According to a reputable source (aka a random friend), Facebook was first created so Mark Zuckerberg could “check out hot girls.” Yet, the social media website has grown exponentially, to the point where everybody and their grandmother are on Facebook.
With that kind of widespread use, there are bound to be some…we’ll call them “creative” interpretations of what Facebook is for.
As an example, some people use Facebook to keep up with friends and family (my own personal method – boring, I know). Others use Facebook as a giant photo album to showcase their weddings, their babies, their tattoos, and most importantly, their lunch.
Others yet use Facebook as a clothesline – that is, to air out their dirty laundry. I like to call these people oversharers. There are some details that that guy you sort of liked back in grade school but haven’t spoken to since Y2K does not need to know, like your strange growths and odd smells. Why some people choose to share with the world what only doctors should hear/see is beyond me.
**Author’s note: I searched for a picture, but after viewing several screenshots of posts where highly personal sights and odors were described in detail on Facebook and Twitter, I decided the human race was better off without the visual. Instead, enjoy this cute kitten.**
And by the way, I take the Sara Bareilles approach to Facebook posts requesting that someone bring this person “some chocolate chip cookies because booorrrrrred, mmkay ;)” — I’m not going to do it because you asked for it. I am not a delivery service. I don’t work for Jimmy Johns. My response to these posts (in my head, at least) is “Go get it yourself.”
But, back on track.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites in general have also become a popular news outlet. For instance, when a celebrity dies, most of the people I talk to say they heard the announcement on Facebook or Twitter. Similarly, many people get their weather information from these sites, as well. Even though I’ve moved, I am still a Facebook “friend” (follower? groupie?) of James Spann, a famous and popular central Alabama meteorologist (and yes, there is such a thing in Alabama, a state which tornadoes find extremely attractive).
But since I am already logged on to Facebook in the morning, slurping down my coffee while sorting through the daily lives of my closest friends and family (as well as that one friend I only keep around due to their basic entertainment factor), it requires less effort to scan James Spann’s weather post (with included radar photos!!) than to even turn on my TV for a local weather report. Lacking such a report for central Indiana, my new method of weather detection is “carrying a rain jacket with me at all times” because it’s Indiana and, apparently, monsoon season.
However, despite it’s possible original intended use (i.e., Zuckerberg was looking for a date) and the current typical use of the technology (e.g., “omg check out this banana sandwich I’m having for lunch!11!!”, “I have this weird, smelly tumor thing”, “Oh no! Morgan Freeman died again!!”, etc.), is there really a right way and a wrong way to use social media? I know there are those annoying ways of using the technology that can get you defriended as quick as the click of a mouse (see previous mini-rant on the use of Facebook as a delivery service), but are these people truly wrong? I really, really want to say “YES!”, but ultimately, Facebook is a platform that is useless without users (the crazy, as well as the civilized). So if that’s what you want the world see as your online identity, then post away — but don’t expect me to write you a love song for it.
**Note: Just for clarity…