We are witnessing the tabloidization of everyday life. Regular people are acting like mini-celebrities, announcing their every move in the way famous people once did in the gossip pages.
– Amanda Fortini in The Facebook Divorce, for Salon.com
For all its usefulness, Facebook has largely become a burden. The social media norms are still in flux, the stepping on of toes is rampant, and there are way too many goddamn “Which superhero are you?” quizes that beg for the “Hide” button.
But as Fortini shows in her article, the trouble can be much more personal. Personal, and groan-worthy.
As a former passive-aggressive nut, I’ve come to loathe passive-aggressiveness in others. Say something without really coming out and saying it, and we won’t be friends for long.
On Facebook, though, this kind of thing is normal. Sadistic hints and obtuse status updates are a gold mine for attention whores. Leave a cryptic enough message, and you’ll get plenty of “What happened?” comments underneath.
It makes one long for a ringing phone.
Our grandparents understood something called “class.” Passive-aggressive updates, or using a web site to manage your real-world relationships, is not classy.
What will probably happen is Facebook will become uncool, just as Myspace did, and everyone will jump ship to something else. It’s already happening. In that case, not much of this will matter because some of the rules will change.
Some won’t, though. I’m nervous that the rules that stick around will be the ones Fortini warns about, and I fear for our culture if/when that happens.
I also fear that Facebook, and sites like it, are becoming the new TV – giant time-sucks that prevent us from stepping outside, facing the sunshine, and breathing in the real world with all its real problems and real beauties. Admit it: you know who spends all day on Facebook (or Twitter, or whatever), and you wonder, “Shouldn’t they get a frickin’ hobby?”
Yes, they should.
Just keep it classy, folks. And keep your id out of your status.