I have a big list of chores to do around the house today, so, naturally, I’m binge reading this awesome website I recently rediscovered. A quick look at the past article list left about 15 tabs open in my browser. I started with this one yesterday, but only got about halfway through it. I’ll try to finish it later, after I get a few things done. No, really.
At first blush, the article seems perfect for me, a complete self-hating Facebook addict. But even by the intro, I had some faint misgivings:
By the time I finished reading, I realized that my non-phone hand was clutching tightly to my forehead, forcefully scrunching my forehead skin together. I had the same facial expression I’d have on if someone made me watch a live event where people had their skin slowly peeled off.
It was everything bad about everything, all at once.
But instead of distancing myself from the horror, I soaked in it. I read it again and again, fascinated by how something could be so aggressively unappealing.
It made me think about what makes terrible Facebook behavior terrible, and why other Facebook behavior isn’t annoying at all. It comes down to a pretty simple rule:
A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it.
The central idea seems fine, but I feel that looking at the fine print might lead to some problems. And indeed, looking at what FB behavior is offensive to Tim, I wonder what kind of posts would pass muster for him. Looking at my FB posts in the last week, I see:
1. A butt-load of photos, all of which are obviously curated to
make you wish you were living my life share the things in my daily life which give me joy.
2. Funny conversations Jessica and I have with the kids.
3. A bunch of articles that I found interesting, occasionally with some brief introductory commentary.
Now, of these three, it seems like Tim would only approve of the last one. He claims that only the people who truly love me (defined by him as those folks which are somehow genetically linked to me) are interested in any of the news from our lives, and these people make up a tiny portion of our vast network of FB friends. Tim says that phones, letters, and email are the proper venue for life updates and personal photos. Now, since I am a consumer as well as a producer of FB content, I can say categorically that I disagree with him. Please, folks, continue to post baby pictures, status updates, brags and all. Further, I would argue that if the rather innocuous post that kicks off the article were to be written by one of my friends, I would read it with pleasure, and probably comment on one or two parts of it. That’s not to say that there isn’t a large bit of FB content that isn’t annoying and ill-advised, just that Tim appears to be painting with too broad a brush on this article. Which leads me to conclude that the thing Tim really finds annoying is FB. Now THAT’S something I can get on board with. I am, after all, an all or nothing type of person.
Now, Tim’s Venn diagram does offer us some hope:
There do appear to be a small number of posts which are both self-serving AND useful to the reader.
I would love to read that article.
Edit: I fear that I was not clear enough in this post. Everyone should immediately go to this website and read every article because its awesome, even though I have one niggling difference of opinion with this one article.