What's the Worst Type of Facebook Status?
Facebook statuses are about as informal as personal bios get, rivaled in casualness perhaps by Tweets. This being said, the lack of professionalism associated with statuses should not be seen as a license to rant or to brood willy-nilly. Since the removal of the “is” from the former “______ is” Facebook status, it seems that abuse of the option has grown exponentially. My solution? Rules for status postings.
1) No “vaguebooking.” First off, it should be a rule that a status-writer cannot direct anything at a single person or group of people without naming said target in the status. Posting “I just need you right now” should cause the writer’s Facebook to become permanently disabled. If you do actually “need someone right now,” text them, call them, heck, write on their wall, but I must emphasize this: we don’t think you’re a deep, sensitive person because you know how to be ambiguous in a Facebook status. And God forbid you tell me that it doesn’t matter what I think and that “the status wasn’t aimed at me.” That’s like saying that your billboard wasn’t meant to be looked at by ninety-nine percent of the people driving by it on the highway.
2) No inspirational quotes. This one piggybacks the first one to some extent, in that these statuses are usually an attempt to sound intense and philosophical. The only sound they tend to elicit, however, is that of the reader suppressing vomit. There are exceptions to this rule, though the distinction between “okay” and “corny” can be difficult to make. Usually it depends on the tone. If you’re trying to be funny, it can be okay; if you write “True love stories never have endings,” you’re being corny.
3) No bragging. This is another one that can sometimes be stomachable, but only if you’re careful. “Got into Harvard” is fine, if somewhat conceited. “Just bench-pressed 250” is a bit cocky. The worst, though, is when you brag about something “altruistic” that you did. And no, adding, “it feels good to” before the boast does not make it more modest. In fact, this sort of disingenuous humility tends to make bragging even less humble in the cases where that’s possible. While doing fifty hours of community service is a noble deed, posting “It feels good to know my fifty hours at the soup-kitchen this week is helping people” still makes you look like an ass.
If you ignore the rest of the bragging rule, at least refrain from this: bragging before the deed. “I am going to ______”; “I’m about to start a new workout regimen this winter and get jacked.” We don’t care, and moreover, we don’t believe you. If you’ve already bragged about all the noble acts you’re planning, then what’s the point in even doing them, right?
4) No angry rants. The use of the status bar to vent is arguably the worst form of Facebook abuse out there (aside from cyber-bullying). Generally, anger is targeted at — get this — an unnamed person or group. This includes statuses that say things such as “You’re an asshole,” or even more explicit versions. Sometimes the “offending party” is named, though this does not render the angry status acceptable. If you find yourself starting a post with “I hate all those people out there who think…” then close your laptop before you write any more.
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