Friday, April 8, 2011

Facebook Foibles

By Thomas Hokum

Whenever I start trying to write a post, I inevitably end up on Facebook. College wasn’t much different, except I was writing papers and someone was actually paid to read them and tell me how bad they were. I tried to put my finger on what sick appeal the obsession offers and came up short. The messenger is obviously useful in an age where younger kids don’t even remember AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), and I still prefer typing with all five fingers instead of just my thumbs. However, the messenger is a side point to the greater entity of the Facebook black hole.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that Facebook has replaced television as the predominant mindless time suck. The similarities are aplenty. Like television, Facebook provides a comforting white noise that keeps people feeling connected and vaguely informed. On the other hand, constantly being “caught up” in other people’s lives can produce some interesting side effects as well as create some pretty imaginative personality disorders and awkward phenomena I’ve affectionately come call “Facebook Foibles.” Click through to see which one you are.

The Stalker
Might as well get the obvious out of the way first. Everybody knows one, and most people have been one at one time or another. The term “Facebook stalking” has circulated so frequently in the vernacular that it should be in Webster’s soon. Maybe with a hyphen. The stalker follows your every move, likes your status 30 seconds after you put it up, and knows about your third cousin’s kidney transplant (because you were an idiot and listed your family members right there on your wall). Sting said it best, “I’ll be watching you…” and so will the Stalker. The Stalker is your Ex, the weirdo in your Bio class, and your friend from Fourth Grade all rolled into one. And the best part is you don’t even know they’ve memorized your movie list in alphabetical order.

This happens pretty frequently with hot button issues (read: politics). I’ve seen a friend (liberal) and an ex-coworker (conservative) get into a 17-post wall war over Obama’s views on the economy. These people have never met, but are stringently convinced they change a complete stranger’s opinions via a comment box. The more extreme political topics usually lend themselves better to this disorder, but you will also find strains of it amongst the sports enthusiasts and the general shit-starters who post inflammatory content to illicit responses.

Following People You’ve Never Met
This is more of an oddity then anything. Through Facebook’s genius and my laziness regarding news feeds, I’ve ended up following posts from people I’ve never met. You met a girl at a party in college seven years ago, never talk to her again, and now you’re at work following her neighbors hobbit-hole building project because she commented that it “Looks cool.” This can be really frustrating when a good wall war breaks out, and you have the perfect witty comment, but have to refrain for fear of everyone turning their digital heads and murmuring “Who’s that guy?”

The Wall Hijack
I touched on this with the wall war, but there’s a special feeling of violation when your Facebook wall is taken over by people talking about something no longer relating to you in the slightest. It happens innocuously enough. You post a funny comment about the weather and 14 comments later your two friends from high school are debating which Twilight movie was best. Even better (I’ve actually seen this) is when those two people start inquiring into each other’s lives, still conversing on your wall. It’s eerie like being the third person in a room when two people start talking about a mutual friend or just flat-out start sucking face. You want to excuse yourself but then you remember it’s your #%$@! room, leaving you with no opportunity to slink out Costanza-style.

The Facebook Break-Up
“It’s not official until it’s on Facebook,”
        -Every Friend About Every Relationship You’ve Ever Had

And the entertaining after-effect is that when your sordid love affair that was meant to last the ages comes crashing down like the Hindenburg all of your friends and possibly co-workers and family are instantly informed about it via a small broken heart in their news feed. There’s even a little box for them to post endearing and heartfelt comments about your failure as a significant other. Or you can be a real dick like me and wait for the “Cindy is single” news update and if Cindy is cute, go ahead and hit the like button on that bad boy. Never hurts to throw in your hat in the ring early and often. Rebound!

YouTube Pusher
This character performs a community service in every Facebook circle. By keeping everyone up to date on the latest auto tune, funny animal, people hurting themselves clips, this hero of the digital world improves morale in classrooms and workplaces around the world. Whereas the rest of Facebook is vain and self absorbed, this person only needs the acknowledgement that he shared it first. The new option to post something “Via” (basically reposting someone else’s post) has only furthered the drive to be the first in planting a flag in one the sacred YouTube gems in this digital wasteland.

The Bikini Rush
I’m curious if girls do this too (I assume they do) but whenever a guy meets a cute girl he’s interested in (or just bored), especially in a bar, he’ll be pulling up any swimsuit pictures in her Facebook photo arsenal within the first 15 minutes of meeting. He didn’t really need to use the bathroom, he’s hiding out in there trying to find the album from your last Cancun trip. Girls surely must know this, and some are excellent bikini picture hiders, because in every album they have one picture where they’re quite clearly posing. On another note, what’s with girls jumping in the air for beach pictures? We all know your coming back down despite the gravity-defying powers of your BFFdom. Although they did do it in Anchorman, so it gets a pass.

You can also replace comment with “quote” above. This girl will never say what’s wrong but will post something like, “Even though the road is tough, I know I’ll be strong if I persevere,” or “Some people are better left in the past.” When I read this melodramatic crap and usually want to ask, “Popcorn didn’t pop all the way?” Without further information (which they’ve already given too much) these people seem like whiners or at the very least, information teases. I want to know why your life sucks damnit! I mean I don’t really care, but it might be funny, and if you’re dumb enough to allude to it on Facebook, well…

The Gloater
The new car. The perfect boyfriend. The new beach condo. These people are on Facebook to remind us of how crappy our lives are and force us to look through their Jamaica photos while we slave away in cubicles. We don’t care, but we look, because we’re all accomplished sadists and nothing goes better with morning coffee than boo-birding some guy who can’t get over his new M6 he drove to Spring Break. Also, the “____ has the best boyfriend/girlfriend ever!” falls into this category. No one cares except the person you just referred to in third-person, maybe you should text them. Or just wait until you inevitably see them in the next 30 minutes.

The Shameless Self-Promoter
Present and accounted for. What’s the point of having 500 friends if you can’t coerce them into reading you blog once a week? Well aside from bikini pictures and videos of animals eating poop…

The Moment You Realize You Should Take A Serious Look At Your Security Settings
This usually happens about three months after college when you’re trying to find a job and have a massive amount of photos detailing the last four debauchery-filled years of your life. It also can happen when you realize the creepy guy in the back of class has been staring at you for the last hour and maybe all of your photos shouldn’t be public. Whenever it happens, it’s a very sobering moment when you realize just how much of your life is out in the public domain. Keep your settings airtight and make sure that Zuckerberg kid doesn’t start using your pictures in Enzyte ads.

What’s your weirdest Facebook moment? Facebook pet peeve? Let me know in the comments below then go get your stalk on.

~Hokum out.


  1. Facebook pet peeve: Pregnant ladies who post all sorts of gag-inducing facts about their little growing embryos. Nobody wants to see that stuff!!!!! (And if they do, they are probably related to you, so make a private album or group to keep them updated. Don't subject the rest of us.) If your response is "well, no one's making you look" I must point out that facebook pregnancy is kind of like a car accident: you have to look even though you really don't want to see what you're seeing.

  2. Vague-Emotional-Comment-Person (guys do it, too). Drives me nuts! Either say what's bothering you or move on - GTFOverIt.

  3. As The Last Person on Earth Not On Facebook, I find that whenever I reach the point of thinking, "Well, I guess I'll take the plunge," I read something like this, and I think, "No, I'm good."

  4. Aw crap, chances are good I could be the conservative ex-coworker.

    All of these idiots make me crazy and I'll add another, related to the pregnant-lady thing Elaine just referenced: The Guess What My Kid Just Did people. I have been guilty of posting about my kid a good bit but my gosh if all you ever post is "Suzie is so cute!" "Suzie just poo-pooed in the potty!" "Suzie likes spaghetti but doesn't like mac and cheese! Isn't that crazy!" then you are on my last nerve.

  5. Hil you can rest easy, I'm pretty sure it was Adam...