Fixing Facebook: Five Ways Doing Nothing Could Be A Whole Lot Better
What has hundreds of friends, likes farming, plays Family Feud all day, and inadvertently stalks distant relatives? The answer, of course, is you, me and approximately 100 billion other homo-sapiens currently addicted to Facebook. We just can’t seem to get enough of it, and the social networking giant has become a big enough part of our lives that many of us simply couldn’t survive without our daily dose.
Or is that "daily doses"? Many of us, myself included, have become hopelessly addicted to Facebook and there doesn't seem to be a twelve-step in sight. With no easy way out and not nearly enough self-control to give it up entirely, it looks like we’re stuck with this for the long haul. So we may as well try to make it a little better, right?
Frankly, it’s my not-so-humble opinion that there are many facets of Facebook that could use a little fixin’. Thanks to my clinical internet addiction, I think I’m just the mouse potato for the job.
They "Like" Me! They Really "Like" Me!
Overuse and abuse of the “like” button seems to be as good a place as any to start. It’s probably the easiest way to communicate with someone on Facebook, so we’re all guilty of getting a little too overzealous. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to set a few ground rules.
First and foremost, you’ve really got to be careful with what you “like” on Facebook. Since it’s really the site’s equivalent of stopping by to say hi, people hand out “likes” like they’re going out of style, often without regard to what’s actually been posted in the status update.
It’s perfectly fine to “like” when someone posts “Got my promotion today! So happy!” However, it’s not cool to give a thumbs up to “Narrowly survived drive-by shooting. Might be time to pay off gambling debts." If you tell your friend you “like” that, you’re either not paying attention, or you have quickly risen through the ranks of the Bloods or Crips and are thusly quite comfortable with this situation.
There’s also an unseen ugly side to the “like” button. In most cases, whenever I show my appreciation for someone’s status, my email inbox gets spammed with everyone else’s comments. I can’t say it bothers me all that much, but it does make me feel a little like a stalker. Most of the comments don’t pertain to me in the slightest, so I feel like I’m invading the person’s privacy. All I wanted to do was give a “hey, what’s up?” to my friend and now I’m smack-dab in the middle of a conversation I was never a part of to begin with. There’s probably a way to stop this, but I’m much too lazy to try to find it. Maybe I will someday, but in the meantime I’ll just deal with the uncomfortable virtual eavesdropping.
Death to Smoochie
So you’ve got your new squeeze and you can’t wait to tell the entire world just how great he or she is. You want to shout out from the Facebook mountaintops about how happy your love-life has made you. You want to flood everyone’s homepage with all the cheery details of your amorous antics.
Well, don’t. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but no one likes these sickening status updates. Your “elationship” is irritating at best and no one on your friends list wants to read about it. You may as well walk into work with your significant other and make a baby on the copy machine. It’s disgusting, annoying, creepy and completely uncalled for, even in the seediest bowels of the internet.
And it‘s certainly not stopping. Take a random peek at your friends list right now and you’re bound to see more gag-worthy prose than a dump truck full of rejected Hallmark cards. It’s an epidemic of over-sharing that needs to go away pronto.
Let’s get something straight here, people. For those of us who have likely given up all hope of finding someone else in the near future, reading these little love notes feels like being castrated and disembowled at a Michael Buble concert. Keep your co-dependency and your copious copulating to yourself. There’s no reason to share some of this stuff, and there’s little to gain in making your friends throw up more than a seasick bulimic. We’re happy for you, we really are. That should be enough.
Must've Been Love...But It's Over Now
At the polar opposite end of the lovin’ spectrum is the daily domestic dispute. Love-life got you down? Husband/boyfriend can’t do the laundry or take out the trash? Wife/girlfriend couldn’t cook if she had a Vulcan mind-meld with Paula Deen? In a relationship? It’s complicated? Didn’t need to know any of that, but thanks for sharing.
Truly, Facebook has become the go-to place for divulging too much personal information, especially when it comes to things better left in our homes. In my estimation, the airing of grievances has gotten a little out of hand as peeps everywhere are turning private squabbles into public posts, airing out more dirty laundry than Pig Pen’s dry cleaners. My homepage often looks less like the fun diversion it should be and more like a transcript from Cops.
There’s no need for this. If your relationship status is bad enough that you feel the need to tell the whole world what a complete and utter douchebag your mate is, then it might be time to re-evaluate that situation…for the good of yourself and everyone on your friends list. Facebook is supposed to be about posting embarrassing pictures and taking quizzes on forgotten 1980s sitcoms. There’s no room for the drama, so spare us the bitching and moaning about your lovelife, and spare yourself a little embarrassment. It's really not that hard.
The Games People Play
Who could have had the first inklings of a thunk that Facebook, home of cyber socializing, would be such a boon to gaming, long a primary source for anti-social behavior? Well, it is. YoVille, Farmville, Fish World, Mafia Wars and a host of other time-wasters populate the pages of what has become the people place on the interwebs. They’re exceedingly popular, majorly addictive, and have gobbled up more hours of productivity than Google’s version of Pac-Man could have ever hoped.
The most popular game, by a wide margin, is Farmville. This game tasks the player with managing all aspects of farm life, from herding sheep to practicing Christian Fundamentalism. Players add Facebook friends as their neighbors and go about helping out on each other’s pretend farms.
Too bad those virtual slices of down-home Americana aren’t real. I would love to log-in and hear how so many of my friends got up at 4 a.m. and milked cows until they had enough dairy products to open up a Kraft factory. I want to hear how you got up with the roosters and went to bed with right-wing extremism. Tell me all about the barn-raising, calloused hands, plowing, sowing, watering and pig slopping you do each day. I bet it’s not all that fun.
Well, newsflash: neither is reading about any of it! I don’t care if you found a lonely sheep on your fantasy farm. I couldn’t care less if your bull jumped the fence and gored three of your “neighbors.” I don’t want to help harvest your crops, I don’t own a plow and I’m sure-as-shootin’ not going to your damn Kenny Chesney concert. Since when did all of my friends turn into freaking hillbillies?
One aspect of Farmville that actually has gotten a little better is the constant spamming. It used to be that you’d log-in to your homepage and find yourself inundated with neighbor requests. Thankfully, this has mostly gone by the wayside, but there’s still plenty of it in my notifications box. Listen, if I ever want to fantasize about shearing sheep and smelling like fertilizer, rest assured I will let you know. Until then, tend to your subsistence farming on your own page and leave mine blissfully bovine free.
Have We Met?
We’ve all gotten our fair share of mysterious friend requests in our time on Facebook. You know what I’m talking about. You’re minding your own business, adding captions to photos of last weekend’s booze bender, when all of a sudden you get a friend request from someone who looks like she fell off the cover of Maxim. She looks vaguely familiar, but you don’t recognize the name. Being the great person you are, you go ahead and add her to your friend portfolio. You wouldn’t want to be a jerk, now would you?
Well, listen up, Captain Horny Pants! That sultry, bikini babe ain’t your friend. She’s a little something computer geeks like to call SPYWARE. Congratulations! Your computer’s got more people watching you than Erin Andrews taking a bubble bath. Good luck repairing the $700 laptop after that one. You couldn’t fix that thing if Jesus showed up in the Geek Squad Beetle, and it’s all because you wanted to be Mr. Nice Guy.
Let me let you in on a little secret: the odds of an FHM beauty queen friend requesting you or me are slim and none. Heed my advice and deny the diva. She’s as real as 86% of Heidi Montag. You’re not gonna hurt her feelings.
There you have it, friends and readers. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little list of Facebook fixin’. Feel free and happy to leave me any and all comments. You can also offer up your own overhaul ideas. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some important business to tend to. These imaginary cows ain't gonna milk themselves
Posted July 8, 2010
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