Facebook makes me want to throw up in my hands.
There are few things in the universe that I deem to be deserving of this disgust. Among them are mullets, romantic comedies, and the word “swaggy,” but none of the aforementioned items irks me as much as Facebook, which I’ve just recently joined. As a self-proclaimed Facebook Morrissey, I obviously have quite a few comments (most of them petulant and negative) to make about the social media giant.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely aware of the many positive aspects of Facebook. Since the day of its founding in 2004, it’s never been easier to stay in touch with old friends and family that live far away, and the site is a great way to share information about campaigns and ideas. For example, Huntley freshman Camille Paddock founded a Dare to be Different page, which fundraises to help kids that are bullied. Despite these altruistic possibilities, though, Facebook simply seems to spread a lot of superficiality.
The main issue I have with Facebook is the constant information overload. We want to share our lives with the people around us, and to demonstrate how fun, smart, healthy, cool, and popular we are. It seems to me that the site just enables the Narcissus within us to have a field day of frivolity. Here’s just a little glimpse into many of the fatal flaws of a Facebook feed:
Declarations of love
During the few times I’ve settled down on the couch for a bitter dose of Facebook ridiculousness, I’m usually so put off by endless pages of flowery birthday and anniversary posts that I just shut down my laptop. All age groups are guilty of this Facebook sin, too. I’ll see mothers pouring their hearts out on the screen every time their child’s birthday rolls around, lauding their beautiful daughter or handsome son for how they’ve matured into such a fine young man/woman over the past X amount of years.
Here’s a wild and crazy idea: why not step away from the computer desk, walk down the hallway, and give your heartfelt speech in person, or at least make a phone call if they’re far away?
Also, once that love has worn off, be wary of whom you unfriend. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., recently wrote an entire article for psychologytoday.com about how unfriending someone is comparable to estranging them, and is a form of passive-aggressive rejection.
Tagging me… 47 times
Since Facebook’s tagging feature was introduced in 2008, millions of people have tagged and been tagged in photos. Tagging can be a great mode of finding pictures of yourself without having to sift through the massive amounts of information and photos on other people’s pages, but with great tagging power comes great tagging responsibility.
I myself am a victim of being tagged in another person’s unflattering photo. Also, it’s great if you tagged me in that photo from your birthday, but you didn’t need to tag me in all 58 photos you took that day, including ones I’m not even in.
The same goes for advertising through Facebook. Companies can tag you in an advertising photo or video just to increase the chances of you seeing it. Now, this is fine if you’re an affiliate of the company (which “typically pays 50% to your partners on sales initiated by your social networking list,” according to Julie Spira from huffingtonpost.com) but if you’re just a plain old high school student, this is little more than a giant annoyance.
Posting your dinners and workouts
I don’t need to see that you ate a “perfectly balanced meal” of quinoa, grilled salmon, kale, and green tea. I also don’t need to see a selfie of you in a leotard headed out to jazzercise class or post-workout with sweat running down your face.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that you’re living healthy. I just don’t need to see every little facet of your incredibly fit and active lifestyle. Let me sit on the couch and eat my French silk ice cream in peace, and try using a website like myfitnesspal.com to record all of the calories in your Gwyneth Paltrow-esque green smoothies.
Posting too many selfies
It’s awesome that you posted a cute selfie of yourself chilling at home with your dog, but was it really necessary considering you just posted a different one 20 minutes ago? We currently live in an age of affirmation, where the number of likes a teen gets on one of their photos can determine their self-worth. Personally, I think this is sad.
“The danger exists in the possibility of a very public rejection. Negative feedback is there for all to see. Often it’s purposefully hurtful spiraling into cyber-bullying. The problem is the child asked for the feedback not having yet learned that not everyone will supportively respond. Even worse, they don’t recognize that peripheral opinions simply shouldn’t count,” said writer Carolyn Savage in an article for today.com. I couldn’t agree more about the delusion of the need for affirmation.
Also, just be careful what you post. The Derek Medina case clearly showed us the power that Facebook photos can have in a court of law after he murdered his wife and posted a shot of her dead body on the site. I think people also need to keep in mind the repercussions posting certain images on the web can have in their daily lives.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m still a member of Facebook when I can barely stomach the stupidity that confronts me there. Not only do I need it for newspaper networking, but frankly, it’s a great source of entertainment, and either way, Mark Zuckerburg is probably out there somewhere laughing at me as he rolls around in a pile of money.