It’s Not You (Facebook), It’s Me (Oversharing)

Do people still ask this question?

I’m on Facebook way too much. There is no need to be clicking through profiles and liking status updates and indirectly searching for ex-girlfriends for 12 hours a day. I need to get it down to more tolerable levels, like 10 hours a day. The problem isn’t really about the amount of time spent. I can “quit” whenever I “want”. I just choose to be late for work or school or life. No no no the problem is that in that amount of time we are given ample opportunities to waste more time, in the form of oversharing.

Howard Greenstein over at the social media site Mashable (Twitter: @mashable go figure) posted this piece about the necessity of filtering in social media. Seems like some good points to be had, especially as yours truly contemplates a smarter plan of attack on what to tweet/post and not as our professional/social and online/offline lives become increasingly the same. I mean I just looked at my twitter feed on the side of this blog. I really should take that down. No one cares.

Nor should they really. As the site suggests one of the biggest issues is the lack of feedback to let us know when we are being Grade A-holes with out Facebooking and Tweeting. I’m looking at you, Mafia Warriors, and me, incessant FourSquare checker-inner. Think of the ol land line phones those of you born before the 90s used. Remember when you could hear a bit of an echo in your voice? Now we just get mad when AT&T’s service occasionally does that on our iPhones (well those of us who HAVE iPhones–so jealous). But it was there for a reason. To remind yourself that you are, in fact, saying things that others can hear. Key word on others. I know I don’t like to be reminded that I talk too much, but I probably need to anyway. And others thank me for it.

This doesn’t happen on Facebook and Twitter, but Greenstein says it should. We can hide each other’s stupid shit, even going so far as to filter it according to specific things. Good, now I can get rid of Farmville, instead of the friends using it. But perhaps I should get rid of them too, or at least let them know that I’ve hidden that part. Feedback is a two-way street, except on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve got no idea how someone has customized their pages according to what we post until it’s too late and you find their name in the right hand corner under “Suggested Friends.” It’s awkward, but not as awkward as when you get confronted about it outside of a bar, in real life.

What I am saying is Facebook and Twitter are REAL LIFE We don’t need more ways for annoying friends to be annoying . When annoying friends do annoying things, we should not only be able to bracket them, but let them know if we so choose.
Greenstein, and common sense Internet etiquette, make an excellent point about finding the balance in the crazy sharing. If you post everything about your life its like that annoying person in a speech round (for my forensics friends) who has to dramatize everything. If everything is emphasized, nothing is. And then you’ll sit there crying about how no one came to your party because they’ve hidden everything you ever post like the ex-gf they don’t want to be reminded of, until they do. And by then it’s too late.

And for Mac’s sake can you all just stop sending Facebook event invites out to everyone you know? I don’t need anymore reminders that I do not live in New York.


About Joe Faina

Rhetoric & Media Professor, Writer, Humorist

Posted on 06/21/2010, in acting right, social media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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