First of all, yes, Facebook is a verb. It rivals the actual F-Bomb in terms of versatility – it can be a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. When it comes to words that didn’t exist ten years ago, I really don’t want to hear about their proper usages.
And for that matter, I really wish people would stop telling me what’s appropriate on Facebook and what’s not. For example, you might think that neither politics nor profanity are acceptable on Facebook, but I can find you twenty people right there on my Friend list who throw both of those things around on a regular basis, and they’ve all got a big batch of pals who do the same thing.
They think you’re the one confused about what to do on Facebook, there, Squaresville.
The simple truth is, you think they’re doing it wrong because they’re not doing it like you, that’s all. Relax. Facebook is whatever you want to make out of it. Telling me what I’m supposed to do with it is like telling me what I’m supposed to watch on television – I’ll watch whatever the hell I want.
Here’s a link to a guy on the front page of WordPress right now with a list of all the stuff that he hates about other people’s Facebook behavior – all while admitting that he does half of it himself. I’m telling you what, if I had a list like that I’d stay off of freaking Facebook, that’s how I’d handle it.
To be fair, that’s the guy’s whole point – he’s thinking about deactivating his account for the second or third time. And seriously, there’s no wrong way to blog, either – he can do whatever he wants. But his post happens to sum up a phenomenon that I see in a lot of people, a weird judgmental, put-upon attitude toward posts that might take five seconds to read and zero seconds to skip.
For example. People without kids get really annoyed by people with them. Put up a few pictures of your kids goofing around in a sandbox or something, maybe throw in a Look Who’s Talking-style quote, and just listen to the eyes roll around.
Then watch the same squad of folks lay out a really lengthy set of expectations for you, with regards to exactly how in-line you need to keep those same kids, when you take them out in public.
I mean, which is it, you want me to be a laid-back hipster who digs local bands and art, or you want me to be the sort of really involved parent I need to be in order to keep my kids in line? Yes, I know you want me to be both of those things, even though you Mr. No Kids, only have to be one.
You actually won’t find me posting very many pictures of my kids, and I don’t tend to look at other people’s pictures of their kids, either. To be very frank, I’m not crazy about other people’s kids except for maybe ten of them. And as a guy who isn’t crazy about other people’s kids, I can tell you that it requires absolutely no effort to ignore Facebook posts about them.
No effort at all.
Another thing that bothers this guy is “flaunting your relationship.” He doesn’t like it when you tell your significant other that she’s your Smoochy Woochy or whatever, right there in your Facebook status. He says, damn it, keep that in an email – the digital equivalent of “Get a room!”
Yes, in this hate-filled world full of prejudice and violence, there is nothing more irritating than people who love each other so much that they want to scream it from the rooftops. Can you guys keep it down, I’m trying to stew in my own juices over here!
I mean, that’s something I don’t tend to do, either, tell my wife on Facebook that she’s my Smoochy Woochy, but I’ll do it if I feel like it. You know, there’s a button you can click and then never see a word I type again, right?
Doesn’t that sound simpler than me learning exactly how you want me to behave and then really striving to behave that way for you? Especially when seventy-five other people are absolutely convinced I need to behave in seventy-five slightly different ways?
Can you understand how there are already systems in place so you can control what you see – why on Earth are we all supposed to conform to your wishes, just because you chose to see us?
Negativity – he doesn’t like that either. You could say he’s pretty negative about it.
Well, gee – guess you better get Facebook out of your life, and then you’ll never have to hear a negative word again. I mean sure, here’s a third example of something I don’t do. I don’t go to Facebook when I’m feeling like crap, and tell Facebook about it. I go to a bar, like a normal person, and eat chicken wings, watch poker with a jukebox playing – Daddy of the Year!
But again, if you’ve got something negative going on, and you want to air it on Facebook, there’s a good chance I’ll toss you an encouraging word. This too shall pass – struggle on, fellow human being. I mean, I know Facebook Friends aren’t always like Actual Friends, but if you need one, you got me.
I’m right here – what’s the problem, Glummy Bear, why so glum?
Or, if I’m feeling surly, I might Hide you. Takes about two seconds to do that – problem solved, conscience clean. I still hope you feel better, but not in a proactive sort of way – onward.
Some people use Facebook to sell or promote things. Some people use Facebook to stay connected to far-flung friends and extended families. Some use it to try to get laid. Others use it to meet new people with similar interests. Or to get updates from their favorite artists, musicians, writers, businesses, etc.
The great thing about Facebook is its versatility. You can use it for any of those things, a few of them, all of them – or of course, you can refrain from using Facebook at all. There are many ingenius settings you can utilize, to personalize your Facebook experience into exactly what you want it to be.
Seriously, I didn’t invent the thing, it’s all right there on your screen.
It just seems like agreeing to participate in Hands Across America and then complaining the whole time because everybody’s touching you. I’ve got some people who were really getting on my Facebook nerves – I just unceremoniously blocked them. Call me on the phone and tell me all about it if you don’t like it, is my thinking.
Really, that’s what that button’s for.