Tuesday, March 01, 2011

status updates, how do I hate thee? let me count the ways

“Message boards,” I emailed a friend recently, “are like the worst kind of crack, the kind that skips right over the fun, feeling-like-superman high and goes straight to back-alley addiction.”

Facebook isn’t quite that bad. There are times when the high is good, or at least it serves as the 21st century equivalent of a cigarette break at work. Then there are days like today, when two thirds of all status updates fill me with hate, annoyance or just a general lack of faith in the human race.

Here are some categories that I would advise people to avoid, except I won’t, because then where would I direct my hate?

1. The bragging while pretending not to post: “This Oscar totally tore a hole in my Marc Jacobs purse! Boo!” “So sick of people recruiting my baby to be in commercials.” “Anyone know of a good vegan restaurant in St. Tropez? Post soon, ‘cause I’m only here for three weeks.”

2. The uber-wholesome post: “Organic free-range zucchini from our garden—gonna taste great grilled with a smidge of cheese from our goat Prudy!” “Nothing caps a good long run like a nice long yoga class.”

3. The post that reminds us you have endless leisure time: “Slept till noon, lattes with Marjorie at the Alcove—where does the day go?” “Finally made it through all the Real Housewives on my DVR. Whew!” “Wondering whether it’s too soon to paint the kitchen again….”

4. The post that reminds us your job is VERY important and time-consuming: “So sorry to miss Jen’s wedding, but politics waits for no one.” “I envy all you peeps on unemployment!”

5. The globally shaming post: “150,000 people died in Swaziland JUST NOW.” “Every time you forget your reusable coffee mug, a penguin dies.” “Afghanistan. Nuff said.”

6. The post that mistakes fucking around online for activism: “Repost this picture of a Care Bear if you want to prevent child molestation!” “In 1994, a woman named Clarissa O’Malley died of a rare genetic disorder called Seybourne-Valdez Syndrome. 93% of people won’t repost this.”

7. The post that assumes some sort of FB rule about having to post every hour whether you have anything to say or not. “Subway meatball sandwich…mmm….” “Just did five push-ups.” “TGIF, y’all!”

8. The picture which prompts all your friends to remind you how good-looking you are (this is okay if you are not actually all that good-looking).

9. The post that’s not so much a post but a love note that should be shared in the privacy of one’s email inbox: “Jeremy is the sweetest! Breakfast in bed again?!” “OMG, check out this ROCK! I do, Brandon, I DO!”

10. The cryptic post that prompts confused, concerned comments: “Wondering why.” “Watching the sun hit my scars….” “Just got some great news I totally can’t share!”

11. The marketing post in a long thread of marketing posts: “Reading tonight at Book Soup at 7 p.m.!” “Just got a new shipment of goji berry tea. Visit my website to order.” “Vote for my video to win TNT’s Short Films About Bodily Functions contest!”

Now that I’ve pretty much alienated all 424 of my Facebook friends (that is, the ones who haven’t already hidden me because they got sick of me inviting them to my readings), I’m seeing a pattern here. I get angsty about any post that makes me feel mildly inadequate, which is every post, because lately I’m in the self-centered place that only a deep sense of inadequacy can bring about. So basically I’m accusing you of being all about you because it’s all about me.

So carry on. I’m dying to know what you had for lunch. And I kind of actually mean that.


MyOtherVolkwagen said...

WOW!! Great blog...And you know how i love a fine status update.

Cheryl said...

Your updates are gold. Don't change a thing.

CC said...

So true. MyOtherVolkwagen is my second-favorite FB friend poster, right after a hilarious ex-co-worker who's obsessed with communicable diseases. Neither of them break your rules, Cheryl. (I think I broke one last night, though. "Trapped in psychology paper-writing land, help!" First, who cares? Second, aren't you lucky to go back to school, you bragger.)

Unknown said...

Awesomeness verbalized. Especially since I have a friend and her husband who continually engage in number nine. "My wife is the hottest MILF ever in her skinny jeans and thigh high boots." Vomit in my mouth.

Peter Varvel said...

Ha ha ha, thank you! I thoroughly agree with all eleven points.
I used to laugh at lamebook.com, the re-posts of those that publicly incriminate themselves and others - but I quickly became discouraged by the limitless supply of society's dregs.

Cheryl said...

C.C.: Just wait till you read the "Check out my new short story and my friend's new food truck" post I have coming up. None of us should throw stones, but that doesn't stop me.

M: Yeah, how are you supposed to comment on a post like that? "You're right! I want to fuck your wife too!"

PV: Yes, eventually you get to a post that's all "U sToLE mArCuS from Me but i hAvE thE las laFF cuz now ima hAve hiz babY, bItch" and you just feel sad for the baby.

Claire said...

Just today I cringed a bit when I saw that (before reading your list) I'd broken #11 three times in a row.

So then I think I posted something about the weather to break it up. Sigh. I have very mixed feelings about FB. I'm sort of determined not to reveal anything particularly personal there because FB is forever changing their rules.

The kick is that it's all over my blog which isn't filtered at all, but no one I know reads it really even if they know about it. They're just not bloggers, they're out living their lives or some nonsense. ;)

Cheryl said...

Maybe I'm naive in thinking that Facebook isn't Big Brother (who am I kidding--it totally is), but I feel like as long as you're not posting your social security number as a status update or talking shit about your boss, you're probably okay.

jenny said...

Brilliant post! You hit on pretty much all of my pet peeves. I think your #10 ranks as my absolute top annoyance. I have several FB friends who routinely leave bullshit "When will this get better?" cryptic messages - it makes me crazy.

And #6 is WAY up on the list as well.

Another one I would add is when I get these "Janey Highschool answered a question about you!" messages, all of which require me to provide some 3rd party spammy application with access to all my personal info if I want to read their answer. Sorry, just not that interested to learn which Jersey Shore character Janey thinks I most resemble...

Gah. Facebook.

Cheryl said...

Ooh, I hate those spammy apps. But I am kind of curious which Jersey Shore character you most resemble.