Friday, March 28, 2014


When it comes to Facebook, everyone has an opinion. Either it is a mind-numbing waste of time where the  low-brow among us share the minutia of the day-to-day, or it is a cozy gathering place where friends and family  keep one another company from the farthest corners of the world. It is a den of photos of inebriation and sexploitation, or it is a coffee table of albums of grandchildren and cats. It is the condescending, intolerant postulation of the know-everythings, or the thoughtful, provocative discussion of the earnest. Whatever the viewpoint, there is one thing all Facebook users have in common. We love to gripe about what other people post in THEIR statuses on THEIR pages. In other words, we have become this woman:
"Abner, they're posting duck faces and doing that vague-booking thing again!"
In a perfect world, Facebook would have the equivalent of a home owners' association.That way, when someone posts a status that  horrifies their 570 Friends, like a shot of their baby's newly delivered placenta or  yet another political rant falsely attributed to George Carlin, the association could levy a fine.The by-laws could declare a limit to the number of baby and pet pictures allowed on any given page in any given month, and political discussion would be restricted to 100 comments before everyone has to agree to disagree. Finally, all users must check Snopes before posting outlandish claims or risk being booted from the neighborhood. Just imagine what a pleasant place Facebook would be if everyone updated their statuses with only association-approved posts!

"You see, dear. Facebook is so much better when we all follow the same rules!"
The truth? It would be incredibly boring.What makes Facebook fun is the over-sharing, the debates, the decorative memes, and even the occasional vague-booking. Of course, that doesn't stop me from being a Judgy McJudgerson. After all, it wouldn't be a SOCIAL network for me if I didn't get to occasionally roll my eyes at, gripe about, or snicker over someone's status.
"Madam! Did you or did you not schedule a lunch date with a friend in your FB status rather than via PM?"
With that said,  I also enjoy judging those who take the entire Facebook experience far too seriously. (Are you noting a pattern here?) I recently came across this blog post, 7 Ways to Be Insufferable On Facebook. I had hoped to settle in and enjoy a tongue-in-cheek, humorous bit that playfully skewered all of us FB users for our sometimes-stupid, sometimes-pathetic use of the medium. Instead, I got treated to a master class taught by Professor Killjoy, Facebook Virtuoso.
"Cat memes, it seems, dumb-down our newsfeed streams."
Naturally, I could not let this piece go without a rebuttal. My comments are in parenthesis.

First, the wise professor instructs on how to properly use the status section of our Facebook pages. Statuses, according to Killjoy, are to be either entertaining/funny or interesting/informative, preferably both.(Hmm. Though I can be entertaining/funny at times, I don't come cheap. If you want me to be your personal Facebook clown, it will cost you. I do accept PayPal. Also, you know what's interesting/informative? LibraryBook. Look into it.)

Now, we move onto the 7 Insufferable Statuses:
1.  The Brag.
(Really? I'm afraid without this little nugget of a status, we won't be able to talk about: our vacation, our new home, our pregnancy, our baby, our engagement, our marriage, our new job, our promotion, our night out with friends, our child's college acceptance, our new relationship, our reaching level 343 on Candy Crush. This limits us to cat memes and statuses that are the musical equivalent of the sad trombone.)
"Eventually? We are all going to die. So enjoy that relationship status while you can before you have to change it to 'widow.'"
2. The Cliff Hanger
(This is also known as vague-booking and includes status updates that leave the reader wondering, "Well...??" Examples include: "Prayers needed!" "Worst news ever!" "Best news ever!" And the ever-popular "The next time you see me, I will be in my coffin." Now, most people find these super annoying. Not me! I use them as prompts for short stories for my on-line writing group!)
"'Prayers needed!' cried the woman as the Masked Strangler curled his fingers around her throat."

3. The Literal Status Update
(This is when the Facebooker fills us in on their day-to-day activities. Maybe they ate a sandwich. Maybe they paid $3.25 for gas. Again, why be annoyed?  I'm a snoop. The more I know about your daily routine, the better to stalk you.)

 4. The Inexplicably Public Private Message
(Actually, I LOVE these! Why be annoyed when someone posts, "@Bestie4life, are we still meeting at Rave Cinemas for the 8 p.m. showing of Frozen? I'm so excite!!!!" Personally, I consider this an invitation. See you there!)
"Um, I have, like, no idea who this old lady is? But, she is, like, totally sitting next to me at the movies? And she, like,  told me we need to do this more often? I'm, like, totally freaking out right now!"
5. The Out of Nowhere Oscar Acceptance Speech
(These are the posts where Facebookers tell the people in their lives how much they mean to them. "Thank you all for being so supportive these past few months. I could not have achieved my goal of cutting back to only 3 cups of coffee a day without your encouragement. I particularly want to thank my husband, @hubby, all my cousins, @jane, @joan, @justina, and @Julie and my bunko group. You know who you are!" I have no issues with these at all if they are sincere. In fact, I love it when my name is included in the list of thank-you-ees. I love to take credit for other people's success and happiness!)
"Last and most importantly, I'd like to thank The Invisible Diva for being one of the few people who doesn't confuse me with Woody Harrelson.."
6. The Incredibly Obvious Opinion
(This one is a catch-all for posts that many people are tempted to respond to with "No duh!" But, we do not respond that way because we all, each and every one of us, have posted an Incredibly Obvious Opinion on our page. In fact, let's  face it. Facebook is nothing but one incredibly obvious status after another. Examples: "Gosh it's cold out!" "(Fill  in celebrities name) just died!" "Genocide is so wrong!" "My baby is cute!" "My dog is adorable!" "My sports team is winning/losing!"  "Saturday Night Live is no longer funny!" The truth is, it's the incredibly obvious opinions that generate the most discussion because it's what we want to talk about in the day-to-day. I have to wonder if Professor Joy Kill would be happier if  we all wrote essay topics for our statuses.)
"The UN Security has condemned the N. Korea missile launch. Please reply with a succinct argument to support any claims that this will create ramifications regarding our deteriorating  relationship with Russia. Then, like and share if you are against nuclear proliferation!" 
 7. The Step Towards Enlightenment Post 
(These are the posts that represent the individual's spiritual point of view. They can come in the form of helpful hints on finding inner peace, quotes from scripture, little memes that tell us how wonderful we all are inside, and empowering messages wrongly-attributed to Mark Twain or Michael J. Fox. Honestly! Who could be upset by these little gems of kindness?)

"Oh, I don't know. Could it be......SATAN??!!"
Obviously, we all have bad days when other's Facebook posts are going to get on our nerves. When that happens, hit the scroll key and move on. The only rules any of us should follow when it comes to our personal Facebook page are the ones we should practice in real-world social interactions: Be yourself, be considerate, and don't talk with your mouth full. Now get out there and like and share a cat videos!