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Davis, California

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Column: Facebook faux pas

As much as I hate to admit it, social networking sites are becoming an inevitable part of our social and working lives. Facebook messages are starting to replace friendly phone calls and certain jobs require workers to update their company’s Facebook or Twitter page. We organize study sessions through the Facebook group function and we plan our parties with the event tool.

Yes, it appears Facebook has its perks. Another, for example, is the way the website can make us feel super cool. When I log into my Facebook, one of the first things I see is that I have 532 friends. That’s enough to make anyone feel warm and fuzzy inside.

However, when I actually stop and think about my closest friends, there’s probably only 15 to 20 people that come to mind – this includes my parents and siblings. I guess only nine to 14 people really come to mind then. So my question is who the hell are all these other people? Why did they add me? Why did I add them?

One conclusion I’ve come up with is that Facebook has unintentionally encouraged people to become friend hoarders. These are those people that go around adding obscure acquaintances just to raise their numbers and self-esteem. If you are friends with someone who barely talked to you in high school, you are probably a victim of friend hoarding.

I know I’ve been friend hoarded on a number of occasions. In fact, if we are going with the same numbers from earlier, I guess I’ve been friend hoarded at least 523 times now.

One might suggest that I occasionally Facebook purge to eliminate building up a bunch of “friends” that I’m not actually friends with. This entails going through your friends list and deleting those people you have yet to communicate with since adding them two years ago.

While this is a great suggestion, it makes you overlook the things you’ll miss out on when you delete these people. In case you didn’t realize, there is actually a lot of entertainment value in looking at someone’s Facebook that you barely know.

One example of this – and a personal favorite of mind – is the passive aggressive Facebook status. Here’s a few examples: Chelcy is soo over it. John Smith is moving on with his life. Winnie the Pooh hates hypocrites.

As you have probably witnessed firsthand, these are Facebook statuses (Statii? Whatever.) directed at one person in particular in an effort to get across some kind of profound message. They are usually in reference to an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend and are hardly ever effective. The fact that you thought to post something like this in first place only proves how not “over it” you really are.

This tendency always reminds me of this stand-up act by Zach Galifianakis (aka the silly bearded man from The Hangover). Galifianakis says that while people at concerts generally yell out things like “Woooo” or “Yeaaaahhh,” he prefers to yell out more specific things. When he likes a song he might yell, “The way you play music makes me feel good inside!” When he wants an encore, he’ll shout, “Come out and play some songs you haven’t played yet!”

Passive aggressive status makers can take a lesson from Galifianakis. If you’re going to go as far as to say how “over it” you are, at least elaborate on what you’re talking about it. Specificity will establish your point better than some vague statement. Or better yet, simply refrain from airing your dirty laundry on a public forum and just post something generic like “Peter is watching Ellen.”

Anyway, despite awkward status posters and friend hoarders, I don’t think Facebook is completely awful. I appreciate having a way to talk with my friends studying abroad and a website to zone out on during class.

Plus, you can poke whoever the heck you want. Could you do that to a random acquaintance in real life without it being weird? Probably not. You can on Facebook though, and that’s pretty neat.

Okay, it would still be kind of weird.

AMANDA HARDWICK had to Wikipedia “faux pas” to make sure she used it in the right context. She’s still unsure. Give her your thoughts at aghardwick@ucdavis.edu.


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