Facebook: A New Frontier in Social Awkwardness

10 Aug

Facebook is getting so awkward, isn’t it?

Personally, I can’t take the pressure.   It was bad enough when our parents, aunts, and uncles began to join.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I still manage to forget they’re in my contacts and I say something wildly inappropriate only to be scolded seconds later.  Then all these apps and games and silly questionnaires came through and all the sudden I’m forced to virtually break up with my friend because she won’t stop telling me to water her virtual crops.  Sure, I could just weed through my privacy settings and try to block app invites, but if my friend is the kind of person that constantly bugs me to water her fake crops, do I really want to be her friend anymore?

These are the sorts of hard-hitting questions I’m faced with every time Facebook ‘upgrades’.

Things got even more intense when Facebook leveled-up to real-time updates so that when you stare at your mini-feed you can actually see someone’s comment post at the very moment they do it.   And now, the ultimate mega stresser: Facebook chat.

It could be the super awkward hermit in me, but the chat is where I draw the line.  The beauty of Facebook used to be that it was casual and cool.   People could post on each other’s walls at their leisure.   In a world where the weight of a cell phone text or an email is so heavy that people expect a response immediately, Facebook was the one place I could still go if I wanted to socialize at a relaxed pace.

Facebook relaxation is now dead to me.

When I log on, I have updates that need tended to.  I have people commenting on pictures or saying hello or writing on my wall to ask me to hang out that same day.  I have messages from friends who haven’t caught up in a while and think email is too impersonal.  And sometimes while I’m tending to those things, someone is online at the very same moment and responds immediately.  Immediately! Then there’s all this pressure.  Do I have to follow up? Can I go log off?  They’re on.  They see me.  They know I updated only 5 seconds ago; it’s stamped right there in cold, gray text. I can’t possibly just leave – I have to finish the conversation.

I also have to manage my status updates.  Because if I tell a friend I’m too busy to hang out one night but I update my status at 8:35pm saying how much I love Arrested Development, it’s voluntary incrimination.   It doesn’t matter if it’s on in the background while I’m working.  It doesn’t matter if I thought of a funny episode and it wasn’t even on television.  That friendship is doomed.  


Don’t even get me started on birthdays and engagements.  Talk about stress! Seriously?! Every year on my birthday I have to be wished a happy birthday by hundreds of people I haven’t talked to in ages.  On one hand, it’s nice to feel loved.  On the other, you know that if any of those people really cared about your birthday they’d have called.  Or written.  Or emailed.  And now I feel inclined to follow up with them to see how they are, but I don’t know if they were really reaching out or if they just wanted to hop on the birthday bandwagon.

I don’t even recognize some of their names.

I’m not the only one who feels this pressure.  I know it.  Because not long ago, some dear friends of mine got engaged.  And while I was relishing in the happy moment with them, they admitted that they were quite exhausted because they had to be sure to call every single person that was even remotely close to them to let them know they were engaged before those people saw it on Facebook and got offended that they found out online and not from them.

You see? What are we doing to ourselves?!

So no, Facebook, I will not be utilizing your ‘Facebook Chat’.  The last thing I need in this too-accessible age is to log on and be immediately available to a thousand people, try to figure out how to end conversations with everyone because I don’t want to deal with them, and then worry about what to update my status to that will be amusing but also not indicate that I was having too much ‘not-too-busy-to-chat’ fun.

Lord help us; Facebook will be the end of us all. 

503 Responses to “Facebook: A New Frontier in Social Awkwardness”

  1. Smithk4 April 7, 2015 at 3:22 am #

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  2. short foray April 26, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    So true! What was once a pretty nice place to socialise, has now become like high school all over again – craft a socially acceptable image or you’re out!

    • Jackie April 27, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Perhaps everything reverts to high school? Facebook, workplaces, PTAs…

  3. skyrider1985 October 10, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Hi Jackie. Enjoyed the read. I find facebook now to be full of people posting locations and photos of places that they are basically saying- “look at me, I’m here and your’e not” or, “check out the view from my window here in _______. you cant afford it but I can so here I am”. Incidently, these people almost never post on facebook until they arrive at somewhere they think you can’t go or afford!

    It seems that FB is now a place to boast and show everyone how well your’e doing. I’m losing interest in it.

    • Jackie November 20, 2013 at 12:58 am #

      This is an interesting point and something I’m seeing a lot more criticism about. I read a post the other day that was some of the top things people hate seeing on facebook or whatever, and basically at the end of the day no one wants to see anything except funny quips or interesting stories. But you can’t be aware of the funny in the quip and the interesting story can’t be at all polarizing in its subject. WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO WRITE ABOUT?


  4. Ugly Nikki July 4, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    The most physically painful feature I find is the ugly “Seen” that appears if we read someone’s message by mistake. Now if we don’t reply THAT very instant, we are obviously in trouble

    • Jackie July 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      Ugh I just started noticing that too. It’s terrible. It’s just so terrible.

  5. Sean Smithson June 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    This is brilliant, nicely done. The folks at WordPress have finally pointed me in a good direction!

    Thoughts specifically on this post; Zuckerberg and friends definitely need to introduce a ‘no one cares’ button and maybe a ‘do you even read what you post’ button.

    And they definitely need to install an automated ‘thanks for the Birthday wishes but would you have had any idea that it was today without Facebook?’ response.

    Consider yourself followed by the way!

    • Jackie June 27, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      I would really love a “no one cares” button. Or if you could flag other posts for removal. That would be the bestest.

      And thank you!

  6. hmmnowwhat June 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    I can’t agree with you more! It’s sad that even posting a status is too much pressure for me – what if no one likes it? or even cares? what if it embarrasses me 10 years from now? Even reading my statuses from 3 years ago makes me cringe sometimes.

    • Jackie June 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      Sometimes I write a status and then delete it because I can’t stand the pressure. I hear you. I hear you loud and clear.

  7. nafriki June 12, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    I lost a few precious brain cells and lots of time when I started using FB. Now I have to constantly update my organisations events and status. But I do endeavour never to read crap or I just unfriend them. Brilliant writing Thanks.

    • Jackie June 14, 2013 at 12:30 am #

      YES to never reading crap and unfollowing people. Especially the negative, dramatic, ranting people. Those will suck the life outta ya. And thanks for the lovely compliment!

  8. Read Stuff With Me! January 10, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    I loved this post :)

    • Jackie January 23, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks! I appreciate you reading :)

  9. laurenmeir June 27, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    Make yourself invisible in the chat list and then people will stop trying to chat you. At least, you know, in real-ish time. I also feel pressured to make really witty status updates, partly because I’m sick of reading crap like, “OMG! just got the cutest neon french manicure at Sylvies!” accompanied by hundreds of photos. But maybe that’s a sign all my friends are just really really superficial. Thank you, facebook, for showing me how truly shallow we all are. Ah! You’re so right, we’re doooooomed!

    • Jackie July 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

      DOOOOOOOMED! Zim? Zim, anyone? I don’t do Facebook chat at all – not once. It scares the bejeezus out of me. And yes to witty updates. I hope that one of my friends is kind enough to put me down if I ever share a series of inspiring, grammatically incorrect quotes.

  10. LeDreamer February 16, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    True :)

    • Jackie March 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

      hey, thanks for reblogging! :)

  11. LeDreamer February 16, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Reblogged this on aimanshamsi.

  12. Laura November 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    This cracks me up. And then fills me with awkward memories of the time I was in a wedding and this one really awkward guy from the wedding party kept trying to facebook chat with me. At first it was annoying. Then he started saying inappropriate things. Then I defriended him.

    Now the thought of FB Chat fills me up with anxiety. Can I permanently opt out of that feature please? If you are my real friend, you can text me, call me, or even GChat me. But FB chat? The line needs to be drawn.

    • Jackie November 22, 2011 at 12:40 am #

      ewwwww creeper. Line drawn, indeed. Thank goodness we still at least have the option to defriend.

  13. Sema November 2, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    Blog walking..
    Sekedar info tambahan, ada jejaring sosial Indonesia berbasis ponsel di http://mobinessia.com spt nya luput dari tulisan ini.

    • Jackie November 2, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

      Thank goodness for Google Translate ;) Thanks!

  14. Jackie Paulson (Author) October 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I am honored to know you and that you posted this. Yes facebook is becoming my “thing of the past.” ~Jackie Paulson

    • Jackie October 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

      What an incredibly flattering comment. Thank you so much for reading – I really appreciate it!

  15. John J. Rigo, Texas' Poet September 21, 2011 at 3:34 am #

    This posting on FB has now become a part of my own personal WordPress Blog in my top page directory. It has become my “Official Badge of Honor” in my huge distaste for this social media. I am so pleased that I have the opportunity to refer others to this wonderful read on this subject, especially in the insights of the almost five hundred comments rendered thereto.

    • Jackie September 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

      Thanks, John! I was very pleased to see that a lot of us are on the same page with this. And while I’d like to think it’s indicative of an oncoming revolution, perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.

  16. John Valenty September 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    “cold gray text” LOL

    • Jackie September 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      Hi John! Thanks for reading :)

  17. realanonymousgirl2011 September 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    I agree with you on several points especially with status updates and where you check in. You can’t tell people you’re busy or tired then do something else because they know where you’re at at times. Its like getting busted cheating!

    • Jackie September 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

      the recent location updates make me pretty creeped out as well. Have you noticed them? They came attached to the most recent “privacy update” but a lot of people didn’t realize they had to turn it off if they didn’t want it as part of the upgrade.


  18. Sleepless Knight August 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Excellent Post. I found it through the tag surfer-y-thing, because I just wrote a very similar one myself.
    I never knew your blog existed but I shall now add it to my blogroll.

    • Jackie September 4, 2011 at 3:25 am #

      Very cool! Hey thanks for the add – I really appreciate it – and you stopping by, of course!

  19. uneforeigner August 28, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    This was absolutely phenomenal!

    • Jackie August 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      That’s a heavy word :) I’m flattered – thanks for stopping by!

  20. cmcswain August 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    I agree completely. The one that gets me: do I have to comment back on every comment that I get to my status updates. It’s exhausting:) ~Courtney

    • Jackie August 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

      Right? I wish I could just let folks talk amongst themselves but there’s all this anggssssttt. :)

  21. Ma-amm, Can we have...? August 25, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    Wow!!! I’d just written a blog about Facebook http:/yeswedohaveatv.wordpress.com but I wish I’d written this one!! It was bang on – brilliant!!!!!

    • Jackie August 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      How nice of you – thanks! :)

  22. Alexey Andreev August 25, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    I agree with post. But actually I have something to say in defense of FB.
    no one force us to have account there. in russia we have several socail networks additional to FB and twitter. I got accounts in most popular. I have pucture there – so anybody who needs me (former classmates basicly) can find me and send me a message. I don’t chat there, don’t post photo don’t spend much time. But when I needed someone – I found them there. Sometimes we need to find our old friend and best way is social network. Besides it’s a place you can get news not as it showed on official TV – if you need it of course)
    Oh and yes, if you want to try real pressure – get the twitter account))
    Social network (as all new techology) is good we just need to learn how to use them for our needs not to adopt to them.

    • Jackie August 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      Good point and well made :)

  23. bumfaceem August 23, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    It was a loooonnnng way down to get to the “leave a reply” here, lol. Your post is bang on! I think one of the interesting things about FB is that it creates an illusion for the amount of ‘friends’ you have and subconsciously makes you feel a bit popular. When I see people’s profiles with 1000+ it’s clearly bollocks! Just evidence of people whoring their name on a night out. I think in the real world I probably have not far off 100 people that I talk to regularly/keep in touch with, but because my list reads the best part of 400 “friends” I find myself regularly grimacing at my computer screen whilst glacing at my news feed saying “who the fuck are you?”.

    • Jackie August 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

      Thanks! I certainly agree. I find it amazing how many people will just blindly accept a friend request for someone they’ve never even met. Astounding.

  24. chasingzephyrus August 18, 2011 at 5:32 am #

    Totally agree with the post… I deactivated my account for a month because it was actually causing me stress.. Then with pestering friends, I had to go back to it again. Within 48 hours, I was overwhelmed with the amount of stress it caused. I am in facebook.. no more.. :)

    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:37 am #

      Isn’t it scary that if you deactivate your account, everything is still there waiting for you when you come back?

  25. trialsinfood August 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    lol. i agree. facebook has become too stressful…having to worry about what you write on the status updates and who’s going to see it.

    • Jackie August 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      And every other little thing every time they change a privacy setting, make an “upgrade”, or change their terms of agreement. Oye. :) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  26. zainap August 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    It’s great! can I repost it on my website. thanks

    • Jackie August 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

      Always – just give me a shout out and a link. Thanks! So glad you stopped by :)

  27. Nutrition Bar August 17, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    I completely agree with you! Facebook was awesome when it first came out now it’s lots of pressure for nothing! It’s horrible how we don’t remember someone’s bday unless we check fb, how to contact friends and tell them to hang out we write on their wall. It seems that people talk on fb chat more than face to face these days. It’s taking away our real social life and creating a virtual one.
    Great post :)

    • Jackie August 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      I’ve thought a lot about that as well. Before cell phones, I had all my friends’ numbers memorized. Before Facebook I had their birthdays memorized. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I know that I feel like I know them less than I did before in spite of a constant feeling of connection.

  28. MB August 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    “..sometimes I still manage to forget they’re in my contacts and I say something wildly inappropriate…”
    Ditto on that! Such as my “Happy 420” status that caused a confused stir when a few of my Aunts “liked” it without knowing I wasn’t necessarily talking about April 20th.

    I agree w/ this whole post. Facebook is PRESSURE, a responsibility. “Friends” upload their pics or other news and if you aren’t keeping up w/ all the latest, it’s always “what you didnt see my facebook?” Just because a LOT of people use it all day everyday, doesnt mean I should have to. Whatever happened to casual internet use? One of my most recent haiku tweets:

    “the internet/good for some things/bad for the soul/society quit logging in long ago/ & signed on permanently/just take a hard look.”

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      LOL @ 420 status. Awkward indeed. And I certainly hate the expectation others have that you keep up with things as swiftly as they update their pages. I just miss the voluntary nature of it all. Love the idea of a haiku tweet, btw :) Thanks for reading!

  29. gaycarboys August 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I love it but I just don’t take it that seriously. Though I admit to becoming involved in conversations that I wouldn’t otherwise have done.

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

      I wish I didn’t take it seriously too. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends do so the burden of expectation carries over. I might revolt soon ;)

  30. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife August 16, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    If you don’t like FB, get rid of it. I have it, but know many who do not. And to be honest, those who don’t are the ones out living life the most. I think they’ve got it figured out.

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

      I did leave it for a short time, but found that I wasn’t invited to a lot of things or didn’t know when my friends were visiting town because they expect that everyone is in that world. So I was weak and rejoined. Also creepy, btw, is that fact that when you return all your information is there as if you never left.

    • lucille1989 August 17, 2011 at 4:03 am #

      Ditto on that. I made a new friend this week, and it was so much nicer to get a text message inviting me over for dinner when I was in the middle of a ridiculous amount of homework! I quickly read it and replied, then got on with what I was doing- if it had been on facebook, I would have read it, not replied then spent the next two hours looking at other peoples comments and photos and wasted all that time.
      I LOVE not being on facebook, and although I’ve had three people in the space of a few days tell me I have to get back on there, I refuse.

  31. jothicharles August 16, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    If the chat was the proverbial last straw then just turn it off buddy – the option is there. But if fb has outlived your needs it may still be fulfilling for others. About getting caught redhanded, take the possibility as an opportunity to practise transparency.

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

      Oh I did turn it off – I was just demonstrating the progression of immediacy and availability with each upgrade. And I do practice transparency – but as I noted in the post, even if I wasn’t actually watching a TV show and was simply posting about something I thought of – people jump to conclusions about what I’m doing with my time. I suppose that’s the crux of the problem – the expectations that others place on me for being a member. Thank you so much for reading and sharing!

  32. Jason August 16, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    I love to see people’s reaction to how ridiculous Facebook has gotten. I wrote a similar post a while ago, check it out if you’d like. Keep in mind, more or less everything i say or do in my life is a joke. http://yourpaljason.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/jase-on-facebook/

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      Lots of folks have written on this subject it seems – I’m actually quite surprised that everyone is as fed up with it as I am. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Sisterhood of the Traveling Military Pants August 16, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    I’m rarely on Facebook and you have cured me for ever making it a habit! Thanks,

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

      Glad I could turn another to the light side. :) Thanks for reading!

  34. Finnbar 5000 August 16, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    you nailed this blog! great job, that’s why I quit that site — myspace was better if you ask me, wordpress is kinda for me turning into the middle ground

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      Hey thanks! Oh man, the days of myspace – what started it all. It’s so interesting to think of how we got here and how much it defines our generation. I’m thinking of switching to Google+ but I suppose it’s really all the same, minus some privacy adjustments.

  35. dinadot August 16, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Great post! I always keep my chat off – I hate to get messages like: “Hi, how are you doing?” while I’m doing something else…
    By the way, I also love your Lollipop Tuesdays – what a great idea!

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

      I’ve got mine off too. Most forms of instant communication make me uncomfortable. The phone is terrifying :)

  36. suzannebrandsen August 16, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    You have just done a brilliant job highlighting why I’m almost 30 years old and STILL not on FB! Tempting? Yes. Also scary? Yes. It’s hard enough for me to water my best friend’s actual lawn while she’s away. Not sure if I could keep up with virtual crops.

    Thanks for making me smile this morning! :)

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      Thanks, Suzanne! Stay strong – don’t give in. Because once you do it’s aaaall over :)

  37. Patrick August 16, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Hey you are making a mountain out of a mole hill- most people feel as you do. Social networks have turned most people into recluses: social networking is by and large a marriage between voyeurs and narcissists- with the occasional obsessive aunt or friend who is constantly commenting and forwarding and blows you up the second they see you are on. But for the most part, Social Networking has reduced people to awkward hermits, or more like moles, who pop up out of the hole with quickness and disappear. Most people like to play hide and seek, or peer in on each others lives as displayed on an elecric canvas, from behind an electric screen of their own as idle voyeours, or are simply multi-tasking themsevles….so I don’t think you are so special as to where 1000 people are going to be blowing you up on messenger. I bet out of those 1000 people you mentioned, 995 you couldn’t track down through an IM and get a prompt response if your life depended on it. They’d be too busy watching a movie in another window, or texting on their phone, or making a sandwich in the other room…or discreetly looking at someone’s pics or blog or comments- maybe even yours….

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

      Hi Patrick :) Thanks for stopping by. And yes, I’d say that most of my posts are making mountains out of molehills. It should be my tagline ;) I like your explanation here – very interesting way to look at it.

  38. sanelle August 16, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    hahaha great post!

    • Jackie August 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

      Thanks! I really appreciate you stopping by :)


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