(Originally aired on FlipCollective.com on August 24, 2012)
(Disclaimer: Every anecdote throughout this letter was pulled directly from my Facebook News Feed and in no way represents my views or opinions.)
Dear Everyone on Facebook,
Facebook has the potential to be an incredible networking tool. It offers opportunities for fundraising, for personal connections, for professional development. It allows for people to build communities; it could be the worldwide town square that humans have dreamed of since they plugged telephone cords into computers.
At the very least, it’s amazing for lurking on your ex.
But only one of these (lurkery), seems to be the reason most of you are on the ‘Book.
What some of you fail to realize is that Facebook is very much a public place. In general, if you wouldn’t do something in the grocery store, you probably shouldn’t do it on the Internet. It’s not the excessive pictures of your baby that you upload; it’s not even the 3,000 status updates with which you’ve gifted us in the past year alone. I’m actually fine with all of that. Your baby is kind of cute and, you know, I accepted your friend request, so I asked for you to tell me about your trip to the mall.
However, if you have any interest in keeping your 1,100 Facebook friends, please stop doing the following:
1. Abusing Facebook Applications
The only way I would accept an invitation to join you in playing Farmville, Slotomania, or Wild Fruit Safari Bubble Blast involves paralysis of every inch of my body except my index finger and a lifetime sentence to solitary confinement. Same goes for online affection via applications like, “Friend Hug.” Seriously, if you want a hug or you want to get destroyed in a game of Scrabble (over a bottle of whisky, mind you), pick up the phone and call me.
Or, if you’re just bored and don’t really want to wrap your loving arms around me or play games with me, feel free to play Fruit Ninja anonymously on your smarty phone. When you pop up in my news feed celebrating the 30 cats you just earned in Pet Shop Mania, I don’t care. In fact, nobody cares. Please stop doing this.
2. Molesting our eyes with smoochie pics of you and your significant other
I get it – you and boo are ride or die. But it doesn’t matter if it’s a sweet little peck on a cute little park bench in a public place, or a soft-core porno make-out complete with tongue flicking in the privacy of your ’94 Ford Probe – I don’t want to see it. You see, inpublic, this is the very thing I would look away from. Because it is a private moment meant to be shared between two people. An exception can be made for engagement and wedding pictures – I realize you were probably instructed by the photographer to do this, and what the hell, you only get engaged and married once, twice, or thrice, so live it up. Additionally, these pictures are usually taken from a reasonable distance, so neither the spit glistening at the corner of your mouth nor the blemish on the right side of your nose is visible.
I think it’s really special that you found someone who wants to swap spittle with you, but when you upload close-up photographic evidence of this, I feel as if I am being forced to watch my great aunt give her boyfriend an over-the-pantser at our most recent family reunion, and that makes me sad.
Stop making me sad.
3. Sharing of photos that aren’t really photos
Posting garbage like this:
Or like this:
Or like this:
…makes me want to rip out my eyeballs.
If you want to engage in relational aggression via stock pictures with custom captions aimed at that one friend of yours that you have beef with, get a Pinterest account. Then you can execute that passive aggressive conflict resolution style and plan your make believe wedding as well. Genius.
4. Putting your baby mama/daddy on blast for all of us to see
Do you not have a cell phone? Couldn’t you text all these frustrations to your BFF or maybe even the person in question? I’m pretty sure even Metro PCS has an unlimited texting plan.
Vague status updates such as, “People who truly love you accept you for who you are, don’t change who you are, change who your with!,” are only vague until the comment thread starts filling up with the juicy details of your latest micro-drama.
Also, did you miss all of elementary school? Because I seem to remember them touching on basic grammar and spelling. Perhaps you should revisit the School House Rock episode that focused on conjunctions.
It’s almost as if I am watching a less sophisticated version of Keeping Up With Kim & Khloe Eat More Krispy Kremes Than Anyone In Kalamazoo; I am voyeuristically peering into your personal drama as it unfolds on the screen. And it makes me feel so much better about myself.
On second thought, maybe don’t stop doing this.
5. Abusing photo-sharing privileges by posting horrible pictures of me, I mean, your friends, drunk at a bar/house party/park/sporting event/concert/holiday dinner/bris and/or baptism
If you are that person, the one that brings your digital camera to a bar to capture all of the evening’s “debauchery,” you’re probably the black sheep of your social group. You’re probably also the one that uploads those photos of your friends while they are still sleeping off the hangover the next day.
They roll out of bed around noon, urinate a substance that resembles movie-theater popcorn butter, make a piece of dry toast, chug a Gatorade and log in to Facebook, only to be confronted by a landmine of candid photos from the evening before. Any false assumption that they looked radiant last night as they totally killed it on the dance floor is destroyed when they see photographs that captured the truth: photos of sweaty, melting faces hugging randos, duckfacing by the jukebox, and peeing behind a lilac bush on the stumbly walk home.
You’re a dick and obviously didn’t get drunk enough the night before. If you want to spend your Saturday evenings/Sunday mornings arranging and publishing embarrassing photo shoots of drunk people, be a wedding photographer. You’ll even get paid to do it.
6. Posting dub-step remixes of that goddamn Gotye song.
Do I really need to explain this?
7. Utilizing the check-in application for any reason whatsoever
This is doo-doo. Nobody cares that you’ve just arrived at Costco, or at your pole-dancing fitness class, or at the tanning salon, and this sort of behavior – especially when it is coupled with “tags” of your six besties – only serves to highlight your insecurities as a human being.
Do you really need validation from your 724 online friends as you hop from bar to bar on a Saturday night? Not to mention you’re stepping on my feet and spilling my whisky ginger as you aimlessly wander with your face buried in your iPhone. It’s so cool you have friends and you’re out drinking with them, but if you don’t knock this crap off, you won’t for much longer.
8. Racism, sexism, homophobia, or just general douchey ignorance
Way to remind all of us that you are an educated, critically-thinking, positively-contributing member of society. Bravo. If you have a well-informed political opinion that you’d like to share with us, be my guest. (To be clear, the above does not qualify as such.)
9. Posting self-portraits you took in the mirror of any bathroom whatsoever
You probably think this is OK because you at one time had a MySpace account, and back in ’02 it was considered an accepted form of self-indulgence. Times have changed, my friend.
Even if you use Instagram, you’re still a douche-kabob.
10. Using Facebook as a platform to complain about how awful/stressful/dramatic/unbearably boring your life is:
This is the online equivalent of leaving a fiery sack of shit on all of your friends’ and families’ doorsteps. Unless you are asking for assistance or advice, you’re only using us to sponge up your complaints. Your job is hard? At least you have one. Your head hurts? At least you have one.
And please, spare us the details of your latest visit to the dentist. We all live life. Sometimes it’s hard. And it’s not made any easier by your whining.
I realize that no one is perfect. And it’s true that I’m neither an expert nor above reproach; admittedly, my current profile picture was taken in the women’s restroom at the Bluebird Theater.
But I’m willing to be better. I just want the same out of you. The Internet is not a garbage can for your absolute worst behavior. Get it together.
Cyber Hugs and Kisses,