'Friend' or foe?

'Friend' or foe?

Touching on a few essentials for writing a good Facebook post

By Amy Tenowich 02/21/2013

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The family puppy wearing a fez, a colorful farm-to-table meal, and anything shared from George Takei — these are the kinds of posts that successfully accomplish Facebook’s mission: To give us all something fun to look at when we’re bored at work. But some other types of posts that I see trending — and the follow-up comments — baffle me.

One of the most popular is the “Fishing-For-Questions” post — a dramatic, open-ended statement that can mean you either ran out of cooking spray, or that your body has just rejected your recent organ transplant. Example: “Well … I guess it’s really, finally come to this.” The Facebook paparazzi immediately swarm the post, as both BFFs and people no one remembers friending rabidly pepper the page with mounting questions that go unanswered, deliciously building the tension. “Oh my god! It’s finally come to WHAT? TO WHAT???” And, “Please, I’m sooo freaking out right now … & ur phone went to vm!!” Blood pressures are rising dangerously high … people are frothing … they are actually cannibalizing each other. Oh god, please reply! Let them know what it’s truly “finally coming to” before 37 people OD/riot/sleep with strangers to quell the anxiety!

OMG! A reply on the post from the poster:
“Oh, no biggie — I just had to finally switch to sensitive toothpaste.”

The poster’s 15 seconds of fame don’t end there. Now, instead of making a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder, or better yet, ignoring this, the throngs post endless comments of relief that our tender-gummed hero is going to survive. “Ohhh … I’m soooo happy to hear you are okaaaay!!! I was soooo worried!!” You’d think the person was on a space mission and had been harvested for body parts by aliens. FYI, these people are like 40.
This leads to a sister genre, the “Out-Of-The-Blue-Be-Concerned-About-Me” post. The variations are endless, but here is an example: “Starting to finally see the light at the end of a verrry dark tunnel…” An immediate flurry of 27 “likes” and comments like, “Hang in there! Namaste!!!” And, “Ur da best luv u sooo much be strong!” Then sage words like, “U can only appreciate the lite after the drk. Heart.” Now, of course if this person had posted a photo from inside an actual tunnel, this would be funny. But the Facebook-a-sphere had no idea things had been so morbid for this person for so long. And why would they? Roughly every 17 minutes for the past three weeks, the user had posted photos of herself baking cupcakes, skiing Vail, accepting an award, inquisitively holding three different paint chips next to a wall inside a new weekend home, etc.

Next, there’s the post about making a simple decision, consulting everyone the person’s ever met since potty training. “Hmmm … at the checkout line. Paper or plastic? Choices!” Really? Choices? You’re a corporate attorney.

But the “TMI” post takes the gold. Facebook is a great way to share your milestone moments — but let’s keep it zipped up about certain details, like the album of you birthing in a kiddie pool in your loft, and any New-Agey plans with the placenta. Also for the “Do-Not-Post” list is that shot of daddy cutting the cord. Look, dad’s a wannabe screenwriter and has never picked up a tool in his life other than his nose hair clippers. His first crack at dexterity is the ribbon-cutting at your baby’s grand opening ceremony?

This just in: A friend IM'd me that her friend has a friend who just posted that she will not be circumcising her baby boy, because it is akin “to what they do to those girls in Africa.” Snip or don’t, but last I heard, American doctors weren’t using off-brand-soda-bottle shards for the mutilation and oppression of little boys. Also, let’s not draw so much public attention to your child’s foreskin. He’ll thank you in about 12 years.

I’ll bet that lady was one of the people who pasted that thing in her status about “hereby and henceforth ergo but not limited to, my copyright is ‘mine’ and I do not ‘authorize’ Facebook or any agent thereof to steal my verbiage or images.” Because let’s face it, we all want those sepia shots from her “Baby Zane’s Unaltered Penis” album for our lockets.

All said, maybe everyone deserves a few passes … like me, that time I posted a sympathy-seeking picture of my bandaged finger after getting bitten by a squirrel, even though I had been brilliant enough to try to feed wild varmints barehanded. Or perhaps I’m just afraid that I’ll be unfriended by nearly everyone I know for writing this. If I am, maybe I’ll post something like, “Have you ever lost almost everything?!?” Maybe then, people will “like” me again.

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