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.  

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. 

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

  1. 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…

  2. 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?

      Cats.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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 :)

  8. 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.

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

    True :)

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

      hey, thanks for reblogging! :)

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

    Reblogged this on aimanshamsi.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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 :)

  16. 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.

      Ugh

  17. 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.
    http://sleeplessblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/they-dont-have-roads-but-they-have-facebook/
    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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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. :)

  20. 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! :)

  21. 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 :)

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