Facebook is, by all accounts, closing in on 1 billion users. That’s an awful lot of people maintaining a profile on the site, and telling their family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else who will listen, what’s going on in their lives. Social networking probably shouldn’t be used as a replacement for real conversations and relationships, but many people appear to be posting anything and everything to Facebook.
Much of what people post to Facebook is interesting and, as Ryan conclusively demonstrated in a recent article, often worthy of a response. On the other hand there are certain kinds of status update that are guaranteed to annoy at least one person on your friends list. Craig has already pinpointed five that annoy the hell out of him, and here are five more that keep cropping up in my feed.
We start with vaguebooking, a personal pet hate of mine that so many people are guilty of that it’s grown into something of a phenomenon. So much so that I deemed it worthy of its own article here on MakeUseOf a few months ago explaining what it is and why people do it. In a nutshell vaguebooking is posting a status update to Facebook that is intentionally vague in the hopes of eliciting a response.
This is annoying because people don’t generally want to work hard in a conversation. Vaguebooking means the reader has to ask the poster to elucidate, to clarify, to expound on whatever point they were trying (and failing) to make. If you have something to say on Facebook then say it. If not then stay well away. Vaguebooking is doing both; posting an inane comment without committing to it.
We have surely all posted a picture to Facebook by now. If you haven’t then you’re doing something wrong, as pictures are the lifeblood of Facebook, breaking up the endless walls of text. However, posting a photo of yourself is one thing, posting a random funny picture is another, and reposting someone else’s funny picture is another thing altogether.
OK, I admit I’ve done this on occasion. But it’s “on occasion” and only “on occasion.” Some people do this a little too much, and not just with funny pictures either but also inspirational quotes and motivational posters. Doing this occasionally is fun, filling up your timeline with it is tantamount to admitting you have no imagination and need to rely on other people’s to have anything worthy of posting.
The Internet has opened the world up an incredible amount. It’s now commonplace to have friends located all around the globe. The MakeUseOf writers are proof of this, being, as they are, located in all four corners of the world. And yet people treat Facebook like it’s a noticeboard hung in the window of their local store, with status updates that will only be of any interest to a handful of people.
Not only is this annoying for the 99 percent of friends who have no clue who, what, or where the poster is talking about, it suggests Facebook is he best place for this kind of notice. Which it clearly isn’t. If you have something to say to people in your local area feel free to use a megaphone to shout your message out of the window, but please don’t sully my news feed.
While it may be Mark Zuckerberg’s intention to help society become more open, some things are surely best said in private. Sadly some people seem to have forgotten this nugget of wisdom when it comes to social networking. I have lost count of the number of private messages I’ve seen sent in full view of other people.
Do people do this knowingly, not actually caring about the fact they’re airing grievances or talking about delicate matters in a public forum? Or is it an accidental slip of the mouse, or an ignorance of which messages are private and which messages are public? Either way it’s very annoying, and just a little embarrassing. Especially when you’re the subject of the private message.
Love, Love, Love
It’s never bad to tell someone you love them. But there are a couple of reasons why pronouncements of love on Facebook are annoying. It’s a given that you love your significant other, your kids, your parents, your closest friends, and your menagerie of animals. Which means it’s unnecessary to declare as much on Facebook. It’s as though saying it on Facebook adds weight to its meaning because other people are seeing it.
Why not turn to your partner and tell them you love them. Directly to their face. Surely that is preferable to posting it on Facebook for them and everyone else you know to see. As for the kids, if you’re showing affection for them via Facebook then it suggests a disconnect with the real world that could prove harmful in the longterm. And the animals are happy for as long as you’re feeding them. So please desist.
You’ll notice that I posted the example status updates just to myself. Because I don’t want to be one of the people subjecting my friends to this banality. Oh, and nothing actually happened, Captain Kirk is awesome, the dog is imaginary, I didn’t have a rash, and I don’t have either a wife, kids, or a goldfish.
We’d love to hear your views on any aspect of this subject. Do the five types of status update listed above annoy you as much as they annoy me? Have you yourself ever been guilty of posting any of them to your own Facebook wall? What’s your usual course of action when you encounter one of these annoying status updates? Please let us know in the comments section below.