For those of you who don't know me IRL...or even IFL, I guess...I am unabashedly addicted to Facebook. I know not everybody is, and a lot of people who are actively deny it, but I don't see the point. I love TV and I love Facebook, and I'm under no illusions about the value of either, but I'm not going to pretend like I don't love them, either.
That being said, people misuse Facebook all the time. Because as useful as it can be - as a distraction on the john, for crowdsourcing answers, even for keeping in touch with people - Facebook lends itself to rampant misuse by people who lack either manners or, at a minimum, shame. So here are some of the worst abuses of Facebook which you need to stop doing immediately.
1. Talking About Your Miscarriage
Or your divorce. Or your domestic abuse situation. I'm not saying "be a quiet victim" or anything even remotely like that. I'm saying if this is something you would normally share with the cops, or your doctor, or only your spouse and closest family members, why the fuck are you sharing it with your plumber and that co-worker from three jobs ago? I mean, Facebook? Really? You want to share your most traumatic life experiences with 900 of your closest friends and spambots? Why? For sympathy? Mostly it just seems awkward. Should I "like" the fact that you miscarried? Comment on it if I barely know you? Or, even worse, comment on it if we're close friends instead of calling or going over to your house with a casserole or something? And if we are close enough friends that you want me to know about your horrible trauma, why did I find out about it on Facebook instead of via a more personal method in the first place?
2. Talking About Politics
Aside from your basic "don't talk about religion or politics at a dinner party" advice, there are two reasons why I particularly despise political "debate" on Facebook. First of all, politics are complex, which is why on the rare occasions when I do want the public at large to know my political thoughts for God knows what reason, I usually use my blog. In a blog article you can cover some of the nuance of a subject. Facebook is good only for the crassest form of bumper sticker politics. Second, the sorts of political conversations that FB posts engender are pointless at best and terrible most of the time. For one thing, your friends probably mostly agree with you. Remember, we're self-selecting our friends on FB, although even when we're not, most of our real-life friends are people who grew up in a similar place and environment to us. Most of my friends are from suburban Philadelphia. Sure, I've got some army buddies who come from rural Alabama, but for the most part my own wall, where I'm posting my theoretical political posts, is home turf. So you end up with these "conversations" that are basically 500 people agreeing with you, shaking their heads, and clucking their tongues. And if you're "lucky" one of your friends from outside the zone will jump in and attempt to defend a different point of view. Then they either turn into a flame bot or get bullied into shutting up by your friends who do agree with you. Facebook is not a germane place for adult political conversation. It's just not.
3. Talking about God
Again, most of our discussions of politics and religion are best saved for face-to-face and should be excluded from polite discourse whenever possible. But that being said, the religious (and, let's be frank, irreligious) stuff on Facebook is just terrible. And why are you posting about all this stuff in public anyway? To show off? To look like a great person in front of your co-religionists? I know there are many faiths and many people of faith (and atheists) guilty of this, but I'll leave you all to contemplate the fairly universal wisdom of Matthew 6:5-6:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
4. Mentioning That You Went to the Gym
Or, worse, describing your workout. Nobody cares. Gym rats are unimpressed. And you're just making non-gym rats feel bad. Do you think you're inspiring people to go work out? You're not. You're making them feel bad. If you want to inspire people to exercise, why not say something like, "It's a beautiful day so I'm going running. Anybody want to join me?" I mean, that's ham-fisted enough. But saying, "I just did fifty burpees" (and, yes, it's always burpees because these sorts of people invariably think burpees are impressive) benefits no one.
5. Posting Memes
I hate memes. They're stupid and gaudy. They're like bumper stickers. I guess they're slightly superior to bumper stickers because they don't fuck up your car's resale value. Still, I wish memes had never been invented.
6. Posting Pictures of Your Food
First of all, this is what Instagram is for. But second of all: don't do it on Instagram either. Nobody cares what you're eating. You know how that gym rat in #4 refrained from posting his workout regimen for you, fatbody? Refrain posting your disgusting fat-soaked meal for him, okay?
7. Posting GIFs
Whether you pronounce them "gif" or "jif" the fact remains: fuck you. I don't want to get epilepsy from looking at my Facebook feed. Static images, people. Static images. And if I see a video that sounds interesting, I will click on it and watch it. GIFs are like the bastard child of a migraine and a video loop.
What about you? What do you despise? Listicles? People opining about Facebook? Make sure to subscribe and then let me know in the comments below!
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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