WHAT EXACTLY IS FACEBOOK?

It’s done almost involuntarily as I snap open my laptop, mindlessly enter my eight-digit password, and double-click the top left of the screen. I came to read the news or e-mail someone back, but somehow I’m staring at the unavoidable face of Facebook.

Ahh, Facebook. The famous news feed. The social network.

Today, tangential conversation at a work meeting led to a discussion about Facebook and, well, what it really is. And one co-worker had a simple answer: “It’s like a giant photo album.”

I’m not so sure, though. Instagram is a photo album, but for the artsy. Twitter is a water cooler, for everyone. But Facebook is both those things. What’s the point? To keep in touch with friends? To publicize your every move? To keep all your photos in one place?

I can’t put my finger on it, because it’s so many things: photos, statuses, likes, pages, games, chatting, stalking.

What I did decide, though, is that — more than anything else — it’s annoying. The temptation to delete my profile has never been great enough to elicit any action, yet any time I start scrolling, I’m almost immediately roll my eyes at most of what I see.

So, I’ve broken down what Facebook is — or what the site is made up of, I guess — into five simple categories:

  1.  The play-by-play: The paragraph featuring a detailed itinerary so everyone can not only know that you plan to wash your dog and eat an apple, but know in what order you intend to finish your chores. This can be meant to either elicit a pity party about your overflowing schedule (see: could this day get any busier? or soooo ready for a nap at the end of the status) or simply serve as a good-Samaritan gesture of making sure the general population isn’t deprived from the luxury of knowing such crucial information.
  2. The inside joke album: That album featuring 458 slightly different photos of all the same people, cleverly titled with something only they get, allowing the exclusively tagged V.I.P. to comment on each frame and reminisce about the unforgettable night they can barely remember. Such an album also tends to feature a classic array of photographs which include (but are not limited to): the group shot proving how many friends the uploader has, the candid shot proving proving how fun and free-spirited the uploader and his/her friends are, and the binge drinking shot proving how out of control and craaaaazy fun that night was (so what we get druuuunk, we’re young, wiiild and freeeee).
  3. The inspiration: The status featuring a vague but philosophical phrase that lets lucky readers ponder a) what life-changing moment the updater is going through that led to such a status and b) what the hell it even means. My personal favorites remind Facebook users (thank god, because they probably forgot) to live their lives, although impossible is nothing or a long quote about love or understanding aren’t far behind. (This is my favorite Facebook feature. I’ve complained about it before, and probably will do it again.)
  4. The heart: This one is the  biggest head-scratcher for me. Personally, I don’t understand the appeal of having your relationship ever show up as a part of someone’s news. If you’re getting married, I might let you slide. But for other couples, the omg you two are so cute comments on newly-formed relationship are a bit laughable because those same people (the ones you’re so close with that they found about your relationship via Facebook) will be the same ones to comment omg I’m so sorry : ( when the relationship plummets and crashes back on the news feed a few months later.
  5. The promotion: The one that I do all the time now. Yes, I had to point a finger right back at myself, because I shamelessly (okay, I’m actually a little ashamed) self-promote via social media all the time now. But, hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And click on my links! Please! Like me! Read me! I know you see my articles in your news feed! Why aren’t you clicking? They’re awesome, I swear!

Whew. Did I forget anything? Please tell me. Why do you have a Facebook? What do you use it for? What annoys you? Someone, anyone, explain to me what the social network is all about.

Until then, I’ll keep entertaining the idea of deleting my profile — and keep spamming everyone’s news feed until I actually pull the trigger.

Source: Walee via Likecool

9 responses to “WHAT EXACTLY IS FACEBOOK?

  1. LMAO you should have filed this under humor! You’re right. I used to be the usless information chick. “Hey I brushed my teeth and breathed today.”

    Now I am the “Look how funny blog is, like my page Facebook page dedicated to me! I have 500 page views a day!” whore. I am sure some are tired of that. Seems to be working for me though. Who says narcissism is a bad thing? ;)

    Fantastic Post!

  2. It’s quite simple, really. Facebook rapes reality, rendering it irrelevant in order to reinforce the retrospect.

  3. Oh man! You would probably hate my Facebook page for the insightful post portion, hahaha. I don’t post much but when I do it’s normally insightful posts because I use them as inspiration for the students I work with. It also keeps me grounded at times and keeps me from being one of those “omg, life sucks so much” kind of people. I think those constant posts detailing about how their life sucks and how unhappy they are become really draining at times. This usually results in me blocking them from my news-feed.

    I guess because I’ve gotten older, I don’t feel a huge need to promote my life online anymore in terms of social networking. Every now and then I may post something about my life or something funny I noticed to share with my friends, but it’s RARE I post pictures anymore detailing my life. It literally takes coercion from my friends to get me to do so/post pictures from particular events, haha. I don’t know, I guess I’ve grown to realize half of the people on my friends list truthfully don’t care about my love-life, how happy I am, what I’m doing Friday night, etc. I’d rather have my real friends know what is going on in my life and genuinely comfort me than have 200 fake friends comment acting as if they feel sorry for me. It also just makes you look bad. Great post!

    • Thanks for your comment! And based on what you said, I actually don’t think I would hate your page — the inspirational posts only tend to bother me when they come from those uploading pictures of their every move, making peace signs at the camera and trying to apply those quotes to going out and partying with friends. I agree that I’d rather see something uplifting than people whining all the time. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. I find FB useful for a few things that have surprised me, and pleasantly. I write for a living and often find good ideas for stories, even sources for stories, among the people I know.

    I often share stuff others post, whether a thought-provoking image (Earth, Venus and the moon as seen from Mars). If it doesn’t make me laugh or think, meh. I use mine to promote some of my blog posts (maybe 50 percent of them, at most) and share fun/quirky details of my day — like today I made apple muffins and went to do a radio interview. Not a typical day for most people, necessarily.

    I loathe people who yammer on EVERY DAY about Jesus or politics or pets that will be killed if you don’t rush to a state 5,000 miles away and adopt them. Gah.

  5. I absolutely love this! I still am not sure what twitter’s point is. I mean, people I know would really get bothered if I tweeted every move I made and every thought in my head… Pleeeease spare me… my own blog is probably too much information!!! But FB has hit me upside the head full force. I remember when my daughter rolled her eyes when she saw I had “friends” lol…My fists love facebooked me a little over a year ago and kind of rocked my world… I am actually in the middle of a book loosely based on the whole experience.
    I love your blog! My mouth hurts from laughing!

  6. Excellent post – I can empathize completely! When I first signed on to Facebook, I thought that it held so much promise, but over the years it has become little more than a soapbox for many of my friends. One day, I decided to analyze my the posts of my FB friends, and placed them into 26 different categories. I then wrote a blog post similar to this one, called Facebook Characters. Here’s the link if you’re interested in reading it: http://bobyewchuk.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/facebook-characters/

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