Thursday, 17 October 2013

In defence of shit Facebook status updates

Have you ever had one of those days? One of those cliche ridden days where you just feel like an absolute twat? No matter what you're doing or who you're speaking to, you just feel like everything you think, say and do is slightly 'off'? Like you missed your cue. Or you're a day behind.

I just feel like a bit of a general tool today. Itchy scratchy feeling of not quite fitting in anywhere. Off kilter and out of sorts with a world that always seems to know where it's meant to be and what it's meant to be doing.

This has nothing to do with my post except that it's a good example of why I share things. Overshare, people might say. It helps me to write things down. Sometimes that's a Tweet (although not often anymore), sometimes it's a blog and sometimes it's a Facebook status. And, I pretty much write them for me.

One of the first things I saw on Facebook today was this post from the Huff Post ranting about Facebook statuses and how shit they are. Within seconds of it being posted, it was shared. On Facebook. Naturally.

His post boils down to this: "A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it."

And then he goes on to dismantle the humblebraggers, the overkeen parents, the too in love couples, the show offs, the entitled, the pompous, the ill informed and the boring. Oh, and the political activists, the pyramid sellers and those that post lists of their achievements - basically, just braggers. Not to forget the lonely, the desperate for attention and the lost.

Which essentially covers everyone on Facebook.


I take umbrage with his idea that a Facebook status is annoying if it doesn't do anything 'positive' for those reading it. Does that not actually give one's Facebook post way more importance than it deserves? Should everyone write as if they are writing to their 'public'? Should everyone pretend that what they say matters in any way, shape or form? Wouldn't writing for an 'audience' make you look like even more of a knobcheese than before?

Because that's his other point. No one cares, basically. Beyond a few close friends in real life no one cares what you have to say about your dinner, your pets, your husband or your nights out.

Which means, dude, that it doesn't matter what you write. If none of it matters anyway, then why shouldn't people use Facebook in the way that makes them happy without fear of being snarked at by someone who is demonstrating at least 5 of the 7 ways to be annoying himself?

If you want to post 25 baby pictures in one day, do it. If you want to make yourself feel a little less lonely and a little more anchored in this cold, harsh, unforgiving world by giving your opinion on world politics then go ahead. If you want to talk about how much you love your boyfriend, then go for your life. Those that care will continue to care. Those that don't will dial you down. Simple.

But, more importantly, Facebook means different things to different people. For me, it's basically a boyfriend. One that I can spew out random thoughts to when I feel like it. One that is always there. One that I can turn off. Hahaha. Oh, I do make myself laugh. But in a serious point, for those who live alone, articulating thoughts on a platform where friends and loved ones may see and interact is a pleasant thing. It can make one feel slightly less adrift. It can also relieve boredom when you've spent 10 hours writing and spoken to no one other than a fat cat.

It's also a great way to raise awareness. Oh shut up. It IS. I follow many charities that are working their asses off to save dogs all over the world. Because that's what I like. Dogs. And I have seen the good they do. I've seen how and why sharing awareness can work. I personally can't be arsed with the political aspect of Facebook - I have a few friends who are constantly posting conspiracy shit about how we're all marionettes being controlled by the powers that be. Maybe we are but I have puppies to look at, man.

I happen to have a lovely lot of friends who are revoltingly creative. From people who make actual films that are shown in actual film festivals to people who run magazines, websites, companies to people who create amazing art, there are loads of them and I like it when they share their successes. It makes me happy for them.

So, for all of these reasons I think the dude from the Huff Post missed the point of a lot of why Facebook makes some people happy. He also missed out a category that personally gets right on my tits: the too cool for school hipster who bemoans Facebook as being shite but doesn't hesitate to post a mysterious snapshot of their recent travels. Just enough involvement with Facebook to dip their  toe in every now and again but never join in anything, never interact and control their feed tighter than a gnat's ass. That is taking their online presence way too seriously, if you ask me. Which you didn't. But this is the internet so I get to inflict my opinion on you anyway.

The biggest reason he got it wrong though is the sheer schadenfreude. We all, every single one of us, look at some sucker's profile and thank fuck we're not them. Yeah, we do. Admit it.

So yeah, vive la Facebook and all its annoyingness. We can all be dull as fuck and up ourselves and boring and elitist and smug and happy and sad. And we can all post as much or as little as we bloody well like.


  1. Like I always say...if you don't like to watch something (e.g. TV show) or look at a facebook post, CHANGE THE CHANNEL! Good post..thanks! you should 'share' it on FB! :)

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  3. I can honestly say I haven't thought about it quite like this. I know people can post what they want and I'm fine with that, but there's a lot of stuff just slapped on that site. I am one of those artist types that you mention but it doesn't stop me feeling a little bit crap when I've spent 9 hours creating something I'm so unspeakably proud of only for it to completely unnoticed (I peaked at two likes for an 8 hour piece including a Halloween poem recently!) because it was lost in a sea of 'I posted this picture of Melonade because it sounds a bit like Melanie's favourite drink'. 15 likes. I kid you not.

    I know it's not all about that and as you say, your status is something to just empty your head into, but don't you just wish that sometimes what you empty from your head goes into someone else's?

    I've really enjoyed reading your blog so far and I look forward to your first book. Keep it up!