With social media continuing it’s meteoric rise of popularity to the point where one day we will no longer be able to operate in social situations away from the computer, I feel it’s necessary to set forth some ground rules. I understand that this very topic has probably been talked to death. I even saw a notepad for handing out “Facebook Citations” on sale at pier one. And yet, the majority of people clogging my news feed seem to be missing the point. And no, smarty pants, I can’t just delete these people. Unlike you, I have a heart. I do tend to “hide” people quite a bit, but wouldn’t the social networking world be better if it didn’t have to come to that?
I present for your approval: A guide to Facebook status update etiquette.
Lesson 1: The following items do not need to be a Facebook status update. EVER.
A: A countdown to a nationally celebrated holiday or event. If every television channel, retailer, and radio station in America is counting down the days until Christmas, you don’t have to. We know it’s coming. You know it’s coming. Let’s just leave it at that.
B: Commentary, or updates, about the weather in your local area. I fucking hate snowstorms. I am a frail baby who hates being cold. I know it’s snowing, asshole. I know it’s difficult to get around in. STOP TELLING ME. The truth is, I know that when the weather is bad, we gravitate towards our computers for something to do. And when we have nothing better to do, we update our status talking about the only thing that is happening; in this case, there is frozen water falling from the sky at an alarming pace. Just resist the urge to post. You can do it!
Exception: If you are in a place where most of your Facebook friends do not live, or a place where you are visiting, totally do this. I will still think you’re an asshole for rubbing your mild Californian winters in my face, but at least you’re the only one in my feed talking about it.
C: Commentary about a sporting event for a local team (or sports finals). A simple, “Go Phils!” is no big deal. You’re excited about something, so naturally you want to tell the world. While it does annoy me to see 20 different people updating their status to “Ryan Howard is the MAN!” (If, in fact he is the man. Or even plays baseball anymore. Frankly, I’m proud of myself for not confusing him with Ron Howard for once.) I can’t really blame you for that. That is the very thing that Facebook is for; sharing your excitement with 200 of your closest friends. What is not necessary is a play by play of the big game. Because if you’re friends with someone, chances are they share your interests, especially if all of your friends live in the same geographic location. So chances are, they are probably watching the same game. And if they aren’t, they don’t give a damn if (insert sports player here) just gained 20 yards, or scored a goal, or hit a ground double (is that a thing?)
Ready to comment angrily yet? No? Good, let’s continue.
Lesson 2: The following is just plain old obnoxious
A: You know what sucks? Lots of stuff. life is full of instances of petty annoyances that just get in your way and can potentially ruin your day. You know the kind of stuff-traffic jams, taxes, construction, rain, mornings, work on Monday mornings, running out of coffee, sick kids, missing one sock, excessive amounts of homework, zombies, etc. You know what sucks worse? Dealing with that shit all day…and then reading about it on Facebook.
I’m not going to say that I haven’t fallen into this trap. I’ve posted my fair share of “This traffic jam sucks,” or “Wah, my pants ripped, I’m a whiny baby, blah!” statuses. But what really gets me are the frequent offenders. Please, do me and everyone else a favor and gripe the old fashioned way-to one co-worker, friend, or spouse who doesn’t care. You don’t have to expose us all to the annoyances of your day. And really, do you give a damn about the traffic jam I was in this morning? Yeah. That’s what I thought.
B: Just like in real life, while updating your Facebook status, you should avoid commentary about something you are not educated enough to offer up commentary on. Just because you saw something on The Colbert Report, does not mean you are now able to make an educated statement about it., and then angrily bash anyone who attempts to engage you in an argument. Especially if you’ve posted something controversial. If you aren’t willing or unable to back your statement up, don’t post it.
C: Vaguebooking. Just fucking stop it.
Lesson 3: The Internet is no excuse for…
A: Purposely spelling words wrong, or dismissing grammar. Ex: going out, gurls nite!!!!!!1 We be drankin’ Watch out boyz, your beat. To which I’d comment, “fuck you” but then we wouldn’t be friends any more. Probably not even in real life. Which might not be too terrible.
B: Making up acronyms. Smdh? You’re an asshole. And I don’t care that everyone uses it. It sucks.
C: Excessive use of emoticons, over punctuation. What do I mean by excessive? Well, if every status you post is followed by an emoticon you fall into this category. When you say something that’s clearly conveyed in your words like, “I got a car for Christmas!” It is not necessary to follow that with one of these: 😀 and fifty of these: ! We know you’re excited. Oh, and I’d like to add that an ellipses has three dots. Just three. And they are not the same as commas.
I guess that’s all the griping I have for now. I’d like to stress that I’m not trying to control what people post on social media sites. I’m not even implying that I’m better than anyone who does post like this. We all get a little irresponsible from time to time and post things that nobody else gives a crap about. We load up the feed with pictures of our kids, or pets, or YouTube videos that no one will ever watch. Like drinking, eating sweets, and wearing plaid, it’s okay if you practice some self control and do it in moderation. Don’t be obnoxious.
In the comments below, feel free to offer up any more social media faux pas you think people should avoid, or comments about what a bitch you think I am.