Monday, April 19, 2010

Facebook: I'm doing it wrong?

Someone told me the previous post came off as a bit rude. I admit I was pretty upset when I wrote it and I'm sorry if it made you cry. Here, I edited it.

When I say I'm blocking someone it's because I know this person isn't really like what I'm seeing on screen. But I still like the person!

Can we be friends again?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Facebook: You're doing it wrong.

Let me tell you a little about my general experience with this Facebook service you’ve probably heard of. Back in the day, when MySpace was still relevant, my wife would spend a great deal of time in these social networks. Every once in a while she would call me to show me something neat she had found, or would tell me how she got back in touch with someone from elementary school. I would say “heh, cool” then go about my business, for I knew that behind the social connections, and the sharing of information, lied a vast network of spam and douchebaggery.

At one point I decided I’d give it a shot, chiefly, I guess, because I don’t really “keep in touch” with any of my friends. I am a human being; therefore I get lonely at times. I figured I could disable all the email notifications and carefully adjust the page’s settings to minimize spam and other annoyances. The result of this experiment has been quite satisfactory. I certainly spent the first few weeks blocking applications left and right, and I was extremely careful as of whom to allow the privilege of my electronic friendship.

I would, and still do to this day, befriend only friends, family, and trusted acquaintances. I have declined many a request from people I actually know, just not that much. I also intentionally let out people who could use my information against me, namely supervisors and elderly relatives.

One of the most satisfying circumstances is when friends from very different circles interact when commenting on my posts.

That being said, the true purpose of this post is to point out the different ways in which my friends are ruining this Facebook experience I enjoyed so much, a series of irksome trends that are growing in popularity.

  • General inappropriateness: Cursing, posting tasteless pictures, that kind of thing. I mean, seriously, we’re grown ups now. Also keep in mind that it is a growing trend to open accounts for minors, although it is forbidden by the terms of service.
  • Improper spelling and grammar: I am not a native English speaker, nor was I formally taught beyond the basics in school (ask any Puerto Rican of my generation and they will agree public school English does not make one bilingual). I put a lot of effort not only on expanding my vocabulary, but also on making sure I did not speak with a silly thick accent. Those of us who have made this extra effort take particular pride on it. I am equally passionate about my native tongue, Spanish. It really bothers me when an American mixes up “your” and “you’re”, and it bothers me because I know they know it's not correct.
  • Excessive shorthand: On the same line of thought as the previous, I believe this butchering of the Queen's English is mostly due to the perceived need for fast and furious typing, along with misguided Internet acronyms and "smileys". If you're going to use an acronym, make sure you know the meaning of it and picture it in it's long form. A phrase like "OMG what are you doing?" would make sense, whereas "LOL what are you doing?" would not. Also, a "smiley" can add a lot to a message but should not be part of a sentence.
  • Passive-aggressive posts: Look, if you’re mad at someone, but think confrontation would be unwise, try the following: punch a wall, write an angry letter and burn it, stab yourself… but please, do not post an angry note aimed at a second person (i.e. the reader). Eventually a handful of your friends will suspect the post was aimed at them. I, for one, will automatically assume the aggression is indeed aimed at me and will proceed to block you, just to be safe.
  • Marketing: So you have joined this shady pyramid scheme great marketing network and need people to join your network in order to make profit. You decide to dust off the old Facebook and tell your neglected friends about all the money you’re making and how financially independent you are. That’s sad, really. I block sad posts. I don’t mind you trying to sell me something just as long as you continue addressing me as a friend and not as a potential customer/recruit/money tree.
  • Preaching: I respect your faith (or lack thereof) just as much as I find it disturbing. Keep it away from me, please. This includes all the raging, fanatical, atheists. Also, the word “Amen” is not a substitute for the period at the end of a sentence.
  • Tagging: Use tagging to put a square around my face if I indeed am in the picture. If you want to show me the picture use the “share” feature. The same applies for the faces of other people in pictures I have posted. Don’t make me revoke your tagging privileges!
  • Profile pictures: Do not use avatars, pets or your own children. Some people aren’t good at remembering names and really rely on the profile picture for reference. Also, your baby is ugly.
  • Applications: I don’t really mind the use of applications (however stupid they are) as these can be easily blocked. Some people, however, seem to discover a new, unblocked application on a daily basis.
  • Gaming: This is my greatest pet peeve. I have already written about how Facebook games are evil, but to recap: These are crappy games designed to ensnare poor fools into believing they’re having fun while in reality they are only addicted. Luckily, Facebook games are also applications, therefore posts coming from them can be blocked. The new trend is introducing systems that require you to beg other players for items through regular status updates. I will instantaneously block anyone requesting nails, boards, bricks, or widgets. Use the in-game messaging for that.
I hope this explains why I never seem to notice your posts.