Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Many Faces of Facebook

The Many Faces of Facebook
by Rosemary Rains-Crawford
My sister calls it “Fakebook”.   I can see why as I page through my “friends” and try to categorize them.  Oh my, I don’t even know some of these people.  What happened here?  Oh, that must be that person I played a game of Scrabble with one day.  Or, maybe it’s someone from an author forum?  So just for fun, here is my synopsis of friends on Facebook (in no particular order).  Although I am listing main categories, some people cross from one to another frequently and I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum.

  1. Family.  We all have family members and some we have learned a lot about since the advent of Facebook.  Sometimes way too much.  Distant and shirttail relatives start to become more familiar as we follow their posts.  It really is a great way to keep up with family with photos and notes.  If not for family, I surely would have given up Facebook many moons ago.
  2. Exhibitionists.  You can expect to see at least one new sexy picture every week from these people.  Some of the pictures look like they might have been taken many years ago, but who’s judging?
  3. Braggarts.  “My child is an honor student at….”  “I just won {something} of the year”  “Damn, I’m good.”
  4. Crusaders.  These people hold rigid beliefs in something.  It might be religion, it might be guns, it might be anti-guns, it might be a political party, it might be atheism, or Buddhism, purity in food, etc.  If it is possible to convert the masses with posts from their favorite cause, they are on it.
  5. Dead people.  Oh, I know, I should delete people that have the audacity to die, but it seems so final and like such an act of abandonment.  Besides, no one is ever dead to Facebook.  That record will remain until we are all buried and turned to dust, so why should I remove them from my list?
  6. Animals.  Oh my, how did this happen?  I have a mule, two dogs, and a hamster that somehow wormed their way onto my friend list.  Oh, and one of the dogs is also a Number 5, above.
  7. Imaginary people.  Yes, I do have one of those as a friend.  It is kind of an inside joke, but Olga just doesn’t fit into any other category.
  8. Whiners.  Letting us all know how they are suffering through a bad job, a bad marriage, a bad relationship, etc. 
  9. Do Gooders.  Urgent requests to help cancer victims, find children who have run away, notify people of kidnapped or lost children, sexual predators moving into an area, etc.
  10. Guilt Trippers.  If you don’t share their post, you don’t care about your (son, daughter, mother, father, sister, friend, Jesus, etc.)
  11. Entrepreneurs.  People trying to sell you something.  No explanation needed here.
  12. Ghosts.  These are people who had a Facebook account set up by a well-meaning friend, relative or colleague.  I am responsible for at least one ghost.  My husband had an annoying habit of looking over my shoulder as I played Scrabble, offering suggestions, etc.  So I set him up with his own Facebook account to play his own Scrabble games, which completely cured him of Facebook and Scrabble both.
  13. Comedians.  Passing on the very latest in jokes, cartoons, and pithy sayings.  I personally enjoy a good laugh, so appreciate having a minute of mirth as I scan the latest on the Facebook timeline.
  14. Philosophers.  Like comedians but with a more serious purpose. 
  15. Game Players.  Oh, so interesting to know that {someone} had a rush on Candy Crush, or won a $50,000 hand in Texas Hold ‘Em.  I play Scrabble and Words with Friends, but I try to always remove the “Post” (default) option after every move.  It’s easy to miss, so for anyone who was notified of a “Bingo” I got in Scrabble, I apologize. 
  16. Lurkers. They’re there, but it’s easy to forget that.  They never post anything.  They just watch what everyone else posts and form opinions that can’t be reciprocated.
  17. Stalkers.  Keeping track of people anonymously.  Watching their every move, looking for an opening. 
  18.  Gossip Mongers. Like stalkers and lurkers but with a specific goal – find the interesting tidbits on mutual acquaintances so they can be first to pass on the “news”.
  19. Spies.  These are the worst.  They report on every post or “like” to the paranoids that don’t have their own account.  Often out of context, their goal is to create angst outside of Facebook. 
I’m sure there are other prototypes.  But one thing is certain:  If you have a “friend” on Facebook, even if you never knew them before, over time, a portrait of them emerges for you and one of you emerges for them.  Random likes and posts really do start forming into a picture, so be careful out there!

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