Wednesday, 18 February 2015


I'm in trouble again. Like my teencat Watson, I'm always in trouble. I can't get a break. If I get too serious I get into trouble, and if I'm flippant I get into more trouble. I'm misunderstood (I'm channelling Watson again). So, instead of writing today about something deep and meaningful, I'm writing about Facebook. No effort required.

Yes, a blog post, posted on Facebook, about Facebook.

See, like many people I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It's my main hangout on social media, and for obvious reasons - most of those near and dear to me are there, so I keep up with everyone's lives. If I were to do this the old-fashioned way I'd never have time to do anything else, so it's very convenient.

Apparently almost 15% of the world use Facebook DAILY. Considering how people are distributed, and ages of non-users, that probably means that among adults who write in English, it's getting closer to half. In other words, if you know someone, there's an even chance they have an account, and a good chance they use it regularly. THAT is why it's important.

It has many problems. Bullying, stalking, porn, and so on. Then there's censorship, and the opposite, the "pushing" of some items over others. But if you pay attention, most of this can be avoided. It's down to the user.

What makes it such an interesting study of human behaviour, is the patterns of what regular people post. No matter how much of an individual you think you are, anything you post can be categorized.

No, it's OK, I've done all the work for you.

1. Sharing of "memes". I have to keep explaining this. A meme is actually any idea that travels from person to person. These neat little squares with a picture and a slogan, are just one way of doing this. But it is a convenient method, and I am not opposed to it in any way. I've created a few myself. When you hit "share" of anything you are transmitting a meme, but the more pithy, the better.

2. Surveys/quizzes, and results thereof. Some of these appear to be just share/like farming, because everyone gets the same results, but we just. Can't. Resist. Them, can we? Well, I can't. Even after I got a virus from one of them.....sheesh.

3. Cat photos and videos. And other cute animals. Some people get really upset about these. I watch for that carefully, I do. No, I do. I care. I take this seriously. If anyone gets really upset about cat photos I make sure to post another one.

4. Whining. This is actually one of the main uses of Facebook for some people. (Also: see 19)
You can usually spot a whine (as opposed to a genuine complaint) by the lack of attention it gets.

5. "Selfies". Including those hideous duck face ones. I do not understand the selfie craze. No, I don't think it's vanity (judging by some of the photos, anyway). I think it's just a weird obsession.

6. Funny observations of one's own life/family/surroundings/work. These are some of my favourites. Most of my friends are amusing people, and I get a lot of chuckles from this stuff.

7. RIP messages, including those for celebrities. Sounds reasonable, especially if it's somebody you were fond of, but what it means is that when a famous person dies you get told about it 60 times. Overkill. Also, comments that "it's sad" when this person was in their 90s are bloody weird.

8. Weather reports (and photos). These also annoy some people, but trust me, when you open the door to let the cat out and it's -30C out there, one feels the need to share.

9. What I had for dinner (and photos). This is so annoying to some people they write long, LONG rants ridiculing it. That was why I set up a foodie group where it's actually encouraged. See how good I am to you?

10. Politics and social issues. Believe it or not some folk object to this. Maybe they see too much or it gets them down or something. But actually this stuff matters. I stopped posting on American politics because it's completely insane.

11. Sports commentaries. Not quite sure of the purpose of that, but I don't follow sports, so I guess I wouldn't.

12. Thoughts about current TV broadcasts. Likewise.

13. Thoughts about video games. And again.

14. Prayers, and requests for prayers. I suppose it's a useful vehicle. That's all I'm saying.

15. Coffee. As I'm not personally a caffeine addict I find this repetitive and tedious, but whatever. I tried retaliating once by writing repeatedly about pizza and got ignored. Nobody understands my brand of sarcasm.

16. Lost dogs/found dogs. Very useful service. If you are local.

17. Birth announcements (and photos of newborns). Understandable.

18. Photos of kids being cute. Likewise.

19. Vaguebooking. This one CRACKS ME UP. You know the posts. They are totally meaningless but sort of allude to some drama in the writer's life. Like a teaser trailer. Here's my advice, if it's too personal to come right out with it, then SAY NOTHING. Otherwise it just looks attention-seeking.

20. Jokes. I like these. A lot.

21. Music videos. Some are good, some not so much, but quite often I just skip them for reasons of time and bandwidth.

22. Recipes. (See 9). As a person who enjoys cooking I am happy to see these but I wish people would realise that those posted by pages, especially diet pages, are just share/like farming. Think about it. I also wish people would learn that boxed cake mix isn't an ingredient.

23. What I made. And here I sometimes have to bite my tongue. My grandmother said if you can't say anything nice, say nothing. I really must remember that one (see 9) but when it's a craft, I really find it best to just shut up.

24. FUCKING GAME REQUESTS! I nix these as soon as I see them, so I don't see many these days, but one crept through today. Do I look like a person who plays Facebook games?

I daresay I've forgotten something here, can you think of any others?

1 comment: