Facebook isn’t a social network. It’s an anti-social network. Next time you’re on Facebook, take a look at yourself. Are you physically interacting with other people? No, you’re not. You’re sitting by yourself, typing messages into a keyboard or a phone. You’re not talking, you’re not looking at anyone. You’re rejecting actual, personal interaction with any other human being in your presence, in favor of a one-dimensional, impersonal form of communication. That’s not social. That’s the very definition of anti-social.
I’m abandoning Facebook. Or rather, my engagement in Facebook. Like most people, I spend some time scrolling through my FB page each day, waiting for anything truly interesting or useful to show up. It never does. It’s all shallow, self-indulgent, existential fragments of nothingness. And then I’m angry that I’ve wasted another half hour, with nothing to show for it but disappointment and guilt over losing time that could have spent doing something more productive, like, say, scraping the gunk out from under my toenails.
Oh, I’ll maintain my music page purely for the self-promotion aspect. It’s an easy rallying point for my fan base, and a good way to keep them up to date on my show schedule, blog posts, CD releases and band news. But as far as hanging around on the computer, making small talk with a bunch of people I really don’t know, hell, I prefer to do that at the Mo Club after two or three pints of Kettle House beer.
Here are some of the reasons that Facebook sucks:
1. People posting phone pictures of what they are eating or drinking. Really? This is why Al Gore invented the internet? So I can see a plate of fish tacos you’re having for lunch? You are severely overestimating your friends’ interest in your dietary choices.
2. People with no kids posting cute pictures of their dogs or cats.
3. People with kids posting pictures of their kids.
4. People bitterly complaining about where they live, yet they continue to live there. Look, you probably are unhappy there because you have no one to complain to. That’s why you spew your vitriol to your Facebook friends, and we’re all sick of hearing it. Grow a pair and move somewhere else.
5. The daily newspaper posting their front page stories on Facebook. If you already get the paper, it’s redundant. If you get all your news from Facebook, on the other hand, you don’t deserve to know what’s going on.
6. Farmville, Mafia Wars, Frontierville, Jagoffburg—all these things tell me that you are too much of a loser to have a social life in meat space. Want to get instantly hidden from my news feed forever? Post something about the goat you just befriended in Farmville.
7. When someone posts a legitimate query seeking a service or some information, they are invariably bombarded with smartass comments. And zero information. Listen, if you can’t help the poster, don’t clog up the answers with anything that basically says, “look at me!”
8. People who don’t know the answer to a specific question, and can’t resist posting a statement saying that they don’t know the answer to the question. Look, bonehead, if you don’t know the answer, not posting anything will make that perfectly clear. It’s okay to occasionally have a thought and not express it on Facebook.
9. People posting about participating in cutting edge or extreme outdoor sports. It’s not sharing, it’s bragging to show people how cool and/or fit you are. If you’re really such an outdoors nut, why are you here, indoors, dicking around on Facebook?
10. People posting YouTube videos of pop hits from the 80s. Sorry, there was no timeless music made during that decade. Even Neil Young took ten years off. Musically, it’s the most vacuous decade since the harmonium craze of the 1890s.
11. People posting pictures of themselves in a crowd of sweaty, partying strangers. No matter where you are, it looks like hard evidence in a Cancun date rape case.
12. People telling everyone that they’re going to be offline for some reason. No one cares. I can wait a few days to tell you that I’m eating some Pad Thai.
13. People posting some gaffe or inconsequential blunder by the Obama administration, and gleefully insinuating that he should be removed from office. It provides a little rallying point for Tea Partiers and other ignorant sore losers. Hey, you let Bush happen, you hypocrites.
14. People posting what the weather is every morning. Dude, I have a device here that allows me to see through walls. It’s called a window. Get a life.
15. People complaining about how tired, hungry, sore, irritable, depressed, anxious, lonely, nervous, impatient, angry or bored they are. Get some sleep. Eat some food. Take a Paxil. Just quit whining about it.
16. People who complain about their job. Every day. The longer it goes on the more clear it becomes that they are probably unemployable and lucky to have a job at all.
17. People who quote lyrics from songs, with no context or explanation. Why don’t you just write it on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor, instead of making everybody wonder if you’re pregnant and/or suicidal?
18. People who post one- or two-word messages, obviously meant for a specific person. Send an IM instead of having all your FB friends scratching their heads and feeling left out.
19. People who send messages like “Someone just answered a question about you!” and when you click to see the answer, it’s not there. Just a commercial for another inane FB app that shares your private info with everybody.
20. Facebook quizzes about “If you were a __, what kind of __ would you be? Where do they come up with this shit? Old Newlywed Game reruns?
21. People who are the first to comment on their own posts.
22. People who whine about not getting comments on their posts.
23. People posting videos of kittens doing cute things. You should be permanently banned from the internet, and then tied up in a burlap bag and thrown into the river.
24. People describing what it’s like eating a certain food. Doesn’t it strike you as weird that part of enjoying said food involves running to your computer so you can type about it?
25. People posting notices about where they’re going, or where they just got home from. I’m not your mom. I don’t give a shit. (See Facebook Places below.)
26. People posting anything from their vacation spots. You’re on vacation. Why don’t you take a break from this vapid shit too? Cut the cord already! You’re only making me envious, but that’s probably your intent.
27. People who post frequent elegies to their defunct dog/cat/hampster. Look, it was a beloved pet, but it’s been dead for two years. Go out and make friends with a human or two.
28. People who describe, in great detail, some cute thing their kid did or said. Trust me, with kids, it’s definitely “you had to be there.” And even if I had been there, I still wouldn’t care.
29. People posting pictures of rainbows. Hey, I can see a rainbow by tilting a CD toward the light. We’ve all seen a rainbow. At this point, the only thing new or refreshing about a rainbow would be if Shawn White was riding a snowboard down one, or if you managed to get a photo of a leprechaun slobbering into his pot of gold at the end. Besides, even if you capture a pristine image at the peak of the rainbow’s luminosity with your $5,000 Nikon DS-3 and a polarized filter, I’ll still be viewing it on my $79 Wal-Mart monitor. Just stop.
30. People who change their profile picture ten times a week, and I have to get a post about it every time. Yes, I know I can change that in my settings or not click Most Recent news feeds. But here’s a suggestion for your next computer accessory purchase: a mirror.
31. People who continually post photos of their significant other, accompanied by gushing proclamations of undying love and/or some sappy poetry. It’s creepy, it comes off as somewhat desperate, and it’s typical stalker behavior. Besides, if that’s how you feel, tell your partner, not the internet.
32. People who post URLs for a tweet or some cryptic link, with not even a word of explanation. That’s one way to guarantee that I’ll ignore your attempted communication. Give me a reason to go on this turd hunt, man.
33. People who ask you to sign Facebook petitions. These will have about as much effect on local government as the Facebook quiz, “Which Lymph Node Are You Most Like?”
34. People complaining about what season it is, and how they wish it was a different season. I would say move somewhere else, but I’m really thinking why don’t you just go ahead and kill yourself.
35. Writers for local periodicals overflowing with hyperbole about stories written by their coworkers for the same periodical. Can you link the story without the cheerleading?
36. People posting about how drunk they got last night. At some point in your life, you’ll understand that that’s not something you brag about. Or maybe you won’t. (I’m looking at you, middle-aged hungover guy at Burning Man with a rain stick in his bunghole.)
37. People posting inspirational quotes from writers who are smarter than they are.
38. People who use a photo of their kids or dogs as their profile picture. I’ve started several conversations on the street with strange kids or dogs because I thought they were one of my Facebook friends.
39. People who cannot spell or don’t take the time to proof their posts before they hit the share button. What are you, typing with boxing gloves on? And then there are the people who don’t take the time to learn the difference between “they’re” and “their.” They’re broadcasting their ignorance to the entire world. And maybe parts of space.
40. People posting what they’re watching on TV. You’re not watching TV. You’re posting about watching TV on your computer. Everyone who sees how sad that is, raise your hand.
41. People who work in the service industry constantly professing shock and indignation at how they’re undertipped and mistreated by customers. Hey, waiters and cashiers have been abused since the dawn of the Industrial Age. It’s a scientific fact that our species is largely populated with assholes. They don’t care that you just finished your first screenplay or won the Governor’s Cup when you were in high school. They just want their check so they can get home and pay the frickin’ babysitter. Get over yourself, or get a different job.
42. People posting about how sick they are, in excruciating, clinical detail. Why don’t you keep all that info and put it in an email to your doctor? Or call your mom—she’ll welcome it. The rest of us didn’t ask to be grossed out.
43. People who type in all caps. Really? After several years of everyone on the Web telling you it’s annoying? CUT IT OUT.
44. People mindlessly reposting anything they’re asked to repost without giving a single thought to checking it out first. The most frequent panic is that Facebook is going to start charging people for the privilege of spewing their every waking thought onto the internet. It’s not true yet, but when it happens, do you think it will improve the quality of the posts? No. It will improve the quality of some Facebook CEO douche bag’s bank account.
45. I don’t know what Bejeweled Blitz is, but it sounds more like the next manufactured Nickelodeon girl band than an online game a straight man would play.
46. One-dimensional friends. Every post from these people has to do with the same subject. It’s either all about running, all about being gay, all about rescuing ferrets, or some other monotonous facet in their lives. Don’t you have a support group or a chat room for that? I know you have more going on in your life. You do, don’t you?
47. Countdowns. “Five days till we leave!” “Eight days till my party!” You know what? Keep it to yourself unless you’re attempting a moon shot.
48. Latest scam: Instant Message from a friend. Says he’s “stranded in London,” got mugged last night, all credit cards and cash stolen. I already see it coming, he needs me to wire him some money. Come on, Facebook. Your online security is the digital version of a screen door hook and eye.
48b. And…here it is. An email request for $1450 from the poor soul stranded in London. Time to change the FB password. Again.
49. People bitching about their ex-spouses, posting photos of ultrasounds, close-ups of some gorey wound…Jesus, don’t self-respect and privacy mean anything anymore?
50. People complaining about the weather, but not doing anything about it.
Of course, only half the problem comes from the people who use Facebook. The other half is from Facebook itself:
1. Mouseover popups. It’s gotten out of hand. I feel like my computer screen has ADHD and can’t keep its mouth shut. I don’t need handfuls of information hurled at me at all times. It’s like being a Little Leaguer standing at the plate, and four coaches are yelling at you about how to hit the ball.
2. I don’t care who friended whom, who likes what, who just responded to this or that, or who got tagged in a photo. If they want me to know, I figure they’ll tell me. Example: I once sent a drunken, late night email to my entire contact list, with the message: “I like cheese.” I got several encouraging responses (including two invitations to rehab), but the best one was: “Cheese is good.”
3. Somehow I’m getting messages (usually invitations) from people not on my friend list. How’d they get past my Facebook firewall? They slip the doorman a fiver? Well, you wasted your money, dude. There’s not much chance I’ll be attending the “Moonlight Glitter Ballet Vegan Potluck Rain Dance in Regina, Saskatchewan” next Friday.
4. Spammers and scammers. Fake posts from friends about free iPads or Wal-Mart gift cards or a mountain of other shit I know they’d never touch with a ten-foot pole. Girls in the right hand column with great big giant boobs who want to “get with me.” Offers of a recording contract because I used the word “guitar” in my profile. Phony alerts. Fake IMs. Bullshit messages. Facebook-generated emails. I’ve seen ‘em all, and the wheat of Facebook just ain’t worth the chaff of spam.
5. Facebook never forgets anything. Ever. Your personal information is the gateway to your privacy and your protection. Your shit will be compromised; it’s just a matter of time. And you know what’s crazy? We give it up willingly.
6. “Heart” or “Like” apps that keep sending me messages saying stuff like, “I love my children! If you love your children, press ‘like’!” Then if I don’t press the stupid link that would take me to some silly app, I feel guilty about not loving my children. I mean, I like them okay.
7. Facebook changes its format every few months, just when we’ve all gotten used to the last change. I still can’t find how to unfriend somebody. They need a button that allows me to haul off and just unfriend the shit out of someone.
8. Constantly exhorting me to suggest friends to other friends, and to friend people I “may” know. It’s become a contest to see who can have the most friends, which is really what ruined MySpace. That, and the bloatware. MySpace takes forever to startup. I feel like, “Come on, man, I am in a hurry to start wasting my time!”
9. Reach Out: I love this one. Here’s some lonely bastard who doesn’t seem to be checking his Facebook page as compulsively as your dog checks his food bowl. Send him an update, or maybe a photo of that bottle of beer you’re about to drink.
10. “Top News” vs “Most Recent.” Who decides? They’re doing a terrible job of weighting the importance of posts. Recent “Top News”: “The air is smoky today.” Wow, thanks for that game-changer. No windows here in my laptop fortress.
11. Facebook Places. I know this has huge appeal to narcissistic Facebookers who want everyone to know not just what they’re thinking and experiencing at all times, but also where they are. But I have a hunch it’s going to be the tipping point, the single issue that will precipitate Facebook’s jumping of the shark. It’s not just the app itself, it’s the way Facebook forces you to wade into your settings to UNcheck it if you don’t want it. Nefarious, underhanded, sneaky and oily. Makes telemarketing look selling Girl Scout cookies.
Facebook gave the self-absorbed what they want, and that’s going to spell the end of another social media phenomenon. Starting with me.[Bookmark NewWest.net/BobWire and check back for more anti-social honky-tonk commentary.]