Saturday, May 24, 2014

Old People Have Ruined Facebook

I decided that during my vacation I would take a minute and write a few non-running related posts that I have always wanted to take time to write about.

I missed the MySpace era.  I didn’t join Facebook until the late 2000’s, and I basically only joined it to have an efficient way to schedule and meet up with running friends.  It seems that every year more and more moms and dads and grandparents join Facebook.  In fact, kids don’t use Facebook much at all anymore.  

As a consequence, it has become one of the most stale, narcissistic, socially awkward and annoying cyber-locations ever. 

Yes, I realize at 42 I may technically be an “old person” in the eyes of many.  I also note that the fact that I even have a Blog makes me, to a degree, a narcissist.  Nonetheless, I’m going to take a minute to let you all know the dirty secret that many of your friends are irritated by your Facebook posts.  Your Fakebook posts.  You’re whining, unimaginative, lack of intellect and humor status updates that no one (and I’m actually including the people that “like” them) cares about.  Let me give you a few examples.
  1. Weather Posts.  NEWSFLASH!  If I have Facebook I have a computer or smartphone.  As such, IF I am unwilling or unable to experience the weather outside on my own, I already have a very advanced device to fill me in on it.  Every day it is below 20 it isn’t “COLD!!!!” and every day it is over 80 it isn’t “HOT!!!!!”  I know this snow or rain might have seemed substantial to you, but trust me, no matter what your alarmist mom or grandpa has said it isn’t.  Please don’t post about the weather. 
  2. Kids and Pets.  I love my dog.  I love my dog as much as anyone has ever loved anything, ever.  Nonetheless, I am mindful that everything he does isn’t cute.  You don’t care about most of the things he does.  I may post a good pic or a funny story now and then, but I am mindful that everyone doesn’t think everything my dog does is cute, funny or interesting.  I think the same applies to your children, dog, cat, ferret or the like.  I bet I would love them.  But I don’t need to be updated about everything they do on Facebook.  Every picture of them isn’t cute.  Everything they do isn’t FB worthy.  (But there will be an alternative described to you below).
  3. Throw Back Thursday.  Can we just end this?  Please?
  4. Talking to people that can’t hear you.  As a rule of thumb you should not post messages communicating with people that have no chance of reading your post.  This includes: sports teams, deceased family members, famous people that don’t follow you on Facebook, your infant or your pet.  I realize that some people feel better paying tribute to loved ones that are gone publicly, but it really creeps many of us out.  Think about it this way….if we were all at brunch together would you say it?  If not, consider deleting that post before you make it.
  5. Expressions to the person on the couch next to you.  Imagine you came to my house for dinner and in the middle of it I went on a long very personal rant about how much I love my wife.  Would you feel a little creeped out?  I would.  How about if I we had an argument and said mean things to each other in front of you?  Everyone loves that!  Instead of telling them how much you love them/hate them on the internet do something productive for your relationship and communicate with (only) them.  Another phenomenon I don’t get is the ‘routine daily life spouse post.’  “Looks like we’re watching survivor tonight…I’ll pick up a pizza.”  Really?  You should find a more private way to make your evening plans than on Facebook.
  6. Share if you Care.  Changing your FB picture or posting a picture of something related to a holiday doesn’t show you care about something.  In fact, very often when I see these posts I imagine that the person’s only contribution to the cause in question IS the FB post.  Instead of posting a picture of your mom and telling us how much you love her (even though she’s not on FB to appreciate it) how about going to her house and doing something for her?  Just because you posted a picture of a tragedy you have not become part of the solution.  And the fact that I don’t share it doesn’t mean I care any more or less than you do.  Save your abused animal shots, your inspirational memes.  Go out in the world and do something. 
  7. Politics.  I love news and politics.  Not on FB.  There’s no discourse.  There’s no fact checking, there’s no listening…only talking.  It’s not the time or place.  If you think your pro-life, pro-choice, anti-X and/or political rants have changed anyone’s minds you are delusional.
  8. Selfies.  By selfies I’m talking about both you and your food.  I’ve posted about ten food pictures in my life.  I’ve been interested in 0.  Let’s just agree not to do it anymore.  If you must take a selfie: 1) don’t hold up your phone in front of a mirror; 2) I don’t want to see the toilet behind you; and 3) PLEASE try to make it fun.
  9. Boring Posts.  Before you hit send ask yourself, would I be interested in this if someone else posted it?  Only a few of the details of your life are interesting to most of us, and only in a general way.  If you are exploring the great wall of China I might be attracted to your every move.  If it is laundry day I might not need status updates.  If you’re feeling sad I may care if you post about it once.  By the third time you lost me.  This category can save the others.  If I see a food, dog, weather, political, etc. post that is funny, interesting, thought provoking, etc. I actually appreciate it.  But for god’s sake if you’re going to be boring be boring at home, not on FB.
  10. There is hope for you.  Many people are unaware of the fact that FB allows you to make friends lists and post to those groups.  For instance, I have a group called “running” and a group called “non-running.”  I try to keep my running posts to my running friends.  I have seen people do this with Yoga, Children, Politics, Family, etc.  Here’s how it works:  1. Make a list of all of your friends that you already know LOVE [X] stamp collecting like you do.  Put those friends on a FB Friend List Called “Stamp Collecting.”  Then make two posts:
A.    “If you are seeing this post I have added you to a friends list called Stamp Collecting where I will make most of my stamp collecting posts.  If you do NOT want to see my posts about Stamp Collecting that’s OK, just “like” this post and I will remove you from the list and you will not see those posts.”
B.    “If you are seeing this post I have not added you to a friends list I have made for all my stamp collecting posts.  If you DO want to see my posts about Stamp Collecting that’s OK, just “like” this post and I will add you to the list and you will see those posts.”

Many people are unaware of this feature, which is a shame.  The other benefit to managing your friends lists is that you can just watch a particular group in your feed depending on what you are interested in.  For more help just search on FB re: Managing Friend’s Lists. 
I know this post might seem harsh and offensive to you.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of several of the above.  Hopefully it at least gave someone something to think about.

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