This week I found myself in the ridiculous position of arguing with my husband on someone else’s Facebook page about an issue that ordinarily I would have said didn’t matter much to either of us.
At first, I was surprised that Zac, a laid-back sort of guy, had such a strong opinion that he joined the conversation. Then I felt the inexplicable need to contradict him repeatedly for all the world to see.
Our differences are part of what makes us such a strong couple. Sometimes I think I engage him in a debate just for the heck of it.
However, there is no reason that this discussion had to take place on Facebook.
It’s not like I don’t have his cell phone number; I could have sent my thoughts to him in a text at any time.
Plus, we were going to be home together in a few hours. This would have made for interesting fodder at the dinner table. But Facebook? Not so much.
I am far from the first person to take leave of my senses while online.
A co-worker joked recently about how many “likes” she got for a post about a migraine that had her wishing her head would just fall off.
Some of the paper’s online obituaries also seem to get an inordinate amount of likes. None of us really knows why that feature is even available in that area of our website. I mean, who wants to see 24 thumbs up above the name of their deceased loved one?
My recent Facebook faux pas inspired me to reach out to others in my inner circle about their social media pet peeves.
The list is so long that I think we’re going to publish a book and all become millionaires. In the meantime, here is a sample of our advice.
• Cease with the selfies. These photos are taken by oneself of oneself, usually in a bathroom mirror. This kind of behavior is expected from teenage girls, whom we will mentor when their brains have sufficiently developed. However, taking more daily self-portraits than you have children cannot be condoned.
• Share sparingly. Every morning I wake up and have to scroll past no less than 50 inspirational photos, mostly shared by a small group of people and quite a few of them involving Tweety Bird. I can’t process that much positivity at dawn.
Others in my think tank also take exception to repetitive sharing of recipes, which I’m told belong on Pinterrest, and photos that make outrageous (and usually political) claims. Along those lines…
• Pause before you post. If it sounds more than a little crazy or involves weird remarks from a celebrity, assume that some folks with too much time on their hands made a bunch of stuff up to keep the pot stirring.
When it doubt, refer to Snopes. That’s how I learned that Bill Cosby is not “83 and tired” of lazy poor people, Muslims and drug addicts. Those widely-circulated remarks were actually made by a former Massachusetts state senator and caused Cosby to become quite upset after they were attributed to him.
“Share if you love Jesus” photos also fall into this category. No one’s personal salvation or blessings depend on a genie God with a Facebook account, and a couple of pastors on my page have gotten quite upset recently at the damage this notion is doing to the true Gospel.
• Respect the English language. It’s easier to decipher hieroglyphics than some people’s Facebook statuses. It doesn’t take that much longer to type “you’re” instead of “ur.” If you don’t know the difference between “you’re” and “your” or other commonly confused words, please look it up.
However, be confident in your literary prowess before degrading someone who is lacking. I know if you call me out for an innocent typo and make one or more egregious errors of your own in doing so, I’m coming after you big time.
• Finally, don’t confuse what it means to be a “friend.” I have a more restrictive definition of the term than most and used to only accept requests from people with whom I have a current or prior face-to-face relationship.
I have loosened up a little over the years and can now divide my friends list into a variety of categories, one of which is simply “convenience.”
However, I will admit that I do know the majority of faces who pop up in the “people you may know” section, and there is usually a very specific reason I will never reach out to them.
If we went through 12 years of school together without having an actual conversation, why do we need to be Facebook friends? I can wish you all the best without knowing intimate details about you and your family that I will never, ever meet.
This list is certainly not all-inclusive and is subject to the biases of those awesome few I call friends. Anyone who has additions or corrections for our book shouldn’t have a hard time finding us — we’re all on Facebook.