My stepdaughter and I were talking recently about Facebook. Due to a federal election here in Canada, there were some heated exchanges between our right-leaning and left-leaning family members, and a knock 'em down, drag 'em out blow-out occurred right there in the comments section.
It definitely made for some interesting reading. Then, my stepdaughter started to outline ways in which people violate tasteful Facebook etiquette:
1) the "status updaters": those who apparently have no life and want to constantly advertise this fact to all their Facebook friends. A sampling of lame status updates: Just got up... what should I have for breakfast? You know what? No one really cares what you have for breakfast. Just eat and shut up about it already. In line at the grocery store. Wow, really? Now that is exciting. Tell me more! Boo... rain again! No one cares about the weather unless a natural disaster is occurring and you're in the middle of it.
2) the "photo uploaders": it's all well and good to post photos on Facebook but there are some who abuse the privilege and are constantly posting inane photos of themselves. Ooh, here's me shopping. Really? Are you shopping for a vibrator or a dominatrix outfit? No? Then we don't care! Ahh, here's me in a bikini in my bathroom, with sunglasses on. Oh wait. That was Demi Moore on Twitter. But still, LAME.
3) the "likers": these people will "Like" anything anyone posts on Facebook, from saving the planet by using old newspapers as toilet tissue to denying that climate change exists. It's ok to have taste, people. Just because it's posted on Facebook, doesn't mean it's legit or worthy of recognition.
Personally, my Facebook activities are driven by one goal: to make all my Friends and Friends of Friends envious of my fabulous life. So I try to limit my status updates to stuff that's uncommon or funny, and I pretty much only upload photos of trips I've taken so people can see what a cosmopolitan life I lead.
Of course, everything is highly edited and any bad photos of me are never uploaded. It's like I'm my own publicist. One could argue that this isn't a true representation of my life. And they would be right.
I mean, do I really want people to know that sometimes these would be my status updates: I'm having a f*cking shitty day and am developing homicidal tendencies towards my coworkers or I'm having menstrual cramps from hell and want to rip out my uterus or, my personal favourite, Life seems to have lost all meaning. Why am I here?
I find it ironic that my natural tendency on Facebook is to do the very same thing as celebrity spin doctors and hide my flaws in order to present a polished version of myself that will be acceptable to my audience. On the other hand, one could say I'm focusing on the positive aspects of my life, and what's so wrong with that?
Facebook has tremendous power as a tool for social change and communication. There's no doubt about that. I guess it's like anything, its tendency to be good or bad is all in how you use it. Although I suspect Facebook has turned me into a bit of a fame whore.
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