Every now and then, I like to get on my soap box and complain about Facebook etiquette. It’s been a little while; so I’m back with a new list of pet peeves. Some are retreads of previous complaints. Others are new. There’s certainly a chance I may alienate some of my own Facebook friends by merely posting this, but in my defense, I’ll say that this article is for their own good. Don’t be offended. Use it as a tool to grow. Constructive criticism is all it is!
After the jump, the top ten things you should stop doing on Facebook:
10. Farmville, Mafia Wars, or Any Other Game
Never mind that Famville and its ilk pose major security breaches for its users, the real problem with these games is that they flood everyone else’s Facebook feeds with useless information. Do I really need to know you just bought a bushel of corn from Shanice, the temp worker in your office? No, I don’t. Of course, over-use of Facebook apps is nothing new. We’ve been dealing with this sort of junk for years now. The annoyance lies in the users who simply refuse to adjust their settings and stop publishing their updates, or even worse, think we actually care enough to want to hear about Farmville (sorry, Farmville. I’m really hanging you out to dry). Now, I get it — there’s a lot of useless drivel on Facebook that no one wants to hear about, and I’m sure I certainly contribute my healthy share, but game updates really are the pits. Sure, I could hide app updates from my feed (and I do), but isn’t it kind of obnoxious to ask your hundreds of friends to adjust instead of you? Consider this high horse gotten upon!
9. Requesting Someone To Be Your Friend Without Making Your Photos Available
It’s a ballsy move to add someone as a friend you don’t know, but if you’re gonna do it, at least make your photos available. Why on earth would I ever add someone who only shares their profile picture — a profile picture which more often than not is something dumb like a wheat field or a ribbon or a hand drawn image of a sheep. Total waste of time.
8. Posting About Sadness
No one wants a downer. If you write “Another bad day” or “Work sucks” or “This is the worst day of my life,” I guarantee you that NO ONE actually cares. In fact, the only people that leave comments are doing so because they’re so nice that they feel obligated to take whatever bait you’re dangling. But even they, I assure you, don’t care. They’re just nice. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but even though Facebook is a place for sharing, no one wants to hear from a downer. So what do you do if you really are sad? Well, maybe rephrase into a joke. That pretty much works for any situation. People will empathize more with you if they feel they won’t be drawn into a web of depression and pity. Similarly:
Don’t bait. If you ran into a celebrity, don’t say “I just ran into a celebrity I never thought I’d run into.” Just say who the person is. Don’t write “Not the diagnosis I wanted.” Just say “I have herpes.” (Although, truthfully, no one wants to hear about medical maladies unless they are funny or phrased in a funny way. “I have herpes” = bad. “Lookout world! I gots me some herpes!” = funny and good, albeit still gross). The point is that being intentionally vague to attract comments is kind of lame, borderline pathetic, and always annoying.
6. Saying “Thanks For All The Birthday Wishes!” Prematurely
This really bothers me. I hate when I log in to Facebook for the first time at like noon, see that it’s someone’s birthday, and then before I can write “Happy Birthday!!” that person has already updated his or her status to “Thanks for all the birthday wishes!!” It’s too early! Wait until the end of the day (or the next day). It’s like getting up in the middle of a tribute dinner and thanking the room before half the speakers have reached the podium. Weird analogy, I know. Either way, leaving a birthday note after someone’s already thanked everyone for the birthday notes feels weird. Can’t describe it. Just trust me.
5. Liking Your Own Status
Seriously, there’s nothing douchier than liking your own status. Even if you have the bessssst status update with 100 comments attached, you just can’t like it. Sorry. Plus, it’s especially egregious when your status is this:
4. Writing Your Own Literary Quote
People, I implore you. Please don’t do this. There are many bright people in the world, but very few of us are actually articulate. That’s why no one should use Facebook as an opportunity to audition for Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. You’ll never look smart. You’ll always look dumb. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. And if people leave comments like “Beautifully stated” or “I love having you in my life!!” just remember that those people are probably a) related to you, b) trying to sleep with you, c) perhaps mentally challenged, or d) the types that write “Books? What are books? LOL” under the “Books” tab (another thing people should stop doing). It’s not to say that you can’t write something profound on Facebook — my friend Leah is a master of thoughtful status updates, for example. It’s more that when people try to sound profound AND erudite, then we have a problem. Even worse is when they sign their own name at the end of their bombastic status. Yes, that happens. Why anyone would want to take credit for their piece of turd status update is beyond me. It’s like they think it’s so brilliant that they wouldn’t want other Facebook users to confuse it for a gem by Mark Twain or Sir Winston Churchill. God Forbid. I hate to break it to everyone, but none of us are literary geniuses, and if we were, we probably wouldn’t be using Facebook to dole out our gifts.
2. Killing Banter
Imagine this: you’ve uploaded a mobile photo, and now you and your friends are thirty comments deep on some random tangent, cracking jokes and bantering away like there’s no tomorrow (as one often does). Then, out of nowhere comes a random interloper that no one really knows who posts a joke, a comment, or a question that totally DESTROYS the flow. It’s the worst. It’s like the cops came and busted up the party. I can’t tell you how many times good comment banter has been ground to a halt by some person suddenly asking “Hey Ben! Long time no speak! How are you??” Like… really? It’s called THE WALL. Or better yet, a private message! People need to be more cognizant of the banter on which they’re intruding. Don’t be a banter killer.
1. KIDDIE UPDATES
It’s a fact of life that many people my age now have children, which is totally fine and normal and wonderful (for them). But here’s the thing: not everyone cares about your kid as much as you do. Being a parent is a lovely, magnificent thing, but I can wholeheartedly say that We The People do not need to hear about every time your kid was late for the school bus or scored a goal in soccer or thought dirt was chocolate. There’s a girl I’m friends with (who shall go nameless), and her status updates are so insufferable, I had to hide them. They come from a good place, but man, I just can’t DEAL. [Update: she has since dropped me as a friend].
This is not to say you can’t post about your kids. Of course you can. Just be smart and funny about it. If you use the term “boo-boo,” then you are not being smart and funny. If you use the phrase “I need vodka,” you are moooore than welcome to continue. Don’t worry though — I’m not a total bastard. Milestones are acceptable too. But please remember that pouring milk for the first time is NOT a milestone. You may think it’s momentous, but I can promise you that all your friends are rolling their eyes behind your back.
So that’s it. Hopefully this was helpful, and if you got here from Facebook, be sure to pass the word along. People need to know!
What are your biggest Facebook pet peeves?