Tuesday, 19 May 2009

PDEWYMO is thinking "save it for someone who cares"

Most Facebook statuses are absolute tripe. Little nuggets of implied meanings, subtle digs, outright boasting, inane, day to day information or D) all of the above, which serve no purpose other than to tickle the interest of the bone-idle masses.

How their authors yearn for a thumbs up, the "I like this" seal of approval, a heartfelt sympathetic comment or some words of agreement. A good status has an intriguing, interesting hook and results in instant gratification and reassurance from the online community. A better one has four or five comments from other people, possibly some in-jokes, banter or flirting; a public show of forged friendship and shared experiences.

Then there are the deluded ones. The permanently morose. You know the ones: always ambiguous, hinting at some larger disservice, always verging on bitchy - but they never allow themselves to really scratch the itch. More often than not, writing a subtly implied status is much more effective and guarantees more interest and responses than stating the facts. These ones are like a soap opera plot; they never give you the whole story, just little snapshots of a wider Who Dunnit.

They're deluded because the writers of such statuses, in the rare event that they garner any interest at all, believe that the "What's wrong?" or "What's happened?" from enquiring "Friends" actually has its roots in genuine care, not just a insatiable hunger for gossip. In fact their real friends are mostly absent, no longer around to listen at the end of a phone. The only interested ones are online, separated into links and lists. They're just distant donkey acquaintances, teased by a dangling carrot of ambiguity.

When it comes to getting your point across, having a moan, despairing at the state of the world and all those who litter it's grubby little pavements, there are much more effective ways to do it. Facebook is no substitute for picking up the phone and being able to rant to someone who really understands. In reality, 140 characters doesn't even scratch the surface of the things that really matter.

So whenever I log on (rarely more than briefly once a day any more) and catch a glimpse of a status that is wallowing in the muddied water of self pity and bitchiness - I don't feel anything but embarrassment on behalf of that person; the one with 200 friends and none of them available for a really good chat over a bottle of wine to get it all off their chest.


Robbie said...

I'm with you on this. I wish facebook would invent some filter so I could trash all the "oh woe is me!" stuff.

surviving myself said...

I like this.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Robbie - An "I hate this, bugger off" button, perhaps?

Surviving - Just think, if I invented a "thumbs up" link for blog posts, it would eradicate the need for commenting at all. :-D

Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

Couldn't agree more - I have never been a great fan of Facebook, and I loathe the commoditisation of "friends".

I think there's a rule of inverse popularity at play - the more Facebook friends you have the less likely you are to be popular in real life.

Blue soup said...

It's funny you should blog this, but there is one particular friend of mine on Facebook who is always clogging up my newsfeed with moaning status updates. Now, I am not perfect and my status updates tend to sit on the bizarre side of the line (my current being: "I can do headstands! Now, would you like to see that? Would you...? The...? Would you like to see that?" which is a quote from Green Wing) but I don't think I moan as much via FB as she does and her presence really irks me. It's so passive agressive. I just don't know why I don't delete her...

That said, I do love a lot of the FB updates that come through my feed. I seem to have a bunch of friends who are as random as they come and put the strangest, most intriguing things up. I frequently log off giggling.

Hails said...

I'm with Blue Soup - I am frequently entertained by some of my Facebook friends' status updates!

But yes, some do use it as a platform for woe-is-me attention seeking. I'm inclined to be the one who offers the sought-after "oh, poor you" comment, because I guess it can't be much fun to be that lonely, with no one to talk to. What can I say, I'm soft!

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

I've never done Facebook `properly'. I have, instead, this empty profile under a carefully thought out pseudonym which allows me to `have a nose' of other people's (public) profiles but not to actually become personally embroiled in the whole thing. Crafty, huh?

I am, therefore, not au fait with all this status updating malarky. But I can confirm via having a `good old nose' on the site today that an (ex) friend of mine from my college days (who always fancied herself rotten but actually looked very much like the snooker champion, Steve Davis) is now going out with someone who looks just like Alex `Hurricane' Higgins. Which has pleased me immensely.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Rage - I think there's definitely some truth in that...although if you use facebook wisely, it can help you out socially sometimes.

Blue - I agree totally, the "good status" I was on about are also the entertaining or informative ones, where you laugh and take the piss. Or when someone says they have a cold and you click "I like this" - facebook has it's moments :D

Hails - You're way too nice :) I'm a bit of a hard nut to crack in that sense, I think if it's important enough, my good friends know I'm there with an ear whenever I'm needed.

Kirsty said...

Haha this is so true, because often I catch myself doing exactly that. I am the master of the subtle message, mostly directed at people who would roll their eyes if they could decipher that that's what I'm doing.
I try to keep it light though, and funny and relevant to everyone. There's nothing worse than feeling like someone is trying to get you to say "What happened?"

All Mod Cons said...

I was toying with doing a similar post to this. Often I see status updates about some person backstabbing some other person, but no names a given. Just a "u now who ur", which bugs me even more because I have to read the line 2 or 3 times to decipher it, then I'm annoyed at myself for giving it more attention than it deserves.

I very rarely put any status messages up there. If I do, they're normally song lyrics or letting people know if I'm leaving the country to see a gig.

I may have to do this post after all...feeling a rant coming on!

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Facebook might not be a substitute for picking up the phone, but it’s less confrontational and more accessible. I think therein lies the problem. Speaking to a live voice might result in you being told that you need to get some backbone. Who wants to hear that when you’re “down.”

Anonymous said...

I choose to agree with Rage as I only have 14 Facebook friends, six of whom I am related to, and three of whose status updates I block because they're boring.

Just delete the whingers Jo?

- Homer

Ellie said...

Now you've got me checking out all my 'friends'' status updates.

Anonymous said...

Jo, is this your way of saying that your FB status updates are being ignored because they are not funny enough? ;)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Kirsty - Yeah, keeping it light and amusing is all good. Just steer clear of the pity status :D

All Mod Cons - Haha! I know about the "u knw who u r" messages. Like, Oh god, spit it out why don't you. My statuses mostly talk about pigs. As in proper pigs. I love them.

Unbearable - Yeah with some people that's definitely the case, but all of my proper good friends I'm fine with just calling up. That's what they're there for.

Homer - To be honest I'm hardly on it enough to bother blocking them, it's just something I observed from my facebook heavy days really. And from passive-aggresivenotes.com

Ellie - It's a rocky road.

Perp - Haha, I don't even attempt humour any more, just blunt statements about how I would only ever really love facebook if it donated me a real pig.

Brennig said...

I use Tweedeck for Twitter, which I've configured to recieve (and occasionally send) from/to Facebook. Sometimes I release to Facebook some of my tweets, just because of the drivel that comes back via FB.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Yeah I've been wondering what the facebook check box is all about. Not sure I want to it all to the linked up though to be honest.

Time traveller said...

I have to admit, I have been known to use status updates to boast about my running :)

I have a particular friend who grieves publicly through the medium of FB status updates, his other half has been gone for 4 years now, I feel bad for him but it feels so fake to reply to him on FB.


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