Okay, this is not going to be as tasteless as the title suggests, but it might just be interesting.
I mean, I think I speak for others when I say that I’m tired of waiting for people on Facebook and social media to realize how much power they have, so I just had to—why yes, power.
It’s called demassification and it’s what happens when media clings so tightly around individual preferences that our friends become the source of the most urgent news consumed—i.e., when Facebook ‘news’ feed updates take the place of a longer scroll and click journey through the BBC News site.
Facebook has revolutionized the human experience for many of us—suddenly, people you never would keep in touch with before are sharing their baby’s first birthday extravaganza, political views, sense of humor, musical tastes, preferences, feelings, insights and then there’s…well, you know, crap.
I’m guilty—but I am trying to stay conscious and in ‘give’ mode—and this little ditty is a reflection of my observations and efforts.
It’s kind of interesting when you realize that we have more media power as individual members of the general public than we’ve ever had before!
To keep this short and sweet, let’s consider what sucks (really takes time away from people in your network even if it is temporarily satisfying to you) and what blows (okay, blows worked in the title but might be confused with sucking, so let’s just say what gives something to your network). A major takeaway here is to think about how you and your audience will feel after you post this stuff, before you actually click “post.”
This stuff usually kind of sucks:
1. Repetitious statuses about you being sick, e.g. “I hate the flu.” Five hours later: “This sucks, I’m sick and have a fever. Drank some juice, throat hurts more.” Two hours later, “I can’t sleep—when will this end?”
2. Statuses where you are passive aggressive and vague, e.g. “Thought I could trust you; guess I was wrong.”
3. More than one or two statuses a day directly stating exactly what you are doing, e.g. “Grape juice is my favorite and I just had three glasses!” A few hours later: “Took a shower and used my new soap!”
4. Changing your profile picture more than once a week, for many weeks in a row. No example, but the reason is that it’s like crying wolf and nobody will be interested after a while. You’re hot stuff and deserve attention, so don’t mess the chance up by refreshing too often. If you’re highly photogenic (which I am not), you’re better off storing those hot shots up and spreading ‘em out over periodic metamorphoses!
5. Really close-up pictures of food that could be interpreted as food already eaten or something other than food (no need to explain this more, right?).
6. A deluge of music videos from You Tube. This is my weakness and I’m totally guilty—I love to share music and then realize that nobody has the time to watch what I listen to, and chances are good they won’t find it nearly as good anyway! Example: “I love this song—saw them in concert in ’85!” Next day: “Totally feeling this one.” Same afternoon: “Did you hear 2:18?????”
7. Anything that promotes a stereotype, e.g. “I really wish the loud Americans would shut the heck up on this flight!” (I’m guilty of typing and then chickening out and refreshing my browser on these before I post…and feel better for doing it.)
8. Pictures of your friend getting air sick on a flight (I am so glad I am not friends with the people who were snapping away at this very audible event on a flight I was recently on—true story.)
9. Pictures of drunk and/or drugged up people—what happens in your bathroom, stays in your bathroom.
10. Profanity, because you are smarter than that—and…okay, anything resembling the above.
1. Props to people, for any reason, tagging them, making them feel good and inspiring others to move forward in their passions, e.g. “Awesome job on this mural, Jake <tagged on a share from their page>!!”
2. Motivational memes, e.g. “Be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Gandhi.”
3. Self promotion—caveat, within reason (if it’s about 10 percent of what you post, great! If it’s 70, you may see a fall-off of interest and get bumped up to sucks). For example, “Check out this article about French Bulldog obsessions in the New York Times by yours truly!” (That’s okay—but if you promote a piece every day, you may find interest drop off as you are using Facebook to promote more than socialize.)
4. Writing something on another person’s wall just because…about how much you like them in a precise way, e.g. “Melissa, I thought of you today and remembered that time we were walking along 7th Avenue and you made me laugh so hard juice almost came out my nose—you really are one of the most genius people in my life and just knowing you makes me feel lucky.”
5. Anything that inspires you and makes you feel good, which just might get people inspired about the little or big things in their life, too, e.g., “Fresh cut grass—amazing smell of spring…winter’s grip released!!”
6. Condolences that are not ingratiating, but rather an effort to join in with others to mourn a loss, e.g. “Rest in peace, Tom, we will never forget you.”
7. Anything that connects other people or makes them feel woven into the fabric of life through adversity—this is where complaining turns into something productive, in my opinion. For example: “Did you ever notice that when you’ve had a really bad day, the next one is usually a whole lot better?”
8. Fun facts, wonders of the world, and the like.
9. Anything that sets people free to be who they are and do harmless things that might not be the norm, especially if it’s presented in a humorous way, e.g. “I don’t care what anyone says, once in a while, I’m going to eat cake for breakfast.”
In the end, Facebook is kind of revolutionary—you have power to brighten days, get people thinking outside the box, promote yourself in a classy way and do all kinds of things unimaginable just a half decade back.
I know you can think of more examples from either list so feel free to comment below.
And, I’m sure I’ve upset some people and I’m sorry for that…I write from a proactive place and am trying to apply this stuff to myself as much as I can!
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Ed: Bryonie Wise