Facebook has become more than a social network to me. It’s become something akin to the distant relative you hate, whom you’d love to shut out of your life completely, but know you never will. It’s the relative that’s always stirring up the shit, causing conflict between you and your family or friends. It’s that poisonous individual that somehow has a knack for messing with your self-esteem, and even makes you question your once solid affection for certain people. Social network? Try manipulative leech.
Seriously, Facebook brings out so many of the worst qualities in people. I actually have a profound respect for the people who are holding out and refusing to join. All eight of them.
I originally joined Facebook to see what the kerfuffle was about. I immediately saw the warning signs of addiction and resolved to hang in a little longer (in order to reconnect with long-lost friends), and then close the account. Almost four years later, here I am, with no way out in sight.
The problem, of course, is that nowadays people communicate via Facebook more than they use email, or even the phone. It’s almost a given, these days, that when you hit it off with someone at a party or event, they will probably not take your number – they’ll add you as a friend on Facebook. Let’s face it; it’s almost to the point where people will add you as a friend if they pass you on the street and hear someone they know call you by name.
As convenient and useful as social networking sites are, I firmly believe that certain people should be banned from using them, or at least schooled in the art of how not to come off as a narcissistic jackass. It absolutely blows my mind how many perfectly lovely people become obnoxious the minute they log onto Facebook or Twitter.
Everyone has a few friends whom they’ve begun to hate a little bit through Facebook, despite how close they might be to those friends in real life. Come on, admit it. I personally surprise myself daily by how many times I snarl, “No one cares!” at my computer screen. Before you go thinking that I’m overly sensitive, please note that my ire is mainly sparked by those who commit these infractions on a chronic basis.
In an effort to channel my ever-growing contempt into a place other than an ill-advised status update of my own, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the top ten most obnoxious Facebook users:
10 The friend who “cleverly” makes his/her status an open letter to some friend or family member, who you happen to know is a Facebook friend of theirs, and who has obviously pissed them off.
“Kelly will think twice next time before expecting common courtesy from her own family.”
“Peter is sick of people who use him and then aren’t there when he needs them. Time to re-evaluate the friend list!”
Yeah…publicizing your feud should work wonders toward repairing your relationship. And pulling this kind of stunt on a regular basis has helpfully illuminated the level of maturity that you are operating at.
9 The friend who posts vacation photo albums, Parts 1 through 20 – they’re 95% landscape shots, and this person actually suggests via their status that maybe you’d like to curl up with a nice cup of joe and “enjoy” them.
Bitch, please. Digital photo memory cards were not invented so you could torture everyone you know with every split second of your vacation. That is why home slide projectors have been virtually banished into obscurity. See that little button on your camera with a trash can icon? USE IT. I’ll take a gander at your 1200 photos – right after I finish hand-picking the lint off of every sweater I own.
8 The friends who are a live-in couple, who write cute little ditties on each other’s Walls, or comment on each other’s statuses, and continue the conversation long past the point where anyone cares anymore.
Meanwhile, you know they both own cell phones and are sitting across from each other at a café, writing on Facebook Mobile, or worse, are next to one another on their sofa, talking to each other through their laptops. Exhibitionist much? Rather than filling your friends’ newsfeeds with obnoxious banter, why not post what it is you’re really thinking?
Exhibitionist #1: Honey, even though you’re just a phone call or text away, I’m going to post a love note right here in your public newsfeed, in order to try to make as many people as possible jealous of our ‘loving’ relationship. Not that they give a flying fig.
Exhibitionist #2: Thank you, baby. Hopefully, someone decides to comment on how cute we are, and then we’ll continue this ridiculous exchange, divulging only the parts of our relationship that we want people to know about. We’ll pretend that you didn’t go batshit on me this morning for accidentally eating your last slice of Weight Watchers bread.
Exhibitionist #1: Yes, sweetie, and we’ll also pretend that your evil mother does not call you every evening in a clear attempt to prevent us from actually spending couple time together.
Seriously, I know couples like this. Saccharine online, miserable in person. Silly me. I sometimes forget that being a happy couple is really just about portraying the happy couple (“we’re not a perfect couple in real life; we just play one on Facebook”). Would that we could all be like you.
7 The friend who mistakenly believes that posting the current weekday as their status, accompanied by some milquetoast declaration – week after tedious week – qualifies as scintillating.
“Wednesday – Happy Hump Day!”
“Thursday. Almost the weekend!”
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
My goodness, I shudder to think what would become of me if I could not log onto Facebook to find out what day it is by searching my newsfeed for posts by friends whose lives are so dull that the entire point of social networking has been completely lost on them. It’s not like calendars are available in just about any medium imaginable. OH WAIT….
6 The friend who regularly posts self-congratulatory statements, and then watches, mute, as the flattering comments pile up.
“Kelly would like to thank the guy in the subway who told her she could be a model. You’re too kind, sir.”
“Seth is awesome.”
“Joan put together another hit presentation for the board of directors and garnered rave reviews. Who knew this would happen three times in a row?”
Oops…hang on…your fishing hook got caught in my hair. Nothing wrong with self-affirmation and feeling good about oneself – but there’s a difference between sharing a nice moment with your friends and blatant, public boasting every chance you get.
It’s safe to assume that Guy in Subway is not on Kelly’s Facebook friend list. Seth feels the need to tell Facebookland that he is awesome on a weekly basis, and no – he doesn’t mean “awesome”, as in “feeling fine”. Also, Joan knew very well that she would garner rave reviews three times in a row. She just wants to make sure you know about it.
Are people really this much in need of ego-stroking nowadays? And am I the only one who feels a little sorry for people who feel the need to self-promote so often?
5 The angry activist friend who uses Facebook as his/her political soapbox.
Remember when it was considered poor form to force your views on religion and politics down your friends’ throats? I don’t often say this, but this is one “in my day” issue I think my parents’ generation got right.
The worst thing about the angry activist (aside from the fact that they persist in sucking the fun out of what is supposed to be the light, frothy part of your day) is the way they eventually make you resent seeing their posts about even the hot-button issues that you agree with them on. It’s sad when you read a posted link about the latest scandal to come out of the Catholic church, for example, and instead of feeling your usual fury, you just sigh and wish for the thousandth time that this person would just have some really good sex or something – anything to distract him from his quest to depress you to the point of wanting to hang yourself from the rafters.
Dear Downer McKilljoy: I know you mean well. I’m just not a fan of reading about depleted oceans, the death of democracy, and violence against everything under the sun via every second item in my Facebook newsfeed. I already have the regular news at the ready, to depress me at the drop of a hat. Speaking of “drop”, shouldn’t you be out on a ledge somewhere?
4 The random, incoherent commenter.
You know the one. You have posted some funny observation or an amusing photo, and are trading clever, entertaining quips with several friends through the comment thread when, out of left field, someone posts some inarticulate, irrelevant and vaguely offensive comment, and you literally have no words. Once you get past the mild embarrassment of knowing that your lucid friends are reading this while sporting a “WTF” thought bubble above their heads, you ask yourself – not for the last time – how you are friends with this person. WTF indeed.
The moron who contributed the last WTF comment on my Facebook page (some *random* from my graduating class in high school) promptly de-friended me after I failed to respond to his unintelligible ramblings. Oh, boo hoo. Something tells me he did us both a favor.
3 The friend who changes her relationship status like she changes her underwear.
I know people (who appear to be reasonably mature and well-adjusted in person), who literally show up in my newsfeed once every week or more as “single”, then “in a relationship”, then “single”, then “it’s complicated”, then “single”, then….well, you get the idea.
I will allow that perhaps Mark Zuckerberg intended this feature as a toy for tweens and teens. But as an adult in your mid-thirties, are you not humiliated that your life reads like that of an eighth grader?
Relationships are hard enough without casting an adolescent spotlight on one that began three minutes ago. Maybe it’s deliberate and these people enjoy the flurry of questions that inevitably follows each time in the comment thread.
I’m personally embarrassed for these people…dude, I was once excruciatingly sheepish when I had to tell friends I’d gotten back together with a boyfriend of four years after spending a month apart. These jokers are on their sixth reconciliation in two weeks with someone they’ve never been happy with for more than one consecutive hour, and they’re all, “Heyyyyy!!! We made up!!!! I LOOOOOOVE him!!!!!”
Sigh. One of these days, I’m going to injure myself rolling my eyes.
2 The friend who posts pictures of herself as often as you blink, and every single shot is a practiced pose.
You know that girl. It’s almost always a girl. She has about a thousand pictures in her Profile Pictures album alone – and in her countless other albums, you’re hard-pressed to find a photo that doesn’t feature her sultry, practiced pout.
Um, sweetie – after the first nine hundred shots we’ve seen of you tilting your head at us seductively, don’t you realize we’ve lost interest? Come to think of it, haven’t you lost interest?
I guess the upside is that, with all the time you spend lovingly arranging your Facebook photos, your poor mirror gets a break from you asking who the fairest one of all is. Errr…you do remember how well the whole vanity thing worked out for Snow White’s wicked stepmother, right? Just sayin’.
1 The friend who hijacks your newsfeed with underwhelming news from his dull, underwhelming life.
This is the nitwit who thinks all five hundred of his Facebook friends care that he had toast for breakfast, that he is sipping coffee as he does every morning, or that he is cleaning the toilet.
“Rick is at work.”
“Rick is at work and it’s a busy day!”
“Rick is doing laundry.”
“Rick is going to bed.”
Riveting stuff, Rick. But seriously, Rick: nobody cares.
Why does everyone and their mother need to know that you are having a mid-afternoon nap, that the line-up at the grocery store is long, or that your itinerary for the day is to eat, clean, go to the gym and then go out for dinner? Seriously, unless I am on the phone with you and have specifically asked, I don’t need to know.
It amazes me that people even want other people to know what they are doing and where they are every minute of the day. Do not get me started on the Foursquare application, and all of its cousins which allow people to “check in” everywhere from their mobile phone. What’s next? Will Apple come up with a microchip that we can wear like a dental filling, and allow for every blasted thought that passes through our heads to be broadcast live via Facebook or Twitter? Is the word “mystery” now considered a four-letter word?
I am fervently hoping that all members of the Dullsworthy Club opt to use the “My Year in Status Updates” application and – assuming they don’t succumb to an acute narcoleptic fit while reading them – realize that they have been boring us all into early graves.
These friends make one wonder: does Facebook breed narcissistic behaviour, or is it just a vehicle for these people to show their true selves? Either way, the prognosis is not good. Like that annoying relative, Facebook renders me terrified on a regular basis that my choices are questionable when it comes to the people I’m letting into my life. It actually makes sense when you think about the fact that, prior to Facebook, most of the people we met in a random way remained distant acquaintances whom we seldom saw again, if ever. Today’s reality finds us assaulted by endless information about people we may only have encountered once, and bombarded with opportunities to interact with these same individuals again – individuals we probably wouldn’t give a second thought to in pre-Facebook World.
On the other hand, maybe Facebook is showing us the true colors of people who would otherwise have us fooled into seeing them through rose-colored glasses. I know that creeping a potential date’s profile page has saved at least a few of us from opening Pandora’s Box of whack jobs and bad dates (cue the “remove from friends” function).
So I thank you, Facebook. I think.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to spend time in the real world. Everyone looks so much better there.