The juggernaut that is Facebook is has become impossible to ignore theses days. Without getting into the intricate details of the social ramifications that that it has created, suffice it to say that is has become as ubiquitous as a phone, if not more so.
My own phone hardly ever rings anymore. I am informed of parties, gigs and other events almost exclusively via Facebook. Even though I am woefully ill-informed about computers, I am far from being a Luddite and have embraced Facebook as a primary communication tool.
There has been a lot of talk these days about privacy issues vis-a-vis Facebook. Here in Canada, where freedom of speech is an altruistic concept at best, Facebook has been in the media spotlight as some government higher-ups have set it in their sights. They are threatening to launch a class-action suit, or some other such nonsense.
I personally fail to see what the problem is. I wantonly post drunken pictures of myself and laugh myself into oblivion as I read the various comments that are subsequently posted.
One is in complete control of the content of one's Facebook page, so I fail to see why it is perceived that one's privacy has been compromised.
To put it bluntly, if your privacy has been invaded, it's probably your own damn fault. I will offer a few basic guidelines for navigating Facebook.
1. Don't Slag Your Boss.
That one should be self-evident, but apparently, some people haven't understood that one. Your boss can just as easily access your profile as any other of the millions of Facebook users out there. Yeah, yeah, your boss is an asshole and your job sucks. Welcome to the monotonous reality of working life. Throw a couple of beers into the mix, and many people will readily vent about their jobs.
Very few people give a damn about what happened at your office today, including me. Your boss, however might give a damn and might take a dim view on being called a filthy weasel, megalomaniac, mental case or whatever other drunken epithet you may be able to come up with.
If you aren't prepared to say the same things right to his face on Monday morning, perhaps you should have kept your mouth shut and not have posted it on Facebook. This is roughly the equivalent of a 2 am drunken phone call to an ex.
2. Your Butt.
Keep in mind that your boss, a prospective employer or maybe even your mom might being looking at your profile pictures. This why you should never post pictures of your, or anyone else's for that matter, butt. Chances are, nobody wants to see your butt. The whiskey-fueled debauchery that led you expose your butt in the first place and have someone take a picture of it, is probably best kept to yourself. This image will be seared into the collective minds of many Facebook users, and when people think of you , they will think of a butt. Not exactly a legacy that one would should consider leaving, pardon the pun, behind. Visualize this scenario, if you will, forty years down the road; "Why is grandpa showing his butt?"
3. More Debauchery.
Friends seem to take pictures of you at the most inopportune times. They will gleefully post them on Facebook the next day. Not necessarily practicing what I preach, most of my Facebook pictures seem to find me clutching a beer. That is innocuous compared to others that are out there.
If someone manged to take a photo of you at the precise moment that you begin projectile vomiting, you should probably delete that one. Same goes for any pictures that feature you falling on your ass, passed out in a pile of beer cans, a compromising position with the neighbor's daughter or your finger jammed in your nostril.
You might consider keeping your mouth shut and leaving the camera at home if you are planning to attend say... a Klan meeting.
4. More On Privacy.
This the essence of the argument right there. If you decide to make your credit card number public information, chances are that you deserve the ensuing mayhem. Facebook was meant to be jovial, fun and apolitical.
Some postings are way too personal and are best kept off Facebook. We know you love your boy/girlfriend, but all that syrupy lovey-dovey shit is making the rest of us puke. Seriously.
If you are a whacko and want the world to share in your conspiracy theories, a dedicated forum is a better venue for you. You can wear your tinfoil hat, write angry letters to the government and hypothesize to your heart's content with all the other basement-dwelling nutjobs.
Also, nobody gives a damn about your cat. It's not special, it's just like all the other cats. Everyone knows that dogs are better than cats. Unless your cat has miraculously developed the ability to speak, you are only contributing to our mounting anger.
We are glad that that festering pustule that you have on your head is not contagious, but some of us are eating here. That definitely falls into the domain of too much information. We have no desire whatsoever to know about your bowel movements and all the vivid imagery that it evokes.
We do, however, enjoy hearing about your hangovers because they are funny and most of us can sympathize.
5. Dumb Pseudonyms.
Unless they are in a band, nobody should be giving themselves pseudonyms. This is similar to nicknames, one does not give one's self a nickname, this is usually reserved for friends. The nicknames are usually given for a character trait that one may posses. So if your friends call you Boozy or Whiskey Nuts, chances are that they are rooted in actual truth.
Most of the ill conceived pseudonyms on Facebook all seem to revolve around danger, evilness, craziness or the ability to whoop some ass. If you bestow these monikers upon yourself, chances are that you are far from being that persona.
Dangerous, evil and demented people rarely go about bragging of these character traits. Most of them are institutionalized anyway.
Let's say your alter ego is Joe Mean Sonofabitch, I could probably kick your ass. If you are called Mike The Destroyer, my dog could kick your ass. Let's say your name is Insane Dwane, you are not nuts, just probably can't read past a sixth grade level.
If your pseudonym is along the lines of Swordmaster of the Eldrich Realm, what are you doing on Facebook? Go back to War Craft.
It would be far more entertaining if these names were of a more revelatory nature . I would like to see names like Dumbskank, Joe Scratches His Ballsinpublic, Jimmie Kicksdogsforfun, Jim Bob Eatstwelvedonuts, Bob the farting machine Smith, Fred scared of midgets Jones, or Jimmy the shoplifting Weasel.
6. Spell Check.
Spell Check, goddam it !
7. The Mundane.
It's not that we don't like you, it's just that we don't give a rat's ass that you are going the mall. Even if we know you intimately, the tedious minutiae of your daily life is of little interest to most people. The fact that you are eating a ham sandwich at this very moment is hardly an event that will initiate an interesting debate nor generate a plethora of comments.
Booze and Facebook are an incendiary combination, not unlike giving a monkey a loaded gun. If you are at a bar, chances are that everyone there is just as drunk as you, and all the inanities that you or your friends may have uttered will be forgotten by the following morning. If you are alone at home with a bunch of beers, the computer is a tempting mistress. The computer doesn't know you are hammered and no one can hear you slur on Facebook. That situation removes any social filters that you may have left and you will drunkenly type, one finger at a time, some of the most ridiculous horseshit that anyone has ever heard you say, and believe me, you will regret it.
8. It's Not That I'm Old, Your Music Really Does Suck.
A recent trend on Facebook has been to post a status update with a Youtube attachment. Musical tastes, or any lack thereof, are usually a good insight into someone's psyche. It has been said that musical tastes are subjective, but anybody denying the existence of shitty music is just lying to themselves.
Not wanting to engage in any type of musical debate, suffice it say that I know what I like. What I find appalling sometimes is what other people like. To paraphrase Jean Paul Sartre, " Hell is other people's taste in music."
I am guessing that some folks out there have little or no embarrassment threshold and judging by some of the terrible music that they post, they don't seem to care.
Dude's everywhere are unable to use the word "Lady Gaga" in a sentence, yet some guys will post that shit. There should be an App on Facebook that blocks any posts that include crappy pop music, white guy rap music, cheesy 70's dance music or really bad metal. People who post tired old classic rock songs should have their mullets cut off.
One man's classic rock is another man's poison.
9. The Bad Breakup.
So you broke up. Your ex is a fuckin' douchebag or a dick. Posting this on Facebook makes most of us physically cringe. Most of us have had bad breakups at one time or another, but this is the internet equivalent of waving your skidmark festooned shorts around in a crowded public place. Nobody, but nobody, wants to see your skidmarks.
Angrily posting on Facebook about how that bitch poisoned your dog or that fucker is boning your best friend surpasses the very limits of tolerance for personal information. Drunkenly posting snippets of song lyrics at 2 am just makes matters worse and will eradicate any dignity that you may have left.
Why are you still friends on Facebook with your ex for anyways ? Seeing pictures of them with their new flame will just piss you off even more. Delete that thing. Remeber, the opposite of love is indifference.
If you are a dude, you should deal with it the way a real dude would. Anger, beer, whiskey and lots of Country music. That too shall pass, but please keep it off Facebook.
I'll see you all on Facebook, and I'm shutting off the computer after my third beer.