Confession: I’m a social media junkie. I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook, on blogs, on Pinterest, and some time on Twitter, though I tend to prefer to hash tag in person lately…. read this post about my Color Me Rad race weekend for the story on that…
I recently read an article on The Huffington Post that someone posted on their Facebook page. I find that normally, I find The Huffington Post to be rather interesting, and I usually share the opinions of whoever’s writing — at least to the point where I can close whatever I’ve read going “huh, interesting” if not “yeah! right!?” …. but not this time. This time, I read right to the bottom… a rarity for me… and grew increasingly annoyed the more I read. The article is called “7 ways to be Insufferable on Facebook.”
I have never considered myself to be insufferable before. Sure, I get that sometimes I do things or say things that can be obnoxious, or I post mundane, useless crap on the Internet — but I am not alone there.
Please allow me to rant my way through the 7 ways suggested by the author of this Huffington Post piece, if only to make myself feel better. I waited almost a week after reading it before I tried to blog this, for fear I’d rant uncontrollably and with no filter.
The article starts off with this supposed Facebook status that a friend sent to the author. While I agree that this status is definitely an over-share, I think the anger that follows is completely unjustified, and I’ll tell you why.
2012 was a biggg year for me. I left my amazing job at NBC to move back to Chicago. I started dating my angel, Jaime Holland. I started yoga (thanks Jake & Jonah). I wrote an album with Matthew. Wrote another album I’m proud of. I got to hang with Owen Wilson, and worked with Will Ferrell on an amazing project. Had a conversation about Barack Obama with David. Danced. Joined a kickball team. Won a couple awards. Helped my sister plan her summer trip. Swam a lot. Golfed a little. Cried more than you would think. Read The World According to Garp. Saw Apocolypse Now. Went to Miami for the NBA Finals. Drank the best orange juice I’ve ever had with Davey Welch. Tweeted. Went to amazing weddings in Upstate New York. Drank a ridiculous amount of milk. Learned how to make sand art. Saw a great light show. Saw the Angels and Lakers. Fell in love with Jawbone Up. Cooked with Jaime. Gardened with Jaime. Watched Homeland with Jaime. Wrestled with Jaime. Laughed for hours with Jaime. Fell in love with Jaime’s family. Worked on a play. Played World of Warcraft. Did some improv. Played a ton of the guitar. Really just had a wild, amazing year. What a world.
My biggest issue with this entire post is this… and I’ll come back to this over and over…
The point of Social Media is to share. And it being your account, and your life, you get to be the author and decider of what gets shared, when, and how much of it. In my opinion (and I realize fully that it probably isn’t shared by everyone), having to filter your own thoughts and posts based on some standard of Facebook (or whatever other site) for fear of being judged by the etiquette police is absurd.
And I quote: A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it.
I’m sorry… MY updates about MY life need to do something positive for everyone who reads it ever, or it’s annoying? If I have anyone in my friend lists on any social media platform who feels this way, feel free to delete me and thus end our social media friendship. I am friends with those I’m friends with on these sites because somewhere along the way, we crossed paths and felt we needed to continue crossing paths in the future.
The author goes on to harp about how all annoying posts consist of one or more of the following five traits: Image Crafting, Narcissism, Attention Craving, Jealousy Inducing, or Loneliness.
Insufferable Post # 1 — The Brag
Apparently, if something great has happened in your life, and you share it in a Facebook status, you’re bragging, and are therefore Image Crafting and trying to induce jealousy in all of your followers.
I’m not sure about the author’s friend list, but I know mine consists of a few of the following types of people: friends I don’t see often anymore but still love to keep up with, grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, former colleagues I love, and current very close friends, all of whom are usually fairly interested with my posts about achievements. Likewise, when someone posts something like “Guess who just graduated!!!” I love to celebrate with them, because I care about them. Many of these people, I would otherwise have fallen completely out of touch with.
Included here was the Undercover Brag
Apparently they now give PhDs to frauds and drunks. What a time to be alive!
I’ll be traveling for the summer if anyone knows someone looking to sublease a Soho apartment in July and August.
On my walk home from work, I was whistled at twice, honked at twice, and one car almost caused an accident slowing down to stare at me. Sometimes I really hate men.
The second one got me…. because I understand 1 and 3… though I still think if they want to post those things, they being the authors of their own accounts, they have every right to do so…. The second one makes me angry, because I don’t think asking if anyone knows anyone looking to sublet an apartment is bragging. If I posted that without the “I’ll be traveling for the summer” part, I’d very quickly amass a pile of comments back on the post going “where are you going?!” Sometimes these social media sites can be the best networking resources, and then you may be able to say, avoid subletting to a total stranger because you posted on Kijiji or Craig’s List for fear of breaking a Facebook etiquette standard.
Insufferable Post # 2 – The Cryptic Cliffhanger
Description: A post that makes it clear that something good or bad is happening in your life without disclosing any details.
Reason for posting: Attention Craving.
I have nothing to say here, because, while guilty of this myself, I completely agree. I know I’ve never written one of those posts without fishing for responses to it.
Insufferable Post # 3 – The Literal Status Update
Description: An actual status update on someone’s mundane day.
GUILTY!!! And I’ve been called out on it. But here’s that point that I’m gonna keep going back to — my Facebook, my content. If I want to tell you that I ate a banana, I’m going to tell you that I ate a banana. I don’t care if you don’t care, because I’m sure at some point, you’ve posted something that I couldn’t have cared less about, and now we’re even.
Insufferable Post # 4 — Inexplicably Public Private post
I have nothing to say about this that I haven’t already said, though I agree that if it’s an inside joke or something to say to just one person, it can probably be done in a message.
Insufferable Post # 5 — The Out-of-Nowhere Oscar Acceptance Speech
Description: An outpouring of love for no clear reason and aimed at no one in particular
Example: I just want to say how thankful I am for all of you who have touched my life. Your support means everything and I couldn’t have gotten through a lot of things in the last year without you!
Core reasons for posting: Attention Craving
I refuse to believe that everyone who expresses something they’re truly thankful for is craving attention. REFUSE.
And this made my blood boil.
“And isn’t that a little needy of you? You’re not feeling loving when you write this post — you’re feeling the need to feel loved.”
I started to feel, at this point, like the author either needed a hug and never gets them, or needed to go have some rum, or something… whoever wrote this is seriously cynical and questioning of all motives… and I don’t think that I could function if I always saw these kinds of motives behind the actions of everyone I know. I think we MIGHT be reading too much into the Facebook statuses of others here… maybe.
Insufferable Post # 6 — The Incredibly Obvious Opinion
Examples of this included when a tragedy strikes, and you send out your thoughts and prayers, your thoughts on a war-like conflict, and feelings about the outcome of an election.
My blood boiled again when I read this author accusing those who post like this of being narcissistic and of crafting their images, mostly I think because his reasoning for this being insufferable is that you’re not saying anything remotely interesting or original on the topic.
…. who cares?
Insufferable Post # 7 — The Step Toward Enlightenment
Description: An unsolicited nugget of wisdom.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~Buddha
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
I don’t see what the big deal is about new years and people claiming how different they are going to be next year. If you want to better yourself it shouldn’t matter what day of the year it is… Me? Im going to be the same person I am today tomorrow.
Core reasons for posting: Image Crafting; Narcissism
Is it not possible that someone read something (a quote, a verse, a section of a book) or had a thought about life, found it interesting, and wanted to share? Isn’t that what this author was accusing us of NOT doing at the beginning? If the post isn’t of any value to the reader, we shouldn’t post it… but then if we post something that we truly believe will have value for some readers, we’re clearly crafting our image and being narcissistic.
I think what kills me about this post is the self centeredness of it all. What the author is saying, or at least, so it sounds to me… in this entire article is “if I can’t be gratified in some way by what you say or post, you shouldn’t say or post it. Your Facebook account isn’t about you, it’s about me.”
In conclusion: I simply refuse to filter and censor my Facebook posts because someone else may not find what I said relevant or interesting. Many of the things listed in here… I’ve done them. And I don’t care. Because I’m the one who logs into my Facebook account, and I’m the one who decides what goes on there. The neat thing about some of Facbeook’s recent changes, is that I can also choose whose posts I get to see. I mentioned above that I have many close friends and relatives as Facebook contacts, and I enjoy being able to keep up with them and they enjoy reading my stuff as well. There are also several people in my friend list that I don’t really know that well, and their posts aren’t usually very relevant to me — well you know what? You can now go into the settings for each individual friend and decide whether you even see their stuff in your newsfeed or not. There could be a handful of friends on your account that are there only in spirit, essentially — you’re associated on Facebook for whatever reason, but you’ve stopped receiving what they were posting in your news feed because it was annoying.
There are ways to hide and filter out things and people you don’t want to see. If you’re not doing it, you have no right to complain about things others post, because you could easily hide it if it bugs you. You also have no right to complain because it isn’t your feed. If you don’t like it, get rid of it. Especially if it’s stuff on my feeds. If you have THIS big of an issue with something I’ve posted, feel free to hide some or all of what I post, or… if you’re this picky, feel free to delete me. We probably don’t get along that well anyway, because you clearly don’t understand my adoration of all things social media.