Once upon a time, Facebook would be my first port of call every day. Have any new photos been posted overnight, I wondered? Has anyone commented on the photos I’ve posted? Did anyone find my status funny yesterday? Have I got any new messages? And most importantly, has anyone added me as a friend? In July 2007, when I first joined Facebook, it all seemed quite new and exciting.
And if the strength of our relationships with social networking sites is measured by the frequency of our visits, then my first year on Facebook was most definitely the honeymoon period. I was quite enamoured. Today, however, Facebook is like the estranged wife I can barely bring myself to look at.
For a start, I don’t care that ‘Friend A’ has recently taken the “Which Serial Killer Are You?” quiz and discovered that he’s John Wayne Gacy. Or that ‘Friend B’ took the “Which war atrocity are you?” quiz and was delighted to learn that she’s the My Lai massacre. But this is the kind of shit I’ve got to wade through every time I log in.
I noticed a quiz the other day that must have been designed by people chained to desks in Facebook’s irony department, called ‘What is Your Purpose In Life?’ The answer to this question for most people is probably: “I’ve lost sight of what my purpose in life is because I’ve been more interested in finding out that my inner Disney film is ‘Condorman’ and that, according to the ‘Which Kitchen Appliance Are You?’ quiz, I’m a Breville Sandwich Toaster.”
I noticed an application on someone’s Facebook profile the other day that displays the user’s current mood with an emoticon (it’s called The Moods Factory). If this application had an emoticon snarling with disdain, I’d probably sign up. It would beautifully capture my expression and general mood every time the masochist in me forced me to click through yet another well-documented TV production wrap party (albums that contain anything between 20 and 1,020 photographs of people essentially taking photos of themselves at arms length).
Facebook is simply not the place to be when you’re having a shit time of things. Facebook is a place for people who can upload photos of their dental appointment for extensive bridge work, yet still make it feel like the party of the year that you weren’t invited to.
Another annoying thing about Facebook is the number of people who tend to update their status on a daily basis whether they have anything interesting or mildly amusing to offer or not. Irritatingly, when such people discover that they’re without a status they will often rely on song lyrics to fill the void. News feeds are then cluttered with updates like: “Katie…is insane in the membrane” or “Rob…doesn’t think it’s fair to blame it on the sunshine. And there isn’t any hard evidence to hold the moonlight accountable either”. This can often snowball, with the entire lyrical content of a song being posted thanks to a flood of comments from bored friends who will happily chip in with the odd line (or worse, an entire verse).
While scrolling through my news feed the other day I noticed that two ‘friends’ had unwittingly provided me with exhibits ‘A’ and ‘B’ to support this observation.
What’s worse is that people actually took the time to click on the ‘Like this’ button in order to register their unbridled joy at having read the lyrics to the theme tunes of some 80s children’s programmes. To level things up, they should have a ‘Tedious’ button. Like toothy Auton, Gary Busey, once tweeted: “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but do judge a person by their Facebook status.”
The thing is, I can’t really abandon Facebook completely (even though someone I know already has done) because my mum’s on there. And given that my sister and I have banned her from using Twitter, it’s simply the easiest way to keep her up to date with holiday snaps and general activity that she might be interested in. It’s also a good way for me to keep tabs on my one-year-old nephew (the most adorable and most photographed baby in the whole world).
Aside from these uses, however, the only thing I use Facebook for these days is to keep a few games of Scrabble on the boil. Although, whenever someone destroys a new game with a ridiculously unbeatable 70-point BINGO word, I occasionally lapse into ‘Scrabble rage’ (which used to be ‘Monopoly rage’). So even that Facebook pastime isn’t without its irritations.
Anyway, rant over with. I shall stick with you for now, Facebook. But don’t be under any illusion that I care; it’s just necessary.