Most of us have come a long way with Facebook in a short space of time. We’ve loved it, we’ve hated it and some of us have practically given up on it. Over the past year or so, I’ve transitioned heavily to Twitter and have of course adopted the requisite supercilious attitude towards Facebook and its members.
As is so often tweeted, “Facebook is the people you went to school with whilst Twitter is the people you wish you went to school with.”
Bless your stone-age hearts though, some of you out there who still hold onto Facebook like a security blanket, and continue to pour your social media energies into Facebook.
Here are five examples of status updates that made me decide to pull the plug on my Facebook life and move over to the fabled 140 characters.
This status update is probably the most common. For some reason, this user, (your “friend,” lest we forget) feels it necessary to inform you of every single mundane activity in their life. From their agonising struggle to decide between muesli or froot-loops in the morning, to how terrible the traffic was as they drove to work, to a goodnight after a “nom nom nom” dinner, you read about it all.
It wouldn’t be half bad were there at least an element of humour as they told you of how they had that cheeky bite of chocolate breaking their diet, but no. As is, humour for them generally passes for a “teehee,” a “lol,” and an enduring love of emoticons, particularly the winking-eye-tongue-out, ;-P. To the eternat Facebook question “What’s on your mind?” the answer eventually will become “why am I ‘friends’ with this person?”
You can immediately recognise these updates by your confusion and worry. While you are reading the status, imagine Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeeyore as he sighs sadly. If it works, you can be sure it’s a vague-book status. Those who vague-book, as the name suggests, are so vague in what the exact problem is that one is left with no other recourse but to comment, “What’s wrong?”
You could do that or you could follow my, and the millions of others against vague-booking’s example and click the like button. The German have a word which has been co-opted into English, schadenfreude, which means “malicious enjoyment of another’s misfortune.”
It comes close to describing the pleasure one can get from reading, “Sarah* can’t take it anymore,” followed by, “You like this.”
For black, there’s white; for yin, there’s yang; for day there’s…you get the point. As such, for the ‘vague-book,’ there is the ‘TMI-book.’ For those under the age of thirty and unable to decipher text-speak, TMI refers to ‘too much information’. The TMI status bombards you with more information than you could ever wish to know. The TMI status update is a favourite of those going through marital or work issues. But at least the soon-to-be-no-longer-married Facebook user who TMI-books has an excuse; for the rest, as to why they feel we should be privy to every single emotional occurrence in their life is a mystery. It gets worse.
The TMI-booker not only regales you with updates on their emotions, but their bodily functions as well, so you can rest with ease now knowing that, “Tim just came from the bathroom, Gillian McKeith would not be impressed by what came out.”
Nothing warms the heart like love’s first blush, except when you’re witness to it through Facebook. The irony of expressing your never-ending love for your darling Samantha, through Facebook, (a platform brought about through spurned love) is entirely lost on these particular type of Facebookers.
The thing with this type of Facebooker is that if they were in ‘love’s first blush,’ one could – kind of – forgive them for the incessant updates about how wonderful, amazing, breathtaking and lovely their other half is. However, three years into the relationship, yet another treacly-sweet update following the one you posted just three hours ago, may induce a homicidal rage. Or of course, this could be the jealousy speaking.
The compassionate-booker, having come to realise their ‘please forward,’ emails with their threats of certain death or bad luck should you not comply, have been trashed immediately have taken their game to Facebook.
However, they have learnt that their attempts to terrorise you into forwarding their e-mails have failed, they now choose to play the guilt card. A real example of one of these statuses is as follows:
“A cancer patient has only one wish, to kick cancer’s butt. I know that 97% of you won’t repost this as your status, but my friends will be the 3% that do. So in honour of someone who died, or is fighting cancer post this.”
Let’s take a magnifying glass to this. As you can see, right off they open with the big guns, in this case, cancer. Of course, it could be anything truly awful, such as rape, abandonment, Google Buzz. Shrewdly, the status appeals also to your innate desire to be liked (why you’re on Facebook in the first place) with the 3% friend comment. Like any well-written treatise, it closes off by linking back to what was opened with, another big gun, as it appeals to your milk of human kindness.
Despite all this, there was one moment last year when even I, your esteemed writer, fell prey to this and copy and pasted one of these statuses:
“Put this as your status if you know/are related to someone who suffers from being a Sharks fan. Being a Sharks fan is a real disorder and should be taken seriously. There is no known cure for Sharks Fan Disorder. Show your sympathy for them and the beating they will take from the Stormers this Saturday by resposting this. Sadly, 90% of those who suffer from Sharks Fan Disorder won’t repost this because they don’t know how to copy & paste.”
Well, we all know how that turned out.
These are only five out of a plethora of crimes Facebook users commit daily in their statuses. Of course many of you would claim that all of this occurs on Twitter as well.
Sadly, you would be correct. Like all things innovative and à la mode, the masses eventually catch on and want to be part of it, and as such, the great-unwashed masses of Facebook have brought their foreign Facebook customs to Twitter.
However, with time, they will come to forget these foul habits. To those already well versed in the ways of the revolutionary house of Twitter, we should not make calls for them to jump due to these Facebook-tendencies, but rather show them the correct ways.
One can only hope they’re quick about it.