What facebook teaches you about people

facebook-fail-likes-3 fb funny

Hasn’t facebook changed. I signed up in 2007 (according to my ‘timeline’) when a friend kept going on and on about how they found all these old friends using it. I live in Sydney, but grew up in Boston, so fb was a great way for me to reconnect with old friends from university, high school and even a few from primary school.

Back then, in the fb ‘good ole days’, ¬†posts were meaningful. You could throw a sheep at someone, nudge them, even send them a cocktail.

One thing that did crack me up was how the ‘cool’ people from my high school who would never speak to me or associate with me in high school were all of a sudden my friends. I decided to put into practice my 12 years of catholic schooling… to forgive and forget.

I also found it funny that people I worked with for five minutes or met briefly at a party or event suddenly started sending me friend request. For a while, due to my lack of social media knowledge, I decided to accept to see what these new ‘friends’ had to contribute to the facebook universe.

Since then fb has changed in almost every way. But some things haven’t changed: What a person’s post says about them. Over the years I’ve watched trends emerge, as I’ve made friends and unfriended a few.

You can tell a lot about someone by their posts. So without further adieu, here are my top categories of facebook friends to ‘hide’. Figuring out where someone fits in can help you quickly decide whether they will fill your fb world with poisonous, vapid thoughts or lead to a better karma for all.

I’m no perfect fb poster, so I’m happy to put my hand up as someone who has fallen into these traps. One of my fb past times is coming up with the classifications, so if anyone has any I’ve missed, please let me know. We can built our own fb wiki of etiquette.

1. The Over-sharer

Intimate details about sex life? A close up of their infected big toe? What medication the doctor’s put them on? There’s no ‘art’ to figuring out what should be shared to the social universe versus what you might share with a close friend in an intimate restaurant. If your doctor cringes, then so will everyone else. Everyone has made this mistake at some point, but The Over-Sharer wants everyone wants to hear everything.

2. The Boasting Parent

All of us parents out there are proud of our kids. Whether they tied their shoes for the first time, said ‘mamma’, graduated top of their class, it’s a fine line to know what belongs on fb and what doesn’t. What crosses the line and makes you The Boaster is the frequency of ‘my kids are better than yours’ posts. Once in a while is ok (birthdays, special moments / awards). If every other day there’s a status update like ‘my daughter just made me a tea. I’m so blessed to have her,’ then they’re a Boaster.

3. The Victim

‘I don’t know why people are so heartless’ posts are cries for help. It leaves an awful awkward feeling in the air. There’s usually some nice friend who will respond ‘what’s wrong?’ or ‘poor dear’. And you think to yourself (thank god someone else responded so I don’t have to!). Again, the telltale symptom here is frequency. This friend wants someone to reach back via a comment. If you need help, Message your close friends… but chances are The Victim has 300 ‘friends’ (ie, people they work with, a chance acquaintance, they shared a room in a backpackers for 30 minutes…) and constantly sharing their woes with the world hurts their overall reputation.

(Note: Remember, fb is now more than just a place to share, it’s a representing you to the bigger web universe. Future employers will look here, prospective friends and mates, so whatever you put up there sets up how others see you (like it or not).)

4. The Lush

‘I got so wasted last night’ is The Lush’s usual post. If you cut and pasted their posts into a table, it would have a 50/50 split: half are ‘drunk’ posts followed easily by another half of ‘hungover’ posts. The Lush posts lots of photos of cocktails, girlfriends lifting up their tops, heads in toilets, and selfies with closed eyes.

5. The Show-Off

Aah yes. I have to be careful here. Most of us have fallen into the Show-Off’s traits of bragging, fb-style. The favourite modus operandi of the Show-Off is the regular slew of ‘check-ins’ from trendy restaurants and bars, exotic travel locations. We all love to post pics when we’re on holiday, so everyone should get to be The Show-Off every now and then. But if you’re doing it ALL THE TIME (more than two or three times a week). You’re Showing-Off. There is also a sub-set of The Show-Off: the Business Show-Off. These execs love to post pictures of their business or first class upgrades, court side seats at pro basketball games, front row seats at sold-out concerts, or VIP treatment anywhere.

And so goes my list. Do you see yourself in any of these? I certainly fit into a few (ok, all of them), but hopefully I don’t sit too often in one category and annoy my ‘friends’.

Thankfully there’s always the Hide option for posts. Anyone who urks us can be relegated to fb’s closet for annoying friends. It’s just awkward when you bump into one of them, and they assume you already knew that they’re now engaged, pregnant, divorced of moving to the other side of the world. But I’m willing to live with a few minutes of awkwardness over hours of fb frustration.

Out-marketed by a 12 year old

My tweenie daughter loves Supre. For a while I was able to avoid the store, carefully explaining to her that nothing will fit her there. Although her feet are the same size as mine (are the next generation going to need clown shoes?), she’s nearly as tall as me but still has the waist of a typical 8 year old.


I sleep well at night knowing that she will stop looking too skinny and follow in my fate,  eventually discovering mexican food and beer when she goes to uni.

But, alas, Supre knows that tweenie’s aspire to wear their ‘clothes’ (cough) and has a number of items for sale that go down to 3xxx small, that would fit a typical 8 year old. So now we have to go to Supre regularly. I last five minutes before I am struck by sudden-onset claustrophobia, surrounded by cheap, slutty clothing, bad music and home-done blonde highlights. It’s hard to make it a positive mother-daugther shopping experience when I say ‘no way’ to 95 percent of what she shows me.

Their free reusable shopping bags have become the handbag-of-the-moment for year 7 students across Sydney.

Clothes in this store are targeted so specifically at teenagers who want to reveal as much as possible. They also know that up-and-coming teenagers just ‘have’ to look as grown up as possible. Tops are either really short to reveal belly buttons, or the arm holes or so long it reveals everything underneath unless the wearer has the posture of a New York Academy ballerina. Dresses and skirts are so short that, honestly, they really should just be classed as underwear.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was walking by the storefront and nearly everything on display was from the same new clothes line, with big bright block letters stating ‘WIFEY’. Wifey?? Why would tweenies and teens want to wear something that their dad calls their mum? I was baffled. Was this some new cool term? Is this a symptom of a growing teenage mum population? So I bought one. I figured it would drive my daughter nuts.

It did bother her. Alot. Mum’s are not allowed to wear clothes from the same store as their tweenie daughters. When I asked her why they were making the WIFEY range, ’cause I was baffled, she answered, succinctly and without hesitation:

“They are opening up their demographic to an older market.”

She and I don’t ‘talk’ marketing. She’s just been so used to being ‘marketed’ to in her 12 short years that it’s second nature to her and she just accepts it. I wish she would fight it, just like I wish she’s fight the desire to wear mid-riffs. Between fast-food, music videos, apple and cable tv, kids today are so savvy to what it takes to be cool, the pressure to keep up has gone beyond anything my generation ever dealt with. I remember the Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ phase, where we all wore his buttons on our jean jackets. Yea, I just had to have those buttons, but they didn’t sexualise me, cost a bomb or lead to unhealthy eating habits.

Other than move to a remote island or live in a cave, I have to accept it, try to keep the lines of communication open and maintain a positive relationship with my daughter. Either that, or I could start to buy ALL my clothes from Supre and horrify her so much that she’ll never shop there again.