Ahhhh, Facebook. Such a waste of time, yet so useful at times for contacting old friends, some of whom are actually still interested in talking with me. But on social networks the only operative definition of “friend” has nothing to do with longevity, devotion, trust, or any other traditional friendship determinant. “Friends” on a social network are simply the collection of other users who appears on your friends list at any given instant.
Being “friends” on Facebook opens up the door for two-way communication, which has many uses other than the traditional friendly, two-way chats with which we are all familiar. The most obnoxious communication by Facebook friends is the plethora of requests for various types of game crap, such as a new pig for their Farmville farm, a new ho for their Cyber Pimp stable, or whatever. Over time, I’ve collected “friends” who never communicate about anything else, not even a “How’s the weather down there?” These are hard-core game addicts who could have friends lists full of real friends if they didn’t devote so much damn time to harassing people about what they need for their silly games. These are people who piss me off.
Facebook provides a mechanism for ignoring “friends” who post things, and there is also a mechanism for eliminating postings from any particular application. Many of these game requests originate while the “friend” is accessing the game application, so it is easy to ignore them by ignoring all posts from the application. However, some “friends” also make such requests while being logged onto Facebook. If you ignore them completely, you risk missing something meaningful. A small risk, but one I find it difficult to take with real friends. So I give them the benefit of the doubt.
If, after six months or so of “friendship”, all I get is game requests, the soon to be ex-friends go into my “In Limbo” friends list, where I have dialed up security to the point where they can do next to nothing. There, they wait until I do my next friends list purge and dump them completely.
I did the purge yesterday and then realized that there was one more group of users who get on my nerves: those who post recycled “theme” statuses and then tell me I’m a dick if I don’t re-post it as my status for a while. You know the kind: “If you know someone who died of cancer, you must post this as your status…” or “I’m posting this to let you know that you’re all my friends and if you feel that way too post this as your status…” or “I think Facebook should have a ‘dislike’ button; if you agree, put this as your status…” or, more perniciously, “A little girl was abducted on highway 9 in Smallville…” Don’t tell me what to “put” as my status, people, especially since you — or whoever concocted the stupid status message 23 generations ago — can’t spell or form a proper sentence. Don’t tell me about the same little girl being abducted who was first “abducted” in an Internet e-mail chain letter 12 years ago. These stupid things are bandwidth wasters fully equivalent to stupid chain letters in which one is exhorted to re-send the letter to 20 friends. Idiots still pass them along, even though they’ve been debunked in snopes.com for years and years.
So, what to do with these folks? They don’t seem to get the message yet. Yesterday, I posted the following as my status:
I trimmed my friend list to get rid of those whose idea of friendship was nothing more than asking for crap for Farmville, etc., but I forgot about those who ask to repost their stupid, warmed over status message about true friendship, who hates cancer more, etc. So, please don’t “put this” as your status for even one fershtunkenah hour, or I’m guaranteeing that you’ll be next!
(Fershtunkenah is Yiddish for “steenking”.)
In other words, don’t waste my time or my wall with this crap. Annoy your other “friends” with it. It does absolutely nothing for nobody except bolster the ego of the originator who one day will be so thrilled to see his or her dumbass status coming through the viral network. Get a life! If you want to do something for a charity, give your time or your money. Posting statuses isn’t going to make cancer go away any more than honking if you love Jesus is going to make this a better world.
I checked my friend count after I posted the facetious status above and found that it had quickly dropped by one. That was hilarious. I didn’t even have to initiate the excision. Whoever it was became insulted and decided he or she had no use for me. Thank you! Great concept — the subliminal, passive-aggressive “get yo ass off my friends list” message, which pares down friend list maintenance time for you even while you sleep.
This reminded me of way back when I was working in the Operations Analysis department of a Fortune 500 company in New York. In rough times, we were the ones who had to determine who would get laid off and, in some cases, be the bearer of bad tidings. This was very unpleasant for us, let alone the poor employees. During one stressful period, one of my colleagues suggested that if on Monday each week we hung up pictures in our floor’s elevator foyer of employees who were going to be given their notice on Friday, after a few weeks people would get the message when they saw their picture on Monday and, consequently, we would not have to deal with them on Friday. They could go straight to Personnel (which is the real name for what is now called “human resources”) to deal with severance issues. Needless to say, this idea was never implemented.