Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Gripe

I feel the need to gripe, and I think I'm justified in doing so.

I recently joined Facebook, and was ultimately pleased to find out I have 62 friends. I may not be nearly as close to all of them as I'd like to be, but they're there. It's good to know I have people who care, even if some only do so peripherally.

Now, every single day since I've signed up, I've stopped in to see what my friends are up to. Like my friend Dawn, who is not only my little friend Lizzy's mom, but also VERY active within the cancer community. Need to know about a blood or bone marrow drive on the eastern end of Long Island? Dawn's your woman. Then there's Bryan, who rarely updates, but when he does, he makes a comment that can be understood by all. Like this evening, when he wrote, "What a wonderful night for a fire." Odds are good that he loaded up his fireplace, set a log to roasting, and settled down with his lovely wife for some relaxation time. (No idea how much of that is accurate, but that's the idea I got when I read what he said.)

None of this is anything to complain about. Some of my friends make perfectly coherent posts on their status, and that includes Becky, who is so much more than a friend.

Conversely, there is an entire crowd of people who put updates on FB all day long, and NONE of them can be understood. Like one person who put the following message up: "Great...I'm effing terrible now at something I was great at." What was this person good at? What makes this person think they're now terrible at it? How important is this task? Is it as important as being able to communicate clearly or as trivial as a video game? I would say the former on that last question, as I have no clue what this person is talking about.

It ultimately becomes bothersome because MANY people do this. They leave these cryptic messages on the pages, and then leave it for everyone to guess what they're talking about. Then, when an attempt is made to find out what they're talking about, they manage to answer nothing. It remains a mystery, and that just kind of ticks me off.

Take Siege, for example. He says he got community service, despite being innocent. Well, that's great. What was he accused of doing? I asked that question directly. The answer was...nothing at all. I received no response whatsoever. It was as though I hadn't typed a thing.

If this was an occasional occurrence, it wouldn't bother me so much. But when it seems to happen daily, it gets a little tiring. So I think I'm going to start doing some of it myself, as well as start posting beneath such cryptic messages, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Elaborate or shut up." Not exactly the kind of thing a "friend" would say, but then friends also wouldn't make you play detective to find out what's going on in their lives.

And that is the end of my brief rant. I'm off to fight crime and the like until Becky is off from work. Be well, all.

1 comment:

Valiant Turtle said...

I sometimes feel the same way, but I take a somewhat more clinical view of things (remnants of my Psych major coming out). I figure the real point is that they just want to let off steam and sometimes provide a little bit of context, but rarely the whole story.

For all the media wangst about kids putting up everything publicly I think the truth is they generally navigate the public/private divide with a lot of skill (and most of our friends who do this are on the younger side - though not exclusively). I could see Siege not wanting those details posted on his wall anywhere, but I'd say you probably deserve the information privately.

In most cases the details don't really matter and people just need affirmation/hugs/off-color-jokes. You however have great skill in helping people with/through the details. You can do a lot more with the details than most, even if it's just to help you find the right Bor story to tell.

And of course it's frequently people being lazy and not using FB's features to limit who sees the posts. On the other hand if parents have full access to kids accounts it can be a way to send context sensitive messages. I read a neat article about that recently. Let me dig that up...

Here it is, and it's even more about what you're talking about than I remembered: http://www.danah.org/papers/talks/2010/AOIR2010.html