Monday, January 7, 2013


It’s done almost involuntarily as I snap open my laptop, mindlessly enter my eight-digit password, and double-click the top left of the screen. I came to read the news or e-mail someone back, but somehow I’m staring at the unavoidable face of Facebook.
Ahh, Facebook. The famous news feed. The social network.
Today, tangential conversation at a work meeting led to a discussion about Facebook and, well, what it really is. And one co-worker had a simple answer: “It’s like a giant photo album.”
I’m not so sure, though. Instagram is a photo album, but for the artsy. Twitter is a water cooler, for everyone. But Facebook is both those things. What’s the point? To keep in touch with friends? To publicize your every move? To keep all your photos in one place?
I can’t put my finger on it, because it’s so many things: photos, statuses, likes, pages, games, chatting, stalking.
What I did decide, though, is that — more than anything else — it’s annoying. The temptation to delete my profile has never been great enough to elicit any action, yet any time I start scrolling, I’m almost immediately roll my eyes at most of what I see.
So, I’ve broken down what Facebook is — or what the site is made up of, I guess — into five simple categories:
  1.  The play-by-play: The paragraph featuring a detailed itinerary so everyone can not only know that you plan to wash your dog and eat an apple, but know in what order you intend to finish your chores. This can be meant to either elicit a pity party about your overflowing schedule (see: could this day get any busier? or soooo ready for a nap at the end of the status) or simply serve as a good-Samaritan gesture of making sure the general population isn’t deprived from the luxury of knowing such crucial information.
  2. The inside joke album: That album featuring 458 slightly different photos of all the same people, cleverly titled with something only they get, allowing the exclusively tagged V.I.P. to comment on each frame and reminisce about the unforgettable night they can barely remember. Such an album also tends to feature a classic array of photographs which include (but are not limited to): the group shot proving how many friends the uploader has, the candid shot proving proving how fun and free-spirited the uploader and his/her friends are, and the binge drinking shot proving how out of control and craaaaazy fun that night was (so what we get druuuunk, we’re young, wiiild and freeeee).
  3. The inspiration: The status featuring a vague but philosophical phrase that lets lucky readers ponder a) what life-changing moment the updater is going through that led to such a status and b) what the hell it even means. My personal favorites remind Facebook users (thank god, because they probably forgot) to live their lives, although impossible is nothing or a long quote about love or understanding aren’t far behind. (This is my favorite Facebook feature. I’ve complained about it before, and probably will do it again.)
  4. The heart: This one is the  biggest head-scratcher for me. Personally, I don’t understand the appeal of having your relationship ever show up as a part of someone’s news. If you’re getting married, I might let you slide. But for other couples, the omg you two are so cute comments on newly-formed relationship are a bit laughable because those same people (the ones you’re so close with that they found about your relationship via Facebook) will be the same ones to comment omg I’m so sorry : ( when the relationship plummets and crashes back on the news feed a few months later.
  5. The promotion: The one that I do all the time now. Yes, I had to point a finger right back at myself, because I shamelessly (okay, I’m actually a little ashamed) self-promote via social media all the time now. But, hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And click on my links! Please! Like me! Read me! I know you see my articles in your news feed! Why aren’t you clicking? They’re awesome, I swear!
Whew. Did I forget anything? Please tell me. Why do you have a Facebook? What do you use it for? What annoys you? Someone, anyone, explain to me what the social network is all about.
Until then, I’ll keep entertaining the idea of deleting my profile — and keep spamming everyone’s news feed until I actually pull the trigger.
alyssa Oursler
Blog: (version on blog includes videos)
Twitter: @alyssaoursler
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