In the past two weeks there have been two articles about how people should post on Facebook. Both are a bit negative in that they try to tell people what and what not to post.
The great thing about Facebook is it has the ability to bring every single close friend / acquaintance / person you met once together in one place. Secondly, the update status feature gives you a window into their lives and from each post the window opens another inch. From the simple question “What’s on your mind?” we learn more about the daily trials our friends face and helps us get to know them without the screen that usually impedes our face to face interactions.
With this technology, we are less hesitant to post what we really think as our minds are not trying to identify with any discriminating person but just a blank screen staring back at us. There are no reactions to what we say, it just takes the information, posts it and then returns to the original screen should you wish to add further information. In a way it is quite liberating!
However, the WSJ article says it can destroy friendships. This begs the question, just how solid are those friendships? It is human nature to want to “fit in” with whatever crowd we happen to be interacting with. Thus we try to conform our thoughts and words to that of the group and not stand out. In doing so, are we really being honest with the group and ourselves? The computer doesn’t care one way or another.
Let’s break down the article so we can get to the point.
1.) “we’re breaking a cardinal rule of companionship: Thou Shalt Not Bore Thy Friends.”
– The status update box says “What’s on your mind?” NOT “Please post something entertaining you think your friends might want to read.” A “companion” likes you for who you are. Friendship does not entail endlessly trying to entertain the other person!
2.) “He’s particularly annoyed by a friend who works at an auto dealership who tweets every time he sells a car, a married couple who bicker on Facebook’s public walls and another couple so “mooshy-gooshy” they sit in the same room of their house posting love messages to each other for all to see. “Why is your life so frickin’ important and entertaining that we need to know?” Mr. Brown says.”
– Mr. Brown sounds like a grump. I don’t think I would like to be friends with Mr. Brown.
3. “My question is this: If we didn’t call each other on the phone every time we ate before, why do we need the alerts now?”
– Because it’s easier, it’s “what’s on my mind” and is a valid status update! I’m interested in what types of foods my friends eat and each small detail let’s me know exactly what their life is like. Besides, who uses the phone anymore, a phone call is a huge commitment! How old are u lady, 62?
4. still puzzling over an old friend–“a particularly masculine-type dude”–who plays in a heavy-metal band and heads a motorcycle club yet posts videos on Facebook of “uber cute” kittens. “It’s not fodder for your real-life conversation,” Mr. Gilbert says. “We’re not going to get together and talk about how cute kittens are.”
– Perhaps you are just not a good friend Mr. Gilbert? Perhaps this masculine-type dude feels he has to put on a tough guy show for you every time you meet. Perhaps you are too insensitive to realize this guy WOULD like to talk about cute kittens and you’re too dense to realize it. Besides, who doesn’t like cute kittens??? If you’re not man enough to talk about kittens then maybe you need more self esteem? Wouldn’t learning more about your friend and having him be honest would you strengthen your friendship?
5. James Hills discovered that a colleague is gay via Facebook, but he says that didn’t bother him. It was after his friend joined groups that cater to hairy men, such as “Furball NYC,” that he was left feeling awkward. “This is something I just didn’t need to know,” says Mr. Hills
– So it’s better to hide and conceal who they really are so you feel more comfortable? Their life isn’t about making you feel more comfortable Mr. Hills. If you were a true friend you would accept them for who they are.
6. And then there’s jealousy. In all that information you’re posting about your life–your vacation, your kids, your promotions at work, even that margarita you just drank–someone is bound to find something to envy.
– So now we have to consider if someone will feel insecure or not? We should be happy that our friends are enjoying themselves!
It is my opinion that the above examples all come back to something that is wrong in our society. It is a “me, me, me” culture in that everyone should conform to please me! The great thing about Facebook is it is a collection of friends who are being themselves and not necessarily trying to please everyone else. We get to hear their honest opinions and break down barriers that would otherwise impede face to face interactions.
America has always had a bit of a formal culture as opposed to the more carefree cultures you find in warmer climates. In the 50s’ even a husband and wife barely new each other it was so formal! We have a culture that implores to please keep your opinions to yourself unless the other agrees with what you are saying. However, Facebook is changing all that. People are taking the suggestion and posting “What’s on your mind?” with less worry about pleasing everyone else.
Now on to the CNN Article. If this journalist was my friend I would immediately have to de-friend as the guy obviously cannot be pleased.
1. The Let-Me-Tell-You-Every-Detail-of-My-Day Bore. “I’m waking up.”
– Normal people lead normal lives. Who are you, Indiana Jones? If everything posted was super exciting then we would be breaking the “do not make people jealous” rule from the WSJ lady.
2. The Self-Promoter
– So? I’m interested in the achievements of my friends. Maybe the journalist is just jealous? Besides, I like to know what I am missing!
3. The Friend-Padder
– Some are more social than others and FB is a great way to keep in touch with everyone. It is up to the account holder to decide how many friends he/she wants to have. I suspect the journalist has only about 10 friends. Sad.
4. The Town Crier. “Michael Jackson is dead!!!”
– This is great! I learn about news more quickly from my friends and it is like having an army of news gatherers. They are often faster then major news sites!
5. The TMIer. “Brad is heading to Walgreens to buy something for these pesky hemorrhoids.”
– Ya, sometimes TMI is bad but my friends are human and should I ever have hemorrhoids I’ll know who to ask about it.
6. The Bad Grammarian. “So sad about Fara Fauset but Im so gladd its friday yippe”.
– Actually, this bothered me for a while but I’m over it. Besides, when you update by phone it’s easy to do, so quit beng so anal!
7. The Sympathy-Baiter. “Barbara is feeling sad today.”
– Not everyone can be super happy everyday and the great thing about friends is they give support. People are being honest!
8. The Lurker. The Peeping Toms of Facebook, these voyeurs are too cautious, or maybe too lazy, to update their status or write on your wall. But once in a while, you’ll be talking to them and they’ll mention something you posted, so you know they’re on your page, hiding in the shadows. It’s just a little creepy.
– Guilty! Lolz. This one is harmless. The status updates keep coming nonstop and it’s hard to respond and get back to everyone. This
doesn’t mean we are not paying attention!
9. The Crank. These curmudgeons, like the trolls who spew hate in blog comments, never met something they couldn’t complain about.
– Ok, I agree with this one. Some people just complain too much. But we can’t ship all the Republicans to Guam now can we! That would be mean.
10. The Paparazzo. Ever visit your Facebook page and discover that someone’s posted a photo of you from last weekend’s party
– Ya, this one can be dangerous. That’s why I now only get drunk in my apartment while under the covers.
11. The Obscurist. “If not now then when?”
– I enjoy these ones because it gets me thinking. What could they be talking about??!! I don’t know the what, so I’m not sure about the when but you’ve got me excited!! I like to post a random time and date to these. “Next Saturday at 12:30, meet me at the train tracks.”
12. The Chronic Inviter. “Support my cause. Sign my petition. Play Mafia Wars with me.
– Solution: Hide button. I hid the farm application… er,, wait, no I didn’t. Friends, I’m so sorry you found a black sheep on your farm!! What do you need me to do? Can I help??
So, to all my friends on FB, please keep posting everything and anything that is on your mind! If you just ate a burrito or are about to cross the Sahara while trying to evade the gypsies I appreciate the info!