The Annoying Network Feb26


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The Annoying Network

I came across a moronic article on line the other day. Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote it, and it asked in no uncertain terms where his cut of the Face Book IPO was. Mr. Bilton is of the opinion that because Facebook uses his personal information and sells it for profit that he is entitled to a piece of the billions that are expected to be raised in the IPO. He even quoted an equally idiotic professor of economics that suggested that this was an opportunity to create a two way model that could profit both the business and the customer. I guess professor Ioannides has forgotten what country we reside in because capitalism doesn’t just give money to someone for playing Farmville. Points for optimism though. Maybe someday updating your status will get you a paycheck, but that day is not today.

As easy as it could be to allow this to become the topic of my rant and spend the next thousand or so words berating the entitled masses of America that are looking for a handout at every turn I thought I would instead look at Facebook itself. Love it or hate it the reason Mr. Bilton felt in part that he was entitled to a cut of the billions is because Facebook exists due to user-generated content. It’s for that very reason that I think we all loved Facebook at first but some of us have begun to question what the hell we are getting from it and whether or not it’s worth keeping. As I’ve navigated through Facebook for the last several years I’ve noticed a few things that make me question whether or not I really need to stick with this thing.

First let me start with the good stuff. Facebook has allowed me to stay close to some of my friends that do not live anywhere near me. It’s allowed me to find old friends and even make some new ones. Facebook allows me to share pictures of my kids, rally my buddies for our annual fishing trip, and make wisecracks when my sister-in-law says something silly. There are good things about Facebook.

However there are some things that I’m seeing with more and more frequency that make me wonder what the hell is going on and whether I want to be a part of this social network moving forward.

Friend hoarding– So I have 82 friends on Facebook, and that’s probably 20 more than I should have. I have one friend who has more than 1,000 friends. Now in his defense he’s the most politically active person I know but still……goddamn! I believe that some people are friending as a form of hoarding. I’ve been the target of this on a couple of occasions when I receive friend requests from people that I either don’t know or know in such a periphery way that there’s no reasonable explanation as to why someone would want to friend me. Even with my limited number of friends my news feed can get busy, what the hell happens when your wall is getting pinged with updates every second? I think collecting friends is like the douche that keeps all of the baggage tags on his golf clubs to let you know how much he travels and golfs. People need to get their self-esteem somewhere else.

If you wouldn't want a prospective employer to see a photo, it's probably best not to put it on your facebook page. This is not a good look.

The request to friend your ex – This one hasn’t happened to me. Yes I’m very aware that means I wasn’t the best boyfriend to just about every ex I’ve had and also many of the women I dated don’t have the mental acumen to navigate a computer. But many of the people I know have been approached by an ex, and I have friends that have FB friended an ex. I believe that is crazy unless you plan on banging your ex. Seriously, you are not with that person for a reason. You have plenty of other friends, shit some of you have 1,000 friends. If you are married you should not be friends with anyone who has had their mouth on your genitals. No good can come of that and if your spouse is OK with it, it means they are currently friends with someone who’s had their junk in their mouth. What amazes me is that I’ve received friend requests from the exes of some of my friends. What the hell is that all about? If I recall correctly you didn’t like me much when you were dating my friend what the hell has changed now that you two are no longer together?

The friend request you have to turn down – If you haven’t done this then either you are 12 years old or you are a pushover. I’ve turned down friend requests because I just don’t see what I’m going to get out of that interaction. If you saw this person at a restaurant and they didn’t see you would you go out of your way to say “hi”? If the answer is “no” then you should not have them as a FB friend. By extension there will come a time when you will friend someone only to realize you’ve made a bad mistake. You must un-friend that person, you’ll feel bad about it but then realize that you are better off.

Unsmiling dude – We all have seen the pictures of the guy that doesn’t smile. He looks at the camera and doesn’t smile, doesn’t even smirk. That’s just not his thing. Smiling indicates fun and this guy doesn’t do fun. He’s badass, he wants you to know that he’s serious and even though he’s wearing a sombrero that says “Birthday Boy” and has an oversized margarita in front of him he’s showing no teeth. What’s worse is that these guys usually have a bubbly girlfriend that is super excited to be in the photo, which makes Commander Serious look like a bigger douche. Dude you aren’t Jason Statham and this isn’t a Men’s Health magazine shoot. You are fat, you have a stupid soul patch and your Raiders t-shirt shows that not only are you incapable of lighting up a photo but you completely misunderstood the dress code at Medieval Times.

Duck Lips – Turn your head to the left, look at the camera screen so you aren’t quite looking at the lens. Pout your lips in a ridiculous manner and then snap your photo. Congratulations, you’ve now become a punch line. You can magnify the stupidity of this action by getting two or three girlfriends to do the same thing in the photo with you. I came across a girl on FB that had commented on something I put on a friend’s page. I clicked on her to see what she was about, she had 105 profile photos. Every one of them was of her doing the duck lips and the amazing similarity in the replication of each photo was shocking. The hair, clothes, make-up, even eyebrows were different but damn if she didn’t have that stupid, vacant stare down to a science. I don’t know who invented this fad but it ties nicely into my next photo peeve.

The self-esteem boost – It used to be that girls had to get dressed up and go to bars to be ogled by horny men. Now in the age of the Internet all they have to do is pop something onto Facebook. A little low cut top, do the duck lips and bang you’ve got a new photo on your wall. With 1,000 friends even the most mediocre looking girl will have this in about 2 minutes.
“Damn grl u r fine”
“Sooooo hot”
“Love your eyes”
What a great self-esteem boost. Even girls will safely compliment each other. Remember that there’s no competition for affection so girls can be supportive as opposed to a bar where they will gladly undermine each other to claim the title of best looking bitch. It’s a circle of co-dependence as women prop each other up again and again. There’s really no other reason to post that picture other than to elicit a response from your FB friends. Before FB how many photos did you have of just you, with nothing else, taken in your bathroom?

The self-esteem boost (the written edition) – With more and more frequency I am seeing posts that serve as a launching pad for someone who wants to get affirmations from their friends. Rather than expressing a point or making an observation, they are blatant cries for attention.
“I had a shocking thing happen today, I still can’t believe it happened”. Why not say what “it” was? Because the author of that quote wants to know how many people really care enough to ask for more details. They want people hanging on their words. They crave the attention. I never buy into this shit, if you wanted me to know, you would have told me the first time.
“Susie is feeling down today”. First off, bonus points for referring to yourself in the third person. Jimmy likes Elaine and George likes his Kung-Pao spicy. Now we know that Susie feels down. While not as blatant as the first statement, this is still a cry for attention.
To kick it up a notch, you really need to channel your inner Stuart Smalley. “Today I realized that I’m stronger than I ever thought, I will not be torn down by the haters and will prevail. No I will not go into that good night I say nay to thee, I shall triumph not once or twice but thrice for I have the spirit of a Griffon and the strength of a thousand lions. My spirit shines as a beacon that shan’t be extinguished, and my resolve holds truer than it ever has”. OK, maybe the folks on FB aren’t quite this colorful, but what the hell was that? As they are writing this, are they pausing for effect and an Amen from the congregation? Again, I ignore these.
“My wife is my strength, and my love for her grows every day.” If your wife is on FB, then that is a blatant attempt at getting her to have sex with you later. It’s the FB way of giving your wife flowers in front of her friends … except flowers cost money, and your drivel on FB cost you nothing except your dignity. If you love your wife, show her at home, and don’t make a production out of it. If these things easily impress her, then she’s also likely to be impressed with shiny objects so give her some baubles.

Lastly, there is a one-upmanship that takes place on FB. I break it into three categories, but they all serve the same purposes.

Look at my food – Remember when you would occasionally take a picture of your food, go get the film developed, then show the picture of that chicken parmesan to your friends? No? That’s because you never did that shit. But in the age of FB and iPhones you can now tell everyone that you had a turkey sandwich at Earl’s on the Bay. Like I care. If you are taking on a Man vs. Food challenge then by all means show me what you are doing but I don’t care that you’ve got a Denver omelet. If you’ve got FB, then hopefully you are eating three meals a day so if you are attempting to make me jealous then you have failed miserably.

Look at my booze – I have one FB friend that went on vacation. The next 12 pictures from him were of various bottles of beer, glasses of wine, and vodka martinis. If you are romancing booze that much then you have a problem. Funny thing is that this guy has been on 2 other vacations since that one and these have all taken place since my last vacation. So his posts “bummer to return to civilization” don’t resonate with me. By my account he’s been drunk for 20% of the fall/winter so I don’t really know what he’s complaining about. Show me a picture of you with your wife and a glass of wine or you holding a glass of wine. When you take a picture of a glass of wine then I’m just saddened. I had one friend take a picture of a glass of wine next to the bottle of Charles Shaw it was poured from. Showing me a picture of Charles Shaw wine and hoping to make me jealous is like sending me a photo of Tila Tequila in your bed with the caption “Guess who just gave me herpes?”

Look at my view– I’m more tolerant of this, but only if your view doesn’t include a bottle of booze in the photo. If it’s a lighthouse, or a sunset, then I’m OK with it. If it’s a pool or your balcony then I think you are overestimating the majesty of your surroundings. And keep your feet out of it. Every one of my friends has ugly feet. Women don’t do the foot photo thing, probably because they are self conscious about their feet. But my male friends have hairy, ugly feet and putting them in a photo with booze, and a pool is a trifecta of foolishness.

I'm glad you're having a nice vacation while I toil away at my menial job, but keep your hobbit feet to yourself, Bilbo Baggins.

So, like so many other things in the modern world, facebook is a tool that brings us together and then reminds us why we like to keep our distance. I have one FB friend that must have tried to text but accidentally posted on her FB wall that she thought her husband was cheating on her. Oops. I made a joke once that was interpreted as racist, and even though that wasn’t my intent I realized that intent doesn’t equal impact, and at worst I had offended 82 people but the results could have been much worse. There is boldness and a perception of safety that somehow goes with FB, and it is in this lull that so many people find themselves experiencing small and large lapses in judgment. I believe that people are getting smarter with social networking but not quickly enough and every day new users are coming of age and stepping on every landmine that their predecessors had the misfortune of finding. I guess what concerns me the most is that I find myself on FB less and less because just like television there just doesn’t appear to be that much worth tuning into.

“Steve is sad. He hopes that things pick up soon. For now he’s going to the bathroom to snap a new profile photo. He hopes he doesn’t accidentally smile”

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