have mattered when we roamed the halls of education. But now, I don't care if I never uttered a peep to you back in the day. If you're funny, nice, and somehow enrich my life, I'll happily add you.

That is if you actually talk to me. When I clicked add, and went to this person's page, I realized she'd added every person listed under our high school. I guess there was a race I wasn't aware of to see how many people from one institution you could add. The concept was very strange to me. Was there an award for having the most friends that I didn't know about?

I know there's a Facebook option to hide the person's feed on the main page. I've done that. I've hid people who rub my mind sore and make me want to tell them to shut up. It's funny, though, that I would be friends with the person to begin with. I don't necessarily want to hurt someone's feelings by deleting them. I also don't want to to reach the point that I've had all I can stand, and I can't take it no more, and I'm wishing I could reach through the monitor and strangle them.

Sure, I hid them, but I still knew they were there. Like a glutton for punishment, I would occasionally click on the option to show hidden posts. Finally, I had to do some weeding because the temptation was too great.

Yeah, Facebook is a great way to stay in touch, squander some time, and seek out some long as you don't annoy your friends and acquaintances to the point of someone clicking the "X."


Ehrich said...

Funny that you should write this. On myspace I had to delete a ton of friends off my list. One thought it'd be the chic activist thing to do by posting the personal information of someone whose actions she didn't approve of. I didn't really approve of them either but I'm not gonna be caught up over disseminating personal information simply because I find what they did to be in bad taste.

I've only had to delete one person from facebook and he was a guy I've known for 20 years at this point. The problem is, he only got worse in those 20 years as apparently he decided that he had to fully align himself(at least in word) with his political party affiliations. He was a Limbaugh fan so the word "socialist" was thrown around a lot, despite the fact he doesn't know what a socialist actually is. On top of that he never had anything positive to say, ever. I got plenty of negativity in my own life, so I don't need someone like him piling onto it.

I heard he commented that it was rude of me to delete him but that'll likely be the last negative thing I hear from him.

Oh, Pshaw said...

I've only come across one person who used the forum to rant and rave about politics. It was someone that someone else told me to add. I didn't know them from Adam, and I deleted them almost as soon as I added them.

There's definitely a different mentality to Myspace, as you illustrate.

I realize we all have our causes, and that's going to seep into our social networking. I don't discount the merits of these social sites. I've "met" a lot of cool people, present company included, that I wouldn't have met otherwise.