Tuesday, February 07, 2012

how to permanently alter facebook

We've all seen the routine facebook status updates.  It's almost always the same select group of people, every single day, posting mostly mundane shit...  Most of these people stick to the obvious.

Weather related - ooohhh, it's snowing!  Jack Frost is nipping at my nose.

Pain, fatigue, exhaustion - sooo tired.  Wishing I could just go back to sleep. 

Work related - if only my boss/co-workers had a clue about how to do their job

Sports - incessantly posting about your favorite team, accompanied with an abundance of real-time scoring updates, player injuries, these refs suck (I'm so pissed off), etc.

Vacation - the endless pics of a beach, the sunset and the obligatory fondue-driven dining experience.  We'll be staying at the Comfort Inn.  Everyone must know I'm out of town.  As I am the center of the universe, they'll likely be wondering "where's so and so?"

Children - anything kid related: visit from the tooth fairy, Toby used the big boy potty, first day of kindergarten, A+ on the math quiz

Relationship - the endless proclamations that you're totally in love with Shmoopie.  Ideally, it's a back and forth thread so we can all be assured the feelings are strong and mutual, and the enduring love will carry on unabated... til death do us part.

Quotes - song lyrics, authors... ohh, this line obtained from the copy and paste button will surely inspire the masses.

Funny stuff - endless youtube clips of the morbidly obese woman in the Wal-Mart lingerie aisle, toothless-drunk-ugly-mullet dude hitting on all the hotties at the bar, karaoke night - you're a Steubenville superstar!

Mystery update - "I can't take it anymore!  I've had ENOUGH!!!" - and of course (in less than 1 minute), this is followed by random wannabe douchebag friend immediately posting, "What's wrong, sweetie?" or "Everything will be alright." or "hugs."

Pregnancy & Birth - Congratulations!  I'm so happy for the two of yinz, little bundle of joy, etc.

Illness & Death -  pray for the sick, mourn for the dead

Religious - the curious need to loudly proclaim your faith in the unknown.  Everyone must know I'm a believer.  Encourage others to follow the godly path of that which they deem righteous.

The cause or purpose - I'm on a mission!  PLEASE copy and paste, I know most of you won't, but if just 10 do and pass it on... cancer will be cured, wars will end, global warming will cease, no more corruption in politics, etc.

Self-aggrandizement - the ego-driven... look at ME!  My new shoes, my new car, my new house, my new jewelry, my new boobs.  I bought this stuff.  In an ideal world, you will shower me with praise and adulation.
Event driven - Here we come!  Stuck in traffic, tailgating at the concert, here we go Steelers here we go,  Yeah, baby! OVERTIME!  I hear you. Trust me, I get it.   

Political - Obama is a Kenyan, Muslim, socialist-communist-fascist... and he's trying to destroy my life.  Throw all the bums out! 

Straight info - books, movies, exhibits, cds, save money on insurance, clip those coupons (25 cents of Hidden Valley Ranch).

Pets - Sprinkle Bits has a new friend.  Kitteh naming contests, Fido jumped up and snagged the pot roast  :(  So I guess it's gonna be Little Caesar's tonight! PIZZA PIZZA :)

I think this pretty much covers everything.  But here's the real question.  How can we fix this?  I've seen plenty of posts and blog entries from those who humorously mock these facebook posts and jokingly scrutinize the problem.  But how can we alter the status quo?  That's the real question.  Is it possible to steer the "scourge of facebook humanity" in a different direction?   Can we change everyone's predisposition toward posting the redundant and obvious?

Let us assume my facebook "position" is average or normal (I think it falls within the general mainstream).  It's all about the percentages.  What can you do to make the 15% feel vastly more self-conscious about their posts.  The purpose - to pressure them into a spell of self-anaylzation.  At which time they opt for the "trimmed-down" version of themselves.  This could conceivably cut excessive facebook traffic by 1/2 across the board.  I'm not joking.  It's all about establishing the precedent. 

Alright, first the facts.  It's all about percentages.  Last time I checked I've got about 300 facebook friends.  Out of these 300, I'd say about half of them post stuff from time to time.  And about 1/3 of those (roughly 50 friends) post constantly.  And it usually encompasses the aforementioned topics listed above.  Ironically, out of the 50, I never see about 30 of them.  I don't have their phone number.  I've never been in their home.  So I have the the fortunate distinction of being intimately acquainted with every facet of the lives of 20 people I barely know.  It's odd.  Even though we're technically "friends," we never see each other.   Not sure if this constitutes social progress, but it is what it is.  I call it "facebook fallout."  And from all the evidence, I don't see this trend magically going away anytime soon.  UNLESS...

Yep, that's right.  I can make all this shit go away.  BUT... it will require everyone in the world of facebook to follow my lead.  AND it will require absolute honesty when posting a status update.  Now I must admit, not many people perceive the world as I do.  A fewer number act as I do.  But if a sufficient number of people were to read this, perhaps we can change enough minds and get the ball rolling.  In order to do this, I will now provide concrete examples of common posts that I think would be preferable.  The gist of the theory... if more facebookers thought as I do and posted accordingly, the entire facebook platform would be severely transformed.  The commoner would login and become so repulsed, so agitated, so disturbed, so disgusted...  with such an onslaught of "alternative perspective," the facebook entity would be irreparably harmed.  And its domination over the social experience would be abruptly neutralized. 

As I stated earlier, here are some hypothetical facebook status updates.  All are grounded in the notion of 100% truthfulness.  Complete honesty is the key.

Relationship Statuses

Witness the Breast Buddies - the essence of true love.

Note the Mary Lou Retton-inspired hair style from the lady in the dominant, hovering position.  This should serve as a template for all future romantic announcements.  Veracity and accuracy are paramount.  Nothing else matters.  Envision yourself in the role of the photographer.  "We're trying to do accomplish something unthinkably erotic here.  Could you please engulf your lesbian-lover below with those spectacular 44 triple D's?  My vision is to create some kind of nippulatic symmetry.  If we can just get that titular, linear effect... we'll have established geometric consistency. And for the love of god, will you gals please smile?"  

All other relationship posts should follow the same guidelines.

Peggy Sue is married - she had 4 children by 3 different baby daddies.  Her only option was the creepy guy down the street with the 4-bedroom house who lived with his elderly mother.  After his mother's untimely passing, she patiently waited the obligatory 3 weeks.  Then, Peggy moved in for the kill.  Determined, she surprised Ivan with a Stouffer's frozen lasagna and they split a bottle White Zin.  A month later, following this surprise romance and whirlwind courtship, Peggy Sue got married.

Igor is single - What the hell is wrong with simply acknowledging the fact that there are some who cannot mentally or physically handle the prospect of a relationship of any sort?  If only Jerry Sandusky had subscribed to this tenet.   Although married, I imagine his wife is questioning some of her prior decisions.  My point - we should know the exact reason people are "single."  This way we'll get a better grasp on their situation.  Maybe they're too socially awkward.  Perhaps it's a potential foot odor problem (Frank Costanza).  Maybe he doesn't have a penis (California man who was drugged by his girlfriend and then she sliced off his dick and grounded it up in the garbage disposal).

Herman is engaged - Yep, I can't believe it.  I heard he snagged a mail-order bride from Uzbeki-beki-stan-stan.  He saved up his frequent flier miles and paid off the teenage girl's family with a bovine creature and assorted chicken dowry.  Tashkent > Amsterdam > London > Newark > Atlanta.  It was a long flight.  Just another 2 hour zip down the road and we'll be there.  Home sweet home - Valdosta, Georgia.  She'll fit right in.  

Prayer Requests

Alright, this is going to piss off about 85% of the worldwide population.  If you are going to ask for prayers on someone's behalf, you MUST provide tangible evidence that it will work.  Hoping for divine intervention is futile.  Must I remind everyone that god does not heal amputees.  Hey, it's not because the lord's a mean-spirited deity that doesn't like people with missing appendages.  It's because you're hoping for an outcome substantially less likely than winning the 300 million powerball jackpot.  Why is it that people only pray for cures regarding the things we can't see?  Well, it's because human beings like to fool themselves.  When we're scared, we like to play pretend.  I know this sounds hurtful.  Get over it.  It's just too painfully obvious.  

So here's the solution - let's say hypothetically you request a prayer from the general facebook population.  First, I think you need to be way more specific.  If you're going down that road, you should at least direct your concern to a biblical character that will answer the prayer.  "God" just sounds way too vague and even a little generic.  May I suggest one of these bible heroes...

And instead of praying to the invisible overseer with magical healing powers, one would be better served acknowledging the hospital staff, physician, nurses, etc.  Instead of just praying for someone with blood pressure issues, how about naming the specific pharmaceutical company, pill, FDA lobbyists, etc.

For example...  

Please say a prayer for my uncle Tim.  He was diagnosed with high blood pressure.

This is wholly unacceptable.   Here's what I'd prefer...

A physician diagnosed my uncle Tim w/ high blood pressure.  Would everyone please thank Dr. Hetfield for fitting him into his hectic schedule?  So glad he could slide him in following that 3-week Caribbean cruise with his mistress Tasha.  And mad props to his insurance carrier, Blue Cross-Blue Shield and all its relevant subsidiary corporate entities.  They are truly a caring intermediary.  And a special shout-out to the pharmaceutical conglomerate Bristol-Myers Squibb and its blood-thinning agent Coumadin.  And let me graciously praise Walmart for providing inexpensive low-salt frozen macaroni and cheese.  He loves those $1.12 boxes of congealed noodling.

And on it goes.  So if you're asking for help, just make sure to reference the REAL stuff, not the fake  stuff.  Take a reality check.  Better yet... I know this will buck conventional wisdom, but just don't pray.  Even though it's counter-intuitive to MC Hammer's words of wisdom in 1990 (You've got to pray, just to make it today).  As painful as this might sound, Hammer is/was mistaken.  

Taking Vacations

Everyone seems to want to share their vacationing experiences.  Most Ohio Valley veteran travelers choose 1 of 3 following locations.  Once again, I command thee - "thou shalt not lie."

1) Myrtle Beach - ahhh, the 10+ hour drive to get to paradise.  Be sure to document the worst part, the traffic in the DC area because you made the mistake of mistiming your departure.  Unfortunately, you screw this up on a regular basis.  And it adds an extra 1-2 hours to the trip.  How about posting some more of the downside - kids are screaming and fighting in the backseat, the numerous, empty threats to "turn this car around and head back home," or how about the excessive bathroom breaks because of grandpa's weak bladder.  Post some of these things, instead of the lighthearted pics of sand castles on the beach.

2) Las Vegas - What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  If that's the case, then why not just keep it there from the git-go.  If your experiences are so hedonistic (playing slot machines until you experience elbow tendonitis), maybe you should leave it up to our imagination.  Let me recreate.  First you'll need to document the airport check-in.  Ohhh look, Britney checked-in at Pittsburgh International.  Britney's so nervous about the flight - she'll need a Xanax and an exorbitantly-priced girly drink.  Britney won't be able to post anything to her facebook while in mid-air.  God-damnit.  Fortunately, she'll be there in 4 hours.  The instant she touches down, Britney must post that she made it there safe and sound.  Thank god. We were all in such a heightened level of suspense and anxiety.  Then, she must call her mom and tell her she's alright.  Britney then assures her, "I'll call you when we make it to the hotel."

All in all, she did well.  Take a nap - Britney will need to acclimate to the lengthy 3-hour time differential.  Maybe another post about "how crazy it is that you landed at the same time you took off" -  LOL indeed.  Now, you'll need more updates regarding the mammoth dinner buffet and the hustle and bustle of the Vegas strip.  Another post, "I wish I could stay here forever.  Greatest vacation of all time."  Unfortunately, you  blew all your money on that same local video gaming crap.  They're the identical gambling machines that you might see in the coffee shop/Lilly's gambling parlor.  Whatever is left was wisely spent on "I got Caesared in the Palace" t-shirts and "Golden Nugget" shot glasses.  All I ask is that you speak the truth.  Accountability is everything.

3) Jamaica - Ahh, the jewel of the Caribbean.  You saw all the sights.  Well, not really.  The second you made it to the hotel you were immediately informed of the risk of venturing outside the designated square mile.  You even had to sign a waiver.  So you're on your own.  Well, let's not venture out.  Better safe than sorry.  I'll try to forget that we spent $6,000 to stay trapped in a hotel.  I'll post pictures of a tropical, shaved ice beverage with a little umbrella in it.  This will convince all those poor souls back home that I am indeed, having the time of my life.  Well, aside from a bout with food poisoning and accompanying hotel room claustrophobia.  Once again, just be truthful.  Post the good AND the bad.

Braggadocio & Self-aggrandizement

Yep, this is what facebook thrives off of.  And it's always the same people.  I must post all of my shiny, brand new worldly possessions.  Everyone will feel jealous and inferior if I show off my new flat screen.  It's a 52" Samsung!  How did we survive the last 5 years with that crappy 46" Zenith.  Now the world will envy my viewing power.  They will respect me.

Once gain, just be honest.  It's imperative that you describe the purchasing process.  Turns out you "bought" the tv from a Rent-A-Center bordering the Benwood crack district.  The easy payments were too enticing.  So that's no money down and $19.99 for the next 6 years, 4 months.  And they gave me a 5% off coupon for brand new baby car-seat.  It's for a limited time-only at the adjoining K-Mart.  See where I'm coming from.

Better yet, how about those Steelers tix you paid out the ass for on Stubhub.  It's okay - after all, you needed to be in the club section.  $430 per ticket on the 40 yard line.  Yeah baby!  How about you explain that on your way into the stadium, you saw tons of middle-aged white men trying to dispose of the same tickets for $20 a piece.  Just be honest and document the whole experience.  That's all I ask.

Political Statements

If you decide to post anything of a political nature, specifically anything about a prominent candidate or leader, you must provide visual evidence of your voter ID card and proof that you have voted in the past 5 elections.  This is an absolute must.  Because the real truth is... birthers don't vote.  We all know this to be true.  Just speaketh the truth.  It will set you free.

Going to the gym & working out

I'll take plenty of heat on this one.  If you're a female who's posting about that arduous 5K race or that rigorous Zoombatic work-out (which bordered on an exorcism of demonic fat), you must perform some kind of check-in/weigh-in.  Every time you post that "good sweat, nice beads" (Elaine Benes routine), you have to accordingly post your exact weight, both in pounds and kilograms.  Providing real-time numbers will help keep everyone honest.

Sports updates

These ones really irk me.  Alright, I get it.  You're watching the game.  Well, guess what?  So the fuck am I.  Kind of condescending if you think about.  Ohh, I didn't know that was a touchdown or a blown call.  I'm too stupid to process what the announcers are saying.  Even though they just replayed the damn thing 7 times in slow-mo, I wasn't able to make an absolute determination that he fumbled the ball.  I required your expertise and ability to communicate the ref's call via a Droid from TJ's PukeGarden.  Thank you so much.  Now I understand.

Or wait a minute - playing in the world of fantasy football isn't sufficient.  Living vicariously through the lives of millionaire athletes just won't cut it.  Not good enough damn-it, not good enough (Jean-Luc Picard)!  I need to show the entire world that I had the ample wisdom to bench the injured Peyton Manning (who has been out of commission since the beginning of the season) and substitute God-boy Tim Tebow.  I am so smart.  S-M-R-T (Homer Simpson).

Any sports-related facebook updates should be accompanied by a detailed list of your own athletic failures.  Dropped an easy touchdown pass in the championship game.  Struck out in the bottom of the ninth.  Pissed yourself on that last lap.  The world should be able to validate your perspective and judge whether you're a knowledgeable purveyor in the sports realm.  You want to air your obvious, regurgitated statements... well then, provide some personal background info.


Alright... ENOUGH!  My whole point here is this.

If complete, verifiable honesty were to be the new norm when anyone posts anything, the facebook landscape would be markedly different.  There would be substantially less verbal diarrhea and mindless observations.  Now you must be asking the question,  "Hey Saf, what a brilliant, keen observation!  How do you suppose we'll achieve this instant societal transformation on facebook?

Well... I have an idea, but it's not pretty.  I need one of the most famous people on the planet who is both loved and respected (not a politician).  Tom Hanks always seems to come to mind.  But it must be a major celebrity who's actively considering committing suicide.  I want him/her to leave a detailed suicide note outlining why they chose to take their own life.  It would focus on their feelings of inadequacy after being continually deluged by the routine facebook crap I have outlined in this blog entry.  Here's the clincher... they must pointedly accuse facebook as the impetus for their spiraling level of despondency.   I assure you, this extreme measure is crucial.  And I would require this celebrity to fully read this blog entry and follow my advice (if they're truly suicidal, I don't think it's asking too much).  And that's the end-game.  Naturally, there would be a backlash against this "illusory, phony culture" of facebook.  Theoretically, this would lay the foundation for more subdued and truthful posts and status updates among the general populace.  Problem solved.

Just for the record, I doubt Tom Hanks is suicidal.  I just used him as an example because he's enormously popular, loved and respected across the board.   


Anonymous said...

I know I have no right even making this statement...but, I wouldn't think Tom Hanks would even be on the book of face??? He seems way to cool to be on it...that's just my opinion.

sonofsaf said...

Interesting point. Some celebrities and athletes embrace social media/twitter - they see it as a way to further promote themselves. However, you're probably right. The most prominent celebrities would likely shy away from it.

I stand by the general notion of the blog though. As distasteful as it may sound, if a major celebrity took his/her own life and blamed it all directly on this new, phony, self-absorbed" culture of facebook, people would have second thoughts about their online behavior.