• ‘Like’ this column
    April 21,2014
     

    Whenever I get down, I find comfort in knowing I have a lot of friends. This isn’t my imagination; Facebook tells me so.

    I have been on Facebook for several years and, for the most part, find it to be a convenient way to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances. Back in the old days, I used to have to buy a newspaper and read the police report or the obituaries to get updates on the status of my friends. Of course, there was also the occasional opportunity to meet face-to-face and make eye

    contact with someone to find out what they had been up to.

    Fortunately, we have evolved as a society to the point where a mere user name and password get us on Facebook, and we can find all of the information we need about others without purchasing newspapers or dealing with awkward conversations in person. Facebook is great for allowing us to be social butterflies while interacting from our hiding places behind computer screens in the privacy of our homes.

    And now that I’ve told you why I like Facebook, allow me to tell you five of the things that bother me with this form of social media.

    Too much information. You just had your bathroom redone? Tell me about the project, and post a photo of the new tiles. You have the stomach bug and had to use your newly refinished bathroom on six different occasions last night, and by the way this was how the visits to the commode turned out? Save this story for your doctor or your diary.

    Using guilt to get others to “like” a post. Certain Facebook users feel a need to generate the most “likes” possible for their photos and status updates.In order to achieve this goal, many people will try to make a friend feel like a war criminal for not expressing agreement with a post.For example, you might see a photo of a little old lady wrapped in an American flag holding an apple pie, seated next to a puppy on crutches. Your friend will write, “’Like’ this unless you are an unpatriotic puppy abuser who hates grandmothers and apple pie.” What choice do you have? And speaking of apple pie, my next pet peeve is…

    Photos of your every meal. Some Facebook users feel a need to share photos of all of the food they are about to eat. I can understand the occasional picture of a significant culinary treat, like a wedding cake or something that is being served on fire in a restaurant. Or maybe if your mom is a Facebook friend and you want to take a mid-meal photo to prove you ate all of your vegetables. But what makes you think people want to see a photo of the chili dog they serve at Carl’s rest stop on the New York Thruway? See No. 1.

    Receiving game requests 20 times a day.As if being on Facebook for hours wasn’t already a mindless waste, there are some users who spend the better part of their day playing games and insist trying to get you sucked into their vortex of poor time management by sending numerous invitations to join the fun. And you know they spend entirely too much time playing these games because you keep getting updates on their progress.“Bob Miller just a received a Third Golden Pineapple and has achieved level 38 in the game Wacky Fruit Farmer.”His boss would be so proud.

    And finally…

    Posts about what 70’s celebrity you would be. Because playing games isn’t enough of a time suck Facebook has created mini surveys that ask you questions and based on your answers lets you know what sort of person or thing you might be.In addition to “What 70’s celebrity you would be,” I’ve seen, “what fruit you would be,” and “what kitchen appliance you would be.”I am waiting to hear from someone telling me what type of skin disorder they would be. It is just a matter of time before I see, “I’m a cold sore!” to which a whole thread of comments from friends will follow.“I’m impetigo!” “I’m psoriasis!”And I’m disgusted.

    In conclusion, I would say that Facebook is a worthwhile social media platform as long as you don’t share too much intimate information, you leave images of your meals to your friend’s imagination and you stop sending unsolicited game requests. Most of all, be aware of the fact that it is easy to waste enormous amounts of time on Facebook.

    Now if you will excuse me, there an awesome kitten video that a friend posted which I have only watched three or four times and want to check out again.



    Mark S. Albury lives in Northfield Falls.

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