Facebook is a useful little tool. We can be ourselves, but that good, sexy, photogenic version that only kind of exists. We can be who we want. We can peek through the cracks of everyone else’s sexy, photogenic version.
And like any collection of more than 800 million people, spanning from drunk frat boys, to awkward teenage girls, to your grandmother — there is a general code of conduct. One that has not yet been codified. I present, for your enjoyment and your sanity, the unofficial rules of Facebook.
Photo CC Amio Cajander on Flickr
Rule 1: No political arguments.
It’s natural to want to use your Facebook, that little space with your name and your pictures all over it, to reveal your innermost ideologies and controversial views on socialized medicine. I get that it feels like the appropriate place to stick this stuff, and it’s true on some level that if other people don’t like it, they don’t have to come to your page and look at it. If you want to make your wall a 24-hour live feed from Sean Hannity’s desk, or post endless loops of Keith Olbermann working himself into self-righteous man tears, by all means, do so. It’s your space.
But it must be understood that the people who are going to come and comment or sarcastically “like” your musings feel just as passionately about the subject. Nothing is more frustrating, more pointless, more clear a definition of “waste of time” than watching two people who vaguely knew each other in middle school yell about the tax code at the age of 25. And regardless of who wins (though no one ever will), we are all losers for having participated in any way. Things that are sure to get thrown out in any Facebook political argument, regardless of topic:
- We live in the richest country in the world and we let people die in the streets, how is that okay?!?!
- RON PAUL 2012
- Barack Obama is the worst president in history.
- Barack Obama is the best president in history!!!!1
- Yeah okay, you watch Fox News, I really don’t think you’re allowed an opinion.
- I pay so much in taxes you have no idea.
- The death penalty is an embarrassment to both democracy and civilization itself.
- U KILL US WE KILL U
Perhaps it’s just best to assume all your Facebook friends are complete idiots, and spare them this opportunity to confirm that suspicion.
Photo by Joselito Tagarao on Flickr
Rule 2: Facebook is not your sixth-grade diary; keep professions of love to a minimum.
I have fallen in love before; I am no stranger to the rush of hormones and the feeling that you could just die right here, right now, and everything would just be…okay. And yes, there have even been times when I was tempted to run over to my significant other’s Facebook and plaster it with declarations about how much better my life is now that they are in it, and how much of an empty, worthless sham it was before. Or, you know, just a bunch of those <33333 things. Either way, it’s a human impulse, loving something so hard and wanting to tell it. I get that. And by all means, spend hours on end every night whispering sweet nothings into each others’ ears. Tell each other how cute that freckle is, how you’ve never felt this way before, or how you’re so excited to meet their parents. Whatever. But don’t go saying all of these things in front of the whole wide world, where the normal, reserved people are obligated to do one of two things:
- Mask their jealousy and feel even worse about their own singledom
- Talk with mutual friends about what a hot mess that couple is that won’t stop dry humping each others’ walls
It’s uncomfortable and strange having to watch people talk about that kind of thing–especially when you have to see these people IRL later and pretend you’re not aware that they publicly refer to each other as “Baby Boogers.” Why do you want to put that on us, couples? Why? For your convenience, I’ve drafted up a few examples of things you should never say:
- “OMG baby im so glad i have access to your fb so easily. all i have to do is click that ‘in a relationship’ thing. it’s perfectttttt. <3″
- “I MISS YOU SO MUCH COME HOME RIGHT NOW I AM GOING TO SMOTHER YOU WITH KISSES WHILE WE WATCH BREAKING BAD <333″
- “[Insert Death Cab lyric here]“
I’m glad you guys are happy and all, but really, save some for your Xangas.
Photo by Chelsea Fagan
Rule 3: There is a limit to how much you are allowed to complain on your statuses.
It’s true that bad things happen to all of us, and sometimes it’s nice to get confirmation from those around us that things are not, in fact, that bad. And it’s so tempting to see that little empty box with the blinking cursor, ready for you to pour your heart out about how much you hate your boss. And every once in a while, when we’re dealing with some particularly redundant paperwork or watching our car get towed because we left it for FIVE FUCKING MINUTES I’M SORRY KING OBAMA I GUESS I WON’T GO TO THE POST OFFICE, it’s okay to tell us a little something about it.
But if Facebook, for you, serves as nothing more than the electronic equivalent of a bottle of wine and a long phone call with your mom, perhaps you need to just reconsider your life choices. We want to help, we really do, but there’s only so many times we can read you screaming about your soul-sucking commute before we just suggest you start taking the train. And if your nightly ritual is to write a detailed diatribe about your marital frustrations before you sit down for dinner, maybe you should Google “Divorce Lawyers.”
Signs you may be complaining too much:
- Your most used words are “fuck” “hate” and “worst-ever”
- It’s been a month and a half since you mentioned something remotely positive, and your wedding was three weeks ago
- You recently saw the most beautiful sunrise of your life, and chose to write “UP AT 5:30 LIKE A TOOL WTF IS MY LIFE”
- You quote My Chemical Romance…ever.
- There is not a single status that doesn’t end with FML
Chin up, Facebook abuser, things aren’t so bad. And…dare I use it? … :)
Photo by Chelsea Fagan
Rule 4: Use some discretion when it comes to posting photos.
Vacations are awesome, there’s no doubt about it! And I know that, speaking personally, when my friend goes away for a few weeks to some exotic location while I’m stuck in the daily grind, it’s nice to get a few shots of them laying on the beach or pointing at various wildlife. It’s a little vicarious moment of joy. But when I log on and see “So-and-so has added 524 new photos to the album ‘TAHITI!’” I let out a little sigh of disappointment.
Would it have been so hard to use the tiniest bit of discretion when taking pictures of things you passed or moments you lived? And, even if you somehow want nearly a thousand photos of every minor event in your life, is it really necessary to show those to every vague acquaintance you have online? Is it so hard to just say “Here’s me on the beach, here’s me making a funny face, here’s a big-ass fish, THE END”? Is that really so hard?
And even at home, many people consider the most minor of happenings to be worthy of a full-on photoshoot. Sitting in your room, twirling your hair? PHOTOBOOTH TIME. “Working” at a coffeeshop? Better get some shots of me sticking my tongue out. Riding in the car on the way to the drive-thru? Photo-op! No. No no no no. These things do not need to be documented, especially in such incredible, tedious detail. Things you should only have 60 photos of, maximum:
- Sitting on your bed, pouting in your pyjamas
- Waiting in line for the bathroom at the club with your BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
- Sitting in the back of cars
- What your new kitchen looks like
- Various things that you make for dinner
- This new skirt you bought that is THE DEFINITION OF ADORABLE
I love you, friends, I just don’t love you that much.
Rule 5: Your mom gave you a name, it’s beautiful, use it.
Nothing is worse than going on Facebook, seeing that someone you ostensibly know just had some minor activity, and suddenly racking your brain for who this mystery person might be. How am I friends with so many people I don’t know, you think. And it’s true, you don’t know these people–you know their real-life identities, not their incredibly lame Facebook alter egos. Your earthy hipster friend who is now “Lemongrass Tenenbaum,” your paranoid Anon friend who thinks Joe Biden is watching his ever move is now “Derpina Yuno,” someone’s middle name is now “PeacheznCream.” Didn’t this end with MySpace? Is this really how we continue to express our originality? With names like:
- Saleisha BootyButtz McLean
- Carol UDaFuckinBest Levy
- Cookiemonster Jones
- WutUTrynaProve Miller
- TheStarz RAMystery
- Anyone Equality Anyone
And if you insist on this change of name, may I humbly request that you put up a notice a few days before the transition:
“Hey everyone, I’m a huge tool and I’m gonna change my name to something completely retarded in a few days. You’re gonna have to come to my page to figure out who I am, because I’m really important. Luv ya!”
Top image: Annoying Facebook Girl