Monday, 1 August 2011

The Facebook Check-in Generation

I am having so much fun I'm going to open up Facebook, locate where I am, check-in, take a photo, upload it, write a status telling you I'm here, carry on, then check back every few mintues to see if you approve.

- Me, last month

Alright, it's not 2007, we all know that Facebook is a 21st century soapbox for the boasting generation.

It's not news.

I hear you.


They never fucking check-in to Tesco, do they?

It's always the clubs. The members bars. Your Shoreditch Houses and your Kensington Roof Gardens. Always the music festivals. I AM AT GLASTONBURY! LOOK AT ME RAVE! Always the places where - and this is what baffles me - the emphasis is on having a jolly good, drunken old time with mates. You know, the 3D ones standing next to you at the bar, as opposed to the ones you haven't actually Liked, in every sense of the word, for 15 years.

I prefer it when people are consistent. Take Twitter, whose users let you know when they're about to do a good fart, never mind going somewhere cool. Or take my sister. Goes to the gym, hops on her spin bike, gets out her Blackberry and tells Facebook all about it. Toddles home, checks in at her house. Meets a mate down the pub, there she is again raising the online flagpole. You can follow her every movement (there's a bowel joke in here somewhere) throughout the day; a compulsion that irritates and baffles me in equal measure. But at least she doesn't discriminate. Come Saturday, she's nipping down Lidl for cut price popcorn before staying in to watch Jaws II with pride.

My real rage is reserved for the people that only let their many hundreds of online acquaintances know where they are if the music, atmosphere and people around them are so amazing, so absolutely all-consuming of their happy little senses, that they have to stop everything, get on Facebook, and tell everyone. Then - and I've seen it myself - insist on checking their phone every 30 seconds to see who likes it.

So next time you're somewhere incredible and get the urge to let all your old school friends know, just remember: when you check in on Facebook you don't even get to be the mayor.

Just a massive tool.


Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post. For the record: I have never in my life checked in on Facebook or Foursquare or any of those places. It's mostly because I feel uneasy about stating, online, where I am at a particular second but also because I just do not get the point. You're on facebook - that's where you are!

Anonymous said...

Surely it would be weird if they did "check-in" at the local Sainsburys (although some people do)? Checking in at, as you say, at Glastonbury or somewhere similar does, to me, seem more worthwhile...if indeed 'worthwhile' is the right epithet to attach to this activity.

I don't use location-based services like FB Places or Foursquare for pretty much the same reasons; why would I want someone to know *exactly* where I was at a particular moment?

But calling someone a massive tool because they choose to do it? No. Surely Facebook is all about random, indiscriminate experiences by virtual proxy, a virtual chit-chatter of "guess what I did at the weekend". 'Social networking' surely has no more closely-honed definition than just that - random gobbets of pictures, videos and updates.

Constructing the world in your image so it adheres to some sort of validated quality level ('only post checkins of everywhere you've been, even the boring bits or not at all') would surely apply to endless photos of sunsets, lobster-red people by unfamiliar pools and today's shoes with accompanying request for a thumbs-up or down opinion without which Facebook would cease to exist...and so would blogs.

Facebook took blogging and bolted on every conceivable bastardization. Then several hundred million people started blogging without realizing that's what they were doing.

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

Ok, here's the main issue I'm dealing with in this post:

If I am out with my friends having a bloody good time, they are what matters. I'm talking to them, I'm laughing with them, we're dancing, we're getting on with having a good time.

Facebook, my phone, usually Twitter as well are in the depths of my bag, untouched.

Afterwards, I might write a blog or update my Facebook saying BAM that was cool, here's some photos for your memories. But as far as sitting there on my phone while it's happening is concerned, I've seen too many mates claiming to be at [insert cool nightspot here], when in fact they spent the majority of the evening entirely distracted by their phones. To quote Tenderhooligan above: "You're on facebook - that's where you are!"

That is what annoys me.

Facebook can cease to exist if you ask me, because it's draining my generation of the ability to just bloody live in the moment without recording every second of it as it happens, just to get a nod of approval.

Boasting isn't a nice trait offline, why should it be any different online?

Rog said...

I do post modern ironic check-ins and everyone thinks I'm hilarious

Robbie said...

I'm starting to think no social network is safe from your rage.

(But I agree with your point on over use of phone at social gatherings)

P said...

I have to admit i check in (and only at fun places) but this still made me laugh.

I just tend to do it though if im bored at the bar myself waiting for a drink or if my mates have gone to the loo. I tend to go on FB at that point anyway just to feel busy.

I'll stop justifying myself now though as it IS stupid. :-)

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. I couldn't have said it better myself :)

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Well, what do you expect, my dove? It's an instrument whose primary function is self-aggrandizement. You can hardly be surprised or angry at people who go on and on about themselves endlessly. That's what it's for. Innit?

Ellie said...

Your sister sounds cool. I'm definitely not about checking in anywhere.

Breeza said...

I definitely agree. It's like Facebook is a popularity contest of who does the coolest thing. And you're spot on about looking to see if people approve/like what you're doing. It's just stupid. Sometimes I rue the day Facebook was invented.

London-Lass said...

I've often thought these types who do all this boasting (on and off-line) are really just suffering from a massive inferiority complex. All this yelling at everyone online about how cool they are is really to make up for the fact that they are actually teeny tiny scrotes, instead of, you know, just quietly watching, dancing or drinking, that us bigger, more confident and shiny-cheeked people do.

Don't waste your anger on them - these people just deserve your pity.

Melan said...

Ahhh I have such a love/hate for these check in's. But I think it's fun to check in with a joke?! I checked into Golder's Green to make my friends aware I was on the hunt for a Jewish billionaire... But I think that makes me lame AND desperate. (AND unsuccessful at said task) It just seems ODD that if you're having THAT much fun you would feel the need to "check in"... Surely the barage of "fun photos" that will be uploaded onto Facebook should be enough evidence that they had a rollicking good time!

tales from south of the river

Anonymous said...

I don't see why I should check in anywhere that isn't an airport or my place of work!

The only thing worse than people who check in at really cool and posh places, to show you HOW COOL they are, is the notification that someone has checked in 'at home'.

'At home' Where you live. Is anything more tragic than that?

Shame there isn't a 'and not a single fuck was given by me' button to click alongside 'Like', 'Share' or 'Comment'...

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

Rog - You absolute hero.

Robbie - I've yet to get going with Google+ yet...

P - Just remember this post next time you get the urge.

Cynical - *bows* why thank you.

Unbearable - Oh, I know. But just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, along comes Boast-Ins. Sorry, Check-ins.

Ellie - She takes it to an extreme.

Breeza - So do I. Usually before posting a load of holiday photos on there. Ho hum.

London lass - It's definitely an insecurity thing. The only thing they're after is a pat on the back.

Melan - I'm all for the joke / ironic check ins. Trust me, the next Mc Donalds I get is getting documented.

writerrunner - I long for a dislike button. Or a "get out more" button. *crosses fingers* One day.


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