I love Facebook. I’ve had an account for about five years, and whilst I don’t think I’m into the realms of obsession, I would categorise myself as an enthusiast.
I love Facebook. I’ve had an account for about five years, and whilst I don’t think I’m into the realms of obsession, I would categorise myself as an enthusiast. By this I mean I read my News Feed thoroughly and am familiar with status updates and what I call ‘online personalities’. An online personality is the abridged version of your actual personality – the one you put online. For example, my Facebook profile picture is currently a Sydney backdrop with a little me at the side, indicating that I’m no poser and a little bit ‘travelley’. The two most recent things I have posted attempt to be both amusing and inform viewers that whilst I work in a cookie shop, I am studying to be a writer. And so I attempt to maintain an ‘intellectual, worldly’ vibe, when in fact I sit at home watching television a lot of the time.
So that’s my online personality. And here are five status updates that it finds irritating…
1) The Relationship Status. A minefield that no new relationship really needs. Take my examples- Becca and James. Becca and James have recently started going out. If I know Becca well enough, I will know all about James and may even get the chance to meet him. If I don’t, do I really need the opportunity to check out his online personality? The Relationship Status can draw a barrier between you and your single friends, a barrier enforced by comments saying ‘congrats!’ and ‘happy for you!’ which imply that escaping singledom can never be a bad thing.
And then comes the break up. If the relationship ends, so must the status, and of course, the commenters have to weigh in on that too. Does Becca really need droves of ‘’s and ‘chin up hun’s to get her through? Maybe she’s over it already. Maybe she just wants to hide and forget all about it, with alcohol as her aide. But she can’t. Her phone is buzzing every few minutes with another well-wishing (nosy) comment.
2) The ‘PMA status’. PMA, or Positive Mental Attitude, is a great character trait, making it a great online personality trait too. Unfortunately, this inevitably means statuses like ‘Feelin’ good today’, ‘It’s a new day and a new start’, and other optimistic but ultimately uninteresting platitudes, are popular.
3) The Bitching Status. The aim of the Bitching Status is to take the high ground. Saying ‘Can’t believe someone has said that about me! Some people are so fake.’ is a great way to distance yourself from these ‘fake’ people and claim that you are ‘genuine’. But it’s also attention seeking. The commenters inevitably take the bait. They ask ‘What’s happened?’ after approximately five minutes, and by not responding the writer maintains the power of intrigue, on a usually non-intriguing topic.
4) Finally, the Stressed or Sleepy Status. Lots of people are tired. Lots of the time. And you know what those people do? They go to bed, shut their eyes, and try to sleep. They do not post ‘Soooooo tired! Why can’t I sleep?’ at silly’o’clock in the morning, or during the lunch break of their graduate job hoping to get some sympathy from all their unemployed/shift working friends who can sleep until noon.
Similarly, lots of people are stressed, or ‘SO STRESSED’ as their online personality states. In reading a status which says as much, and the inevitable 5+ comments below, each more panicked than the last (‘omg me too! This essay is so hard, can’t believe it’s in soon!’ etc.) your friends will either whip themselves into a frenzy and get stressed along with you, or vow to hunt you down for trying to disrupt their oasis of calm. Both options are a bit rubbish really.
So stay away from stressed out statuses, and go for funny, anecdotal, or factual. If you’re proud of something, post away. No one’s going to think ill of you for getting that job, interview or plane ticket that you’ve been yearning for- they’ll just be jealous. But they’ll click ‘Like’ all the same. Because their online personality doesn’t get jealous. It’s better than that.