I’ve stopped “friending” people on Facebook. In my mind, anyway. Instead, whenever I receive such a request, I still answer in the affirmative, but my subconscious replaces the word “friend.” Thus, instead of seeing, “So-and-so wants to be your friend on Facebook,” I read, “So-and-so wants you to tolerate his or her bull!@#$ on Facebook.”
It’s a modest delusion thus far. Don’t worry – once it gets to, “So-and-so wants to provide you with his or her address and personal information so you can drive to his or her home and administer a savage beating,” I’ll seek some sort of help. I’ll have to – it’s hard to move a body by yourself.
Perhaps it can be attributed to my introversion, but many of the social aspects of social media baffle me. Baffle, in this case, is a polite way of saying “steadily erode my already dubious sanity and send me ever closer to a tri-state murderous rampage.” Thus, in the spirit of promoting the common good, and preventing an unseemly economic stimulus to local funeral homes, I’ve prepared a list of some of the more grievous social networking offenses. (And a flowchart, but we’ll get to that in a bit.) If you are actively engaged in any of them, I would advise you to stop. Or else.
1. McDonald’s Monarchy
Setting aside the fact that no one wants to know how often you really visit Taco Bell, save as a general guideline for when to avoid visiting without a gas mask, why would anyone want to be the “mayor” of Seven Eleven, McDonald’s, or any other convenience store/fast food chain? What are the responsibilities of said mayorship? Since one is not obligated to undergo the standard democratic election process, is it appropriate to assume the perks of totalitarian regime apply? Can you levy taxes? Does the job come with a standing army? Should someone else be decreed mayor via Foursquare, or the lady distributing swords down by the lake, can we expect a peaceful hand-off of power or a series of bloody coups? If so, my money is on whoever has the sword. Related to that, and just so we’re all on the same page, that…is…ketchup on my burger, right? I never knew it could splatter like that.
2. Family Planning
It’s eight in the morning on Saturday. You have a cup of coffee and nothing better to do, and so you settle in, fire up the ol’ laptop, and log onto your social network of choice. Sifting through the usual drivel, you take a sip of coffee and come across a contact who posted, “As of ten minutes ago, hubby and I are tryin’ for another baby ; – ).” It’s early, and so the statement doesn’t quite register. You take another sip of coffee, a bigger one than before since it’s cooler now, and lean back in your chair just as the first jolt of caffeine reaches your noodle. Next thing you know, you’ve sprayed coffee all over your screen, dumped more on your lap, and are rooting through the cleaning closet in a frantic quest for bleach to snort – bleach or anything that might possibly burn the memory of the words from your mind.
3. Menu Manics
Food is good. We get it. So please stop making reports to the general populace regarding your gastronomical exploits. Your former classmates, who barely cared about you to begin with, really do not care if you made a meatloaf or an unidentifiable Midwestern hotdish from scratch. There is good reason for this. Anyone can make a meatloaf or an unidentifiable Midwestern hot dish from scratch. Watch: Cut up some “stuff.” Put the “stuff” in something that won’t catch fire. Add cream of mushroom soup. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes or until some combination of a blow to the head, a vile smell, and the desperate pleas of your family persuade you to order a pizza instead. See? There is no need to broadcast your culinary shame to the rest of the world. And no, while we’re on the subject, don’t tweet that you’re ordering a pizza once you get that far. Two wrongs, plus the abomination masquerading as a hotdish, do not make a right – they make a strong case for intervention by the CDC.
4. Broadcast of the Banal
It ceases being a “news feed” when the news being fed is comprised of such steaming nuggets of wisdom as the following: “It’s raining!” “Doin’ laundry – first up…socks n’ undies!!” “Cleaning the bathroom – haven’t scrubbed the toilet in months!!! LOL!!!” “This ice cream is, like, totally COLD!!!!” “The sun rose in the EAST this morning!!!!!” “My cat is so smart!!!!!!” For the numerically challenged, there is, of course, a directly proportionate relationship between the level of mundanity and the number of exclamation points used to punctuate the statement. It’s as if the latter could somehow be used to compensate for the former. However, in fairness, perhaps some of these posts are justified. Those who provide weather reports may be aspiring meteorologists honing their skills. Those who report their cleaning habits may be trying to reassure their dwindling pool of friends of their hygiene. Everyone else, however, is engaged in the technological equivalent of screaming into the unending, lonely, black void of existence. A veteran of a few existential crises myself, I have no problem with this. Provided it’s done quietly. And away from a keyboard.
5. Apocalypse (Fifteen Minutes from) Now
Repost this if…fill in the blank: you like puppies; you hate centipedes; you think the next President of the United States should replace Air Force One and his motorcade with a Pegasus and a unicorn respectively. …Alright, I could get behind that last one. But for all the rest – no, I don’t think so. Yes, I understand that if I do not copy and paste your poorly punctuated statement, a statement that might have been penned by a drunken, three fingered monkey with a busted typewriter, I will somehow be standing in solidarity with kitten-eating terrorists the world over. But you know what, the kittens are gonna have to fend for themselves today because…well…I have a job. And a life. And a modicum of self-respect.
The bottom line, though we’ve admittedly been speaking of points far below it, is just because the medium is available doesn’t mean that you should use it. Now, I promised a flowchart. Never let it be said I fail to deliver. To that end, should anyone still feel the need to tweet or update their status with some dubious bit of content after reading this piece, please do us all the minimal kindness of performing the following pre-post logic check. Compliance is voluntary, provided I’m not on your friends list. In the event I am, it is imperative for your continued health and well-being.