A Guide to Facebook Etiquette, Part 2

I tried my best to educate the online masses with my original article on Facebook etiquette, informing them that their overly sentimental/dull/posing ways were an annoyance to society and, more importantly, to me. Unfortunately it seems that not only have they ignored me and continued in the same vein, they’ve found new ways to exasperate the virtual community. Readers of the original blog related their other Facebook-related gripes, and as a result I’ve made a sequel. Here’s to hoping that those committing these grievous online crimes will repent of their social-networking sins this time…

1. Just because you don’t have anyone to say goodnight to in real life doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for you to wish a website goodnight. IT REALLY ISN’T.

Maybe it’s understandable on Twitter. If you’ve been Tweeting incessantly for three hours and people have been responding in real time, it’s only polite to suggest that talking time is over and that you’re off to bed. This is acceptable because you are effectively having a conversation. Facebook, on the other hand, provides several means for conversations with people; wall posts, private messages, Facebook chat. Ergo, you can say goodnight to people individually if you’ve been talking to them. You don’t need to say goodnight to your ex-milkman, father’s uncle’s cousin’s pet mouse Snuffles or that kid from your class who wet himself in assembly in year 3.

2. Hilarious as you may be, if you’re really that funny then other people will like your own status. You don’t need to.

The ‘like’ button is great; it’s an instant way to feel popular or express approval/amusement, and a simple way of distinguishing the good statuses from the chaff. But you should NEVER click that button on your own status, even if it is absolutely spray-your-orange-squash-over-your-keyboard-from-laughing-so-hard hilarious. The minute you press ‘like’ on your own status is the moment you go from hero to zero. No longer are you the Oscar Wilde of the internet; you’re a self-congratulating egotist. Worse still, because you’ve probably liked it before anyone else, you look like a self-congratulating egotist with no friends: given Facebook’s function of being essentially a social competition, it means you lose big time.

Of course, being a self-congratulating egotist myself, I have to state that there’s nothing wrong with the occasional bit of self-appreciation. It makes a change from the desperately insecure people that plague the internet. But there’s a line, and when you click the button, you cross it. Trust me on this; you come across as being inordinately lame whenever you do this.

3. No, Farmville users, I don’t want to sow your sodding seeds. Why don’t you go and do that in the Biblical sense so you don’t have to bother me about it?

Karma got me on this one; a friend complained about this particular issue to me and, for a laugh, I added the application just to send her a ‘sow my seeds’ notification like the person she’d been criticising. [Ed: I’ve just realised the potential for this as a chat-up line.] Unfortunately, this then meant that I was exposed to the threat of being notified by the three remaining Farmville players on Facebook, all of whom I seem to be connected with (including the original offender), and soon the red flag began waving at the top of the page with Farmville requests. Playing Facebook games isn’t a crime in itself, or I’d be guilty as charged with Tetris Friends, but it’s the minute you start bothering people you don’t know very well to help you out. You wouldn’t ask someone you knew briefly at a party to look after your gerbils (and if you did, I fear for the wellbeing of your gerbils), so why would you ask them to look after your crops? Obviously this allegory doesn’t quite work, because the gerbils are living, breathing animals and the crops are fictional pixels on a screen, but it’s still asking the other person to devote time and energy (ish) to something that probably isn’t top of their priorities list. In some ways it’s worse, because it won’t benefit them at all – at least with looking after one’s pets they can enjoy the company and the hilarity that comes with watching animals. With Farmville, as I understand it, watering someone’s plants helps the other person to be better than you. Unless you have an altruistic streak, why bother?

So, to the Farmville requesters; there’s a reason why no-one is sowing your seeds in the virtual world, and that reason is that everyone has blocked your notifications. I hope your pixel plants die. (Did I go too far there?)

4. If you’ve fulfilled your biological duties and popped out a sprog, well done to you. That doesn’t justify your posting hundreds of pictures and statuses of and about your spawn.

This is similar to my point in the original article about couples with their soppy statuses and millions of ‘happy couple’ photos – but it’s worse, because unlike couples, the mother and baby are unlikely to break up. It’s the beginning of a long road ahead.
It begins during the pregnancy, and it’s bad enough then. There comes a chant of “I cnt w8 4 ma bb gal 2 b born I luv u so much darlin frm mummy xxx”* every week – no, to-be mother, your baby cannot read your Facebook status, and neither can anyone with a modicum of literacy. Ultrasound photos begin cropping up. Then they squeeze the infant out. “Ma bb gal ws born @ 3 37am xxx” – fair enough; the mother has earned it after the pain of giving birth. The first picture appears of a chubby pink prune with a face. Again, fair enough; they want the online community to know that it is definitely their other half’s baby (unlike that couple on Jeremy Kyle), and want their self-esteem boosted by people telling them that your DNA hasn’t produced a mini-Eric Pickles lookalike.
As the weeks go by, the mother posts more and more photographs of her offspring, and never fails to miss an opportunity to talk about breastfeeding, nappy-changing or complaining about the rigours of motherhood. In any case, you begin to wish that Durex had sold an extra box of their stock nine months earlier. In the same way that there are only so many photos you can see of make-up-drowned caricatures preening in the mirror, or of couples attempting to eat each others’ uvulas, there are only so many photos you can see of a miniature Voldemort-with-nose that cries and craps for England. Eventually you begin to hope that the mother is so hormonally-screwed that she removes you as a friend, fearing for the safety of her much-promulgated child because people she wouldn’t trust as a babysitter know every detail of Junior’s life through her statuses. And whose fault is that? Precisely. If you’re going to add to world overpopulation, please don’t add to Facebook’s problems by complaining about your leaky nipples. Thanks.

*I’m not suggesting that all mothers are keyboard-illiterate. I’m just drawing on my own experience of Facebook mothers™ and their heinous News Feed-clogging and English language-anorexia [by which I mean that they slim down their words to an unhealthy size].

5. ‘Click the link to be GUARANTEED a free diamond-encrusted iPad 7 with Pippa Middleton attached, valued at £1,603,845.59!’ Thanks, but no thanks – I’m not as deficient in the brain department as you are if you thought this offer was genuine.

If your account was hacked, no problem. That doesn’t reflect badly on you. What does reflect badly, however, is when you like these sort of pages, click these sort of links, or most annoyingly, naively watch ‘This video where a baby gets beaten with a kebab skewer – SHOCKING!!’. This affects my life because it immediately starts posting said video on everyone’s wall – yes, including mine. I don’t want to watch a baby being beaten with a kebab skewer, and quite frankly it disturbs me that you did. It’s not dissimilar to the frustration of having ‘___ ___ answered a question about you! [‘Does [your name] have an fuzzy rainbow merkin?’] Click here to see how they answered!’ plastered on it every time I log on. I do not know or care if someone thinks I have a fuzzy rainbow merkin. [Ed: Incidentally, I don’t.] Anyway, the chances are that you’re not that computer-naive if you can use Facebook and tag people in your statuses, so how can you be stupid enough to think that you’ll get a free iPad if you click the link?

Besides, Pippa Middleton’s an absolute dog anyway. I’d rather have a Prince Harry attached…

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2 responses

  1. Now that is some good literature.

  2. […] friend over at Modern Life Is Rubbish (read my personal favourite post about her facebook gripes here) I decided to give it a whirl. Virtually, I possessed 376 ‘friends’, a relatively […]

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