Thursday, February 11, 2010

additional facebook observations

A few months ago I wrote about my impressions of facebook. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. In many ways, facebook is a fantastic way to keep tabs on what's going on. Someone's birthday, so and so had a baby, this one got engaged, new job, just signed the contract on a new house, posting graduation pics, etc. blah. - I think these are relatively important things that transpire during the course of ones life. I think events like this are newsworthy or at the very least, I understand why everyone else thinks they're important. But what has facebook become?

Lately my impressions have turned (most would say predictably) sour. It just seems that things have been really "dumbed down." It's a difficult dilemma. Freedom of speech is the right I treasure the most, by far. But incessantly posting the words "HA HA" or "LOL" - is that really speech? I think John Hancock would be spinning in his grave if he were abruptly exposed to the modern-day version of the first amendment he was willing to die for. Sarah Palin? Now she could probably handle it. I think she once scribbled LMAO on her palm when anticipating a question about how Obama is trying to reign in the national deficit.

I sifted through some recent updates and have managed to lump some of them into several sub-groupings. I have then assigned a numerical ranking to each type. This way you can scroll back through some of your previous updates and rate yourself accordingly.

a ranking of 10 is generally good - it means your update was interesting and inspired
a ranking of 1 is not good - you have little creativity and are basically sheep.

As a general rule of thumb, wouldn't the status updates be more interesting if you were only allowed to post maybe once per day. There are far too many habitual status posting offenders. Is it narcissism? Is it sheer boredom? I do not know.
What about the copying and pasting fad? If you love God, know someone who has been impacted by a terminal illness, want others to reflect on human suffering from a natural disaster, on it goes. It's difficult to envision a world without people encouraging others to spread the word, or if you prefer, gospel. Kind of like a modern day chain letter.
Unless the content is original, I give you copy and pasters a 2.

Bustin' Out.
Soooo Drunk!

How about these impassioned two word/phrase updates? These strike me as very peculiar. If there ever was a way to tell the world - "I have virtually no utilitarian value. I crave attention but this is the absolute best I can do." Very annoying. I desperately want a bunch of people to respond - "What's wrong", "U okay","hang in there" But wait, the "PISSED OFF" comment was only meant for a dozen people, not all of my 874 friends.
You get the worst ranking - .3

People who always post the same crap. C'mon show some creativity. These tend to be people who are always caught in a rut - country/metal/rap or "Go team" sports related posts. I realize it's easy to wrap your entire identity and sole purpose for existence around musical acts and sports teams. We've all suffered from this - even yours truly. Here's a general rule of thumb - if you are attending the game/concert or plan on turning it into an event, I think it's ok to post. But if you just want to say "Go Steelers" - that's wading into the lameness of the kiddie pool. And yes - I'm talking fatso, hairy-backed pedophile at the public Wheeling Park pool on an overcast Tuesday morning.
Not a strong ranking - 1.

What about people that post song lyrics? I have mixed views on this and it gets a little biased. If you quote rap lyrics - this trends weak. Mostly teen white girls making a desperate plea for attention. "Big Pimpin in Bellaire" - this is not good. But if you were to write "Bel-Dirty Pimpin" - that's a little better. And may I make a suggestion. If you're heading to let's say the upcoming Megadeth concert: rather than writing "We're on our way to go see Megadeth" how about employing a lyric and a more subtle, cryptic message - "Farewell tonight, R.I.P. (Rust in Peace)."
So if it's pop country or rap lyrics, you get a 2.
If it's hippie or metal lyrics, you get a 4.
I suppose this is biased, but it is grounded in reality based on the intellectualism of the musical genre.

What about the people who feel compelled to raise controversial political topics? Stuff like - Global warming? Al Gore's an idiot! It's freezing out!
Here's my thoughts on this one. It's really a bad idea to broach anything political or religious on Facebook. Mostly because the format does not lend itself to informed discussion. One response can be a lengthy doctoral dissertation about the melting ice cap causing greater fluctuations in climate. Then, someone else chimes in with a winning one word rebuttal - FAG! It reminds me of the endless, mostly unsubstantiated back and forth in the online Wheeling newspaper. The anonymous nature of the forum just does not lend itself to anything inspiring or substantive.
As far as the religious stuff goes, these days I don't view it as controversial but trending worthless and nonsensical.
So political comments - you get a 1
Religious stuff - you don't get shit. Oh wait, you get into heaven. My bad.

Farmville, Mafia Wars, Pillow Fight, Serving imaginary drinks, Headless chicken got out of its cage...
I have mixed thoughts on this. First, let me be up front. I actively choose to be a NON-participant in all of these applications. I have NO interest in any of this whatsoever. But here's what I do find relevant. Seeing which friends of mine who get actively involved in a barn-raising and selling apple cider by the roadside. This could be a valuable tool in determining your relative degree of sanity. Now I get it - you're a claims adjuster for Progressive Insurance, live in a studio apt. on the Southside and drink Starbucks super-double choco-lattes for breakfast but are overwhelmed with the dream of being an Amish bearded recluse selling woodcarvings and rhubarb pies. This helps me better understand the tsunami of mental confusion you face on an hourly basis. Truly vexing. So it's safe to say that I do find relevance in the ubiquitous, pummeling cascade of diarrheal verbiage. May the fragrant odor of fictitious bacon permeate your kitchen. Just make sure my make believe wheat toast isn't smothered in margarine and covered with grape jelly.
Imaginary application addicts - I give you a 1. For the information you unknowingly supply others - I give you a 6. Believe it or not, it does possess extrinsic value. As for intrinsic value... lamentably, it has none.

I joined the "I love Arethra Franklin's hat" club.
I'm a fan of Michelle Obama's Fist Pump.
Does anyone out there who clicks on these "Give Blood, Save A Life" links ever check back and see how the cause is going? Sometimes, you'll see these profiles with over 200 links. This is a troubling phenomenon because I know that you're desperate to let people know, "Hey, this is what I'm all about. This stuff defines me. I never gave it a second thought until I saw the "Eating a Primanti Brother's sandwich in the Strip District after the Penguins game" club. Yeah, that's what I'm all about. Good for you. I will let others define my entire existence, then I will let them know about it whether they want it or not. Everyone needs to know that "I bleed back and gold, but not so much in the pre-season." I suppose a few links is alright. If you have over 100, you might want to reexamine your link-clicking compulsion tendencies.
Hardcore link clickers - I give you a 2.

...more to follow


Anonymous said...

Hey, now! Didn't you come up with a copy and paste about the credit cards? How do you rank yourself? I feel ashamed that I have taken part in some of the copy and paste phenomenon...*hangs head in shame*

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but the credit card idea was an original, so I get little more latitude.
D.B.V.- anyone who holds themselves to my exceedingly rigorous standards will have great difficulty enjoying themselves in the fun-filled internet world. Hell, I don't think anyone should be permitted to own a cellphone until they reach the age of 18. Even then, it should be a probationary period until you reach 21.

Anonymous said...

Saf-While it was you original idea, you encouraged us to copy and paste it! You turned us into sheep! DAMN YOU!!

While I don't have as strong of a belief system as you, I don't think kids should get a cell phone until they are driving and they can call if they are broke down/ going to be late. None of the texting bullshit, either.

I, myself, still don't own a cell phone and probably never will. If I ever need to use a phone, I will ask every other person, (who does own one)if I could use theirs!

My nap sucked, by the way...I kept getting woken up and now I feel more tired/fuzzy headed, than I did before I laid down.

Larry said...

My Facebook news feed is starting to look more like a propaganda machine than a social network. It's like pray for somebody, I hate the government, copy and paste something, I'm drunk, my kid is sick, and my personal peeve - "It's snowing. Ugh." I used to enjoy making fun of the news until one of my coworkers called me negative and deleted me. I guess they frown on that.

Anonymous said...