26

Should You Be Posting That On Facebook?

I haven’t been in too much of a rant-y mood in a while, and while there is way too much anger in the world, I just have to get this off my chest. Call it a cross between a rant and a Staying-In-And-Getting-Real night, even though I’ve actually only been home for only about an hour.

I’ve made several posts in the past about my pet peeve with social media.

But now, I think that it’s just gone too far.

Not that it had too much farther to go.

In my opinion, once you’re at a certain age or place in life, you shouldn’t be posting stupid stuff. I’m not talking about pictures of dogs with their heads stuck in lawn chairs, I’m talking about statements that demonize human beings, whether individual or an entire population. It used to be that only politicians did it; now everyone’s got their own soapbox and megaphone, and most of what they yell is complete and utter garbage. And most of the time, it’s not like they stand by any of it or believe in it or do anything to take action about it; they just want to attract attention to themselves. A “friend” of mine recently posted a photo of two people walking in a parade in Native American headdresses, with the caption, “name what’s wrong with this picture.” What wrong with the picture is that no one cares, and leave them alone to deal with anything themselves because it’s none of your business.

The worst part of it was that this person was another graduate student, just like me. Not trying to get too judgmental here, but when you’re an undergrad, or a kid, or are a professional parodist, you can get away with posting stuff like that. But if you have a reputation to uphold, or you want one, you just can’t post stuff like that on Facebook. I learned that the hard way. I posted a few things that raised some eyebrows among people I knew both online and in real life, and I faced a certain amount of consequences for being stupid. It wasn’t anything political, and some of what I wrote did reflect how I felt at the time, but in hindsight, it wasn’t something that needed to be shared. And even some times when I do write something that I don’t see a problem with, someone else might, and then it’s up to me to judge how I feel about it. Even if you don’t think anyone is going to read it, the person you least want to will probably end up seeing it.

I could post about how “inappropriate” post X is, but instead, I chose to “hide news feed” from those friends who post things that are ad hominem, ad feminem, antagonistic, hateful, or just plain stupid, while still remaining friends with them. Suddenly, I felt so much better. At this point, I’d rather see pictures of cute babies or animals.

Oh, and I got my 36,000th revolver map visitor today, from London.

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6

Let’s Face Facts, People

Not The Facts of Life, but the facts of The Face.

Yes, Facebook.

I feel like Facebook has been getting a lot of flak lately. Yes, there are things about it which are terrible and awful, like the games, and News Feed, but I think that people are approaching Facebook with a completely wrong attitude.

Facebook is, first and foremost, a social media website. I don’t know if people don’t understand that, but the point is that if you have a Facebook, there is something about your life that you want to be made public, because in theory, anyone can see your profile; even people with whom you’re not connected in any way. If you’re on Facebook, you’re going to be found.

Which brings me to my second point. Lately, the big trend has been changing your name on Facebook to a completely different one so “employers” or “bad people” or whomever can’t find you. Such a load of crap. I have a friend who recently got a “real job” so he changed his name on Facebook from Mike Johnson (names made up for this post) to Jeremiah Maxwell. Yet, in the url for the “Jeremiah Maxwell” profile, it still says http://www.facebook.com/mike.johnson.1234! Seriously, that’s just dumb. It only confuses your actual friends, and people will still find you. If you don’t want to be found, then just don’t have a Facebook account at all. It’s that simple.

Here’s a true story that happened to a friend of mine in college. We’ll call her Lauren.

It was 2005, right around the time when Facebook really took off, and it was a very different site. People had more personal information up, such as their dorm, so you could find out who lived near you, and your class schedule, so you could connect with people you went to class for notes and such. It was also only open to students back then, and students at other schools could not see your profile, so it felt a little safer. Anyway, Lauren and I met freshman year through her roommate Meg, who was a good friend of mine. I didn’t know Lauren that well, but what happened to her quickly gained attention not only from the school but from the mainstream media. Basically, Lauren was friended by an older student, we’ll call him Seth. She felt like she’d seen him around campus, or maybe he was a friend of a friend, so she didn’t really give it much thought.

Then, strange things started happening.

She kept running into Seth all the time; outside her dorm, in the store where she worked, walking outside the buildings where she had class. For a while, they didn’t talk, but she noticed him more and more frequently. Then, one day, as she got off the bus, he was at the stop and asked her what her favorite Pink Floyd album was, since she’d listed it on her profile. The next day, he was waiting outside her dorm and he told her that he liked the new dress she was wearing in her new profile picture. When she told him that she wasn’t interested in him, he said something like “I know where you work.” That kind of did it; she got off Facebook and all social media, despite it being too late, because he already knew where she would be 95% of the time since he knew her class schedule, dorm room, and workplace. She reported it to the police, and then basically had to change her life around: she moved into a different dorm, changed her classes, changed her work schedule and then quit altogether. Pretty soon after, she gained a modicum of fame for going public with her story and being smart enough to potentially stop an incident with someone older than her who she did not want anything to do with, led talks on nearby college campuses about her experience, spoke to the media, and became a huge advocate for the anti-social media movement.

She had a legit reason for leaving social media, and she did, cold turkey. She was inconvenienced by it, but she learned and grew from the experience and a lot of other college students did too. Now that Facebook is a much bigger thing, it’s potentially more dangerous, but if you’re that concerned about someone seeing your pictures or finding you, do what Lauren did. And if you’re not being stalked, consider yourself lucky.

And that’s why you shouldn’t complain about Facebook.

5

News Feed = Bad News

I’m pretty serious about this one.

Every time I scroll through my Facebook news feed, it’s garbage. Old garbage, new garbage, political garbage, garbage about racism.

It’s just plain bad news. Don’t do it.

I started writing this the other day but didn’t get around to finishing it.

Anyway, I keep getting sucked into this endless trap of suck. I mean, there are a few things that are worth keeping up with. One of my friends is going to give birth any day now, and is posting updates about contractions and such. Another friend posts a lot of cute kid pictures and funny stories, and I have a few more friends who get me with their witty one-liners or a funny meme or something. But if it’s a link to an article about something political, whether it’s race relations, the Presidential campaigns, Israel, gender discrimination – and now, the $20 bill changing to Harriet Tubman – I tend to not scroll past them as quickly as I know I should.

Yet, I still subject myself to it. I guess it’s important to me to know what’s going on with my friends, even if it is pictures of what they ate that morning or them checking into airports in exotic cities I’ll probably never get the chance to see. However, that doesn’t stop the Facebook feed, from becoming a dangerous place. Often times I’ve found myself practically agreeing with what a friend posts, even if it’s totally against my own belief system, because it’s well worded, or looks official, or something. And then I wander off and suddenly it’s two hours later.

Maybe I just need to get more positive friends.

13

As Told By Ginger and Other Things That Are Not Coming Back

Facebook informed me today that As Told By Ginger, probably one of the most true-to-life and thoughtful animated series of all time (or at least on Nickelodeon) was going to come back. With all the recent hype about Fuller House and the general nostalgia trend, I wanted to believe it. I hoped it was true.

Then, I learned that it was based on a post by a site called MoviePilot.com, which has been known to a) spread lies and b) steal content. If you really want to go to that site, you can, but it’s utter crap. If it were really coming back, Nickelodeon would say something about it (like they have about the Hey Arnold! reboot movie), and not release some crappy drawings on some site run by a third party.

So, despite the fact that Facebook’s news feed, though bearing questionable content (such as what color dress Eva Longoria wore to the Golden Globes, alongside a headline about the body of a missing teenager found in Nebraska) is usually correct, don’t get all your news from there. And don’t get your hopes up about As Told By Ginger returning either, because it is not happening.

And before another false hope crosses into your horizon, let me shoot down a few other things that are not coming back.

1. TRL. When was the last time regular MTV played music videos? Every so often this pops up, and no, it’s not happening.

2. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. There have been rumors of a reboot of this Christina Applegate-led classic getting a reboot with every teen star from Selena Gomez to Ashley Tisdale to Miley Cyrus, and though it could be fun as a 21st century adventure, not happening.

3. Rugrats. It ran for ten years, including specials, movies, and a spinoff series, All Grown Up. While I loved watching Tommy and crew, I can’t think of many more situations they could get into without reinventing it into something else. Unlike with Spongebob Squarepants (going on seventeen years!), the people behind Rugrats are happily counting their money, and when the public wants to see it again, they can go online, or maybe Nickelodeon will re-air it in syndication. A classic is a classic, and it shouldn’t be messed with.

4. Mrs. Doubtfire. There were rumors of a sequel for awhile, but along with other Robin Williams films, I think that’s off the table.

5. HairsprayEven though I love the old movie with a passion (and to some extent, the musical – the movie musical, meh), I wouldn’t bet on a Hairspray 2 anytime soon.

6. Murphy Brown. I heard a weird rumor one time that there was going to be some sort of Murphy Brown reboot, with someone like Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Jenna Elfman in the title role, but I think that once the ground’s been broken, you can’t call it virgin territory anymore. Plus, nobody can be Candice Bergen. Remember Rachel Blanchard as Cher in Clueless, the TV series? Thought so.

7. The Golden Girls. They tried it with Hot in Cleveland, and it shouldn’t be rebooted. Ever. It’s golden, hence the name.

8. The Cosby Show. I think it’s safe to say that this is forever dunzo, in any way shape or form.

9. Friends. Hopefully, it will be back eventually, but I feel like speculating on a return of friends is like asking your parents for a pet; the longer you ask, the more they’ll say “not now, Alexis, eat your chicken nuggets.”

10. Mean Girls. Other than the weird non-sequel sequel with that girl from Wizards of Waverly Place, I highly doubt it will come back. Every time there’s been talk of a reunion movie, either Tina Fey or Amy Poehler comes out with a new project. I think that we’ve moved on, and going back to revisit Cady Heron and Regina George just won’t work. They’ve already learned their lesson once, in a big way. It’s not going to happen, so stop trying to make it happen, Gretchen Weiners.

7

Dump

The other day I did something that I don’t normally do. Mostly because I don’t take the time to think about it, but I have my reasons.

I cut down my friends list on Facebook, unfriending people who I do not believe to have a place in my life any longer.

I have never been a vengeful person (okay, maybe just a little), nor an extremely private person, but after a conversation with Julie in the car on the way back from Wyoming last week, I decided that it was finally time. For the record, there is nothing on my Facebook that I wouldn’t mind anyone seeing, future employers included, and the way I see it, the Internet is basically like a bulletin board piled with advertisements and flyers; some might be concealed, but if you really wanted, you could read every one of them. And people out there knowing about me and my life doesn’t really scare me that much. If I don’t want someone to know something, it’s as simple as just not putting it out there.

I tend to keep friends around on Facebook once I make them, just because unless they post something really offensive, I have no reason to unfriend them. Whenever I do hover over the unfriend button, I get a small wave of guilt, as if I’m burning a bridge. What if I might need that person in the future? What if they become really famous and because I clicked a button, I can’t prove I know them? What if, what if, what if…and then I go and do something else.

But I made up my mind to do it, and see just how many of those 1,750 people are worth keeping a connection. After I scrolled through the obvious keepers, like family members and friends I still talk to with some degree of regularity, I came upon the people who I haven’t thought about for years, from high school, freshman year, summer camps. Delete. Some guy I had one class with freshman year, some girl I met at a Starbucks, a guy I never met but liked some of my pictures, a girl who now lives in South America and probably would not even recognize me if I walked past her in the street. Bye bye. A few names didn’t even ring a bell. Unfriend.

In the end, I didn’t think I’d made much of a dent, but my Friends list was down to around 1,630. In a matter of minutes, roughly 120 people disappeared from my life in a few key strokes. And to top it off, I probably couldn’t name more than ten of them if you asked me who they were and how I knew them. I don’t feel much different, but interestingly enough, it did make me think how many connections I actually cared about maintaining. So, maybe, I’ll go through it again sometime and pare down the list even more. A lot of my friends have less than half of the connections that I do, and they seem to be doing just fine for themselves.

Then there’s the question of deleting Facebook altogether, it being a source of drama, a time-waster, and just and overall life-sucker-upper. Julie said that the only real reasons she keeps hers active is so her mother could see family pictures and she can have an extra avenue to contact relatives in case of emergency. My reasons are pretty similar, although I also have the added weight of having lived in several states and countries, and wanting to keep tabs on friends from all over, especially those in Israel who I can’t text anytime I want, or if I ever want to visit them, only to find out that they moved or something.

Alternatively, I can look at “the dump” as a way to clear out space for new friends, like the influx of friend requests after a conference. It’s a thrill when you log in and have 10 new friend requests from people you’ve met who you actually care about and might have a chance of building an awesome new friendship with.

5

Staycation, All I Ever Wanted

So, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and came across a link to this story about Zilla van den Born, a 25-year-old from the Netherlands, and her fantastic five-week adventure through Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.

Except…she didn’t actually leave her apartment.

Well, a few times for photo opportunities, but in essence, she took a five-week staycation in her Amsterdam apartment, using the magic of Photoshop to tell her family, friends, and Facebook about her life-changing adventures in southeast Asia, with only her boyfriend in on it. Two days ago, she revealed that she’d been in town the whole time, and had used this as a sort of reverse-undercover mixed media project/social experiment to prove how social media impacts our lives, or in van den Born’s words, “…to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media – we create an ideal world online which reality can no longer meet (Victor).”

More commentary on this subject after I finish my schoolwork.

***

Works Cited

Jones, Will. “Dutch Girl Fakes a Trip to South East Asia.” Gapyear.com 9 September 2014. <http://www.gapyear.com/news/230749/dutch-girl-fakes-a-trip-to-se-asia&gt;.

Victor, Anucyia. “What a scam!” Travel News. The Daily Mail Online. 9 September 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2749306/What-scam-Student-boasts-friends-trekking-Asia-visiting-stunning-beaches-tasting-local-cuisine-meeting-Buddhist-monks-using-FAKE-photos-taken-home-town.html&gt;

1

I Had One More

Today, I came across this list of 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook.

It reminded me that about a year ago, I wrote this post and then this one a month later, on the exact same topic.

However, in that time span, people and their Facebook status updates have become no less annoying, in fact, quite the opposite. But just for kicks, I wanted to see how much this person’s list of 7 and my list of 8 align.

Mine were:

  1. The Facebook Guru
  2. The Prayer Warrior
  3. “My Life is Awesome”
  4. The Serial Liker
  5. The Social Commentator
  6. The Jehovah’s Gamer
  7. The Activist
  8. The False Sense of Intimacy Person.

Theirs:

  1. The Brag (and various forms thereof)
  2. The Cryptic Cliffhanger
  3. The Literal Status Update
  4. The Inexplicably Public-Private Message
  5. The Out-Of-Nowhere Oscar Acceptance Speech
  6. The Incredibly Obvious Opinion
  7. The Step Towards Enlightenment.

Okay, so we have a lot in common. My #1 is his #7, and my #2 is his #6. My #3 is his #1 and #5; just for the record, mine are in no particular order but I’d put that as the top annoyance any day. My #4-7 don’t really match up with any of his, but my #8 has elements in his #2, #3, and #4.

So, now that we agree on four out of his seven, there are three left. And honestly, I don’t really care about #2 and #3.

For The Cryptic Cliffhanger, if it’s someone I don’t care about, I just ignore it. If it’s someone whom I’ve seen recently or about whom I deeply care, I’ll comment, but usually I’ll text or call that person. I’ve actually done it a few times in the recent past, and it’s yielded good results; sometimes those people just want someone to care. The Literal Status Update? Not even on my radar screen. It’s like…good for you? And for The Inexplicably Public-Private Message, two thoughts. One: people do make mistakes like that, whatever. Two: if you have to check yourself and your Facebook friends in somewhere and brag about it, how much time are you really spending with them?

So there you have it, a complete comparison.

But mine came first and you have one less, one less, problem than me.