My newly acquired sequestered lifestyle has resulted in more Facebook usage than when I signed up in my first year of uni and had a competition with my housemate to reach 100 friends (I’d be more embarrassed about this, but I won). Back then, it was a major procrastination device, but these days it allows me a three minute break from whatever I’m doing before I decide absolutely nothing interesting is happening on it, and return to my work. Obviously it would be better for me to get up and have a walk around, but hey ho.
Anyway, my increased use has left me with a few gripes that really grate, things that people just shouldn’t do on Facebook, things that I wish Facebook would put as footnotes in their terms and conditions.
- Baby pictures. Your baby looks like every single other baby to me. I’m sure it is very cute, and when it’s your own baby, it must be amazing. For everyone else, they look like an uncooked chicken. And you’ve just uploaded 274 pictures of this unappealing chicken to ‘My Little Girl VIII’. Also, your picture of your pregnant stomach is repulsive. If you aren’t willing to show us pictures of the conception, you shouldn’t be willing to show us the rest of it.
Oh, and putting your child as your profile picture? You deserve to forget how to hold conversations that aren’t about nappies or vomit, and you deserve to forget how to speak to normal people without using that rhetorical baby warble, and you deserve to have your brains turn into the mush you feed your ugly little chicken child as you forget how to drive and forget that you used to refer to yourself in the first person before ‘mummy’ lost her mind.
- The Sunday morning hangover status. Everyone has a hangover on a Sunday. Deal with it, or find something original to say about it. Don’t bring everyone else down about it. Don’t clog up my news feed with ‘so and so feels awful’, ‘so and so is too hungover to eat’, ‘so and so might die from this hangover’. Obviously not that close to death if you can type that out, are you? Yet.
- Grammar and spelling. If you have been speaking this language for over twenty years, you ought to have some vague grasp of it by now. I wonder how many people would delete me if I was to get all spelling squad and grammar police on them. Of course people make mistakes, and not everyone is good at spelling, but you did go to school for AT LEAST ten years, which means you look like a moron when you get it so wrong. If you have something to say that matters enough for you to put it out there for public consumption, then it matters for you to try and get it right.
- Does anyone else have friends on Facebook who they think are twats and yet are occasionally compelled to stalk them to check just how twattish their lives really are? Now they turn up on my news feed ALL THE TIME. I don’t want to hear your news, I just looked you up because on a desperately dark day it was a malicious confidence boost, a cheap laugh, and I really don’t want to have anything to do with you again, because that is not a healthy way to cheer yourself up. But I can’t delete you because that would be harsh too, after all, you’re not a bad person; you’re just an idiot.
You seem to become one of two people on Facebook: the whiner or the boaster. The whiner is the one whose status updates are best read in the voice of Eeyore, who consistently complains about how bad their day is and how shite life is to them and a status that translates to ‘COULD ANYTHING ELSE GO WRONG FOR ME?’ The boaster is the one with the suntan in every picture and a wall packed with discussions about their jetsetting lifestyle, charity work, how amazing their job is, a status that may as well say, ‘LOOK HOW GOOD MY LIFE IS’. The general bragging is probably not designed to invoke jealousy, but it is probably not for your friends either, who know just how hard you’ve worked for that holiday, or how much that skydive meant to you; the general ins and outs of your life. Your friends are the people who want to share your happiness. No, this social image is for your Facebook contacts, this plastic portrayal of yourself that you give online.
It isn’t a bad thing, and if your life is worth bragging about, fantastic. Go for it if you still need validity. But my favourites are the funny people, the uplifters, the banterists, the ones that want to share something interesting with the world. They are rare treasures, but make the whole Facebook experience completely wonderful.
Ps. I don’t want to be in the whiner category, so here are some reasons I love facebook.
- Messages in my inbox. Oh, hello emails that aren’t littered with junk, things I accidentally signed up to, things I might want to read one day but not right now, things I have to answer and shit I have to do. These are messages from people I like and love and nothing but and Facebook, for that, you are totally worth it.
- Facebook banter. In jokes. Nothing better than a group of people getting involved in some buffoonery.
- Sharing music, articles, news, photos, and other random bits and bobs. Because these are my friends, and they have stuff to say that interests me. Sometimes the other people do too.
- I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE. Best. Group. Ever.
It is bizarre how firmly Facebook has lodged itself in our lives, but I like it. I like that it is the socially acceptable equivalent of staring in through people’s windows, which it can only be because you choose the scene you want people to peer at. I like that I don’t have to partake in any of it, but it’s nice to see what’s going on. And I can have some human interaction, which in a time of limited social opportunities is just awesome. I just wonder if people are aware that others are staring in through their windows, and are disgusted by some of the stuff they see.