Mean Girls & Facebook

Posted on March 8, 2011

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I got culled on Facebook.

By someone who doesn’t like me.

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To be honest I’m not entirely sure why we were fb buddies in the first place because I’m not convinced this person ever really did like me, but WHATEVER… it’s only Facebook.

Right?

Why did I get culled?  It’s an interesting story.  And by interesting I mean lame and therefore will not bore you with the details – suffice to say that I was as surprised as you to learn that the person in question is, in fact, past puberty.

But this unforeseen turn of events got me to thinking about how Facebook has morphed from a social networking platform into a kind of social animal kingdom.

Mark Zuckerberg has pioneered a way for us to become Kings and Queens of our own little online worlds while simultaneously creating the ultimate portal to new-millennium validation – you know the kind where it’s not *real* validation unless your 432 friends are privy to it?

Think of it like Narnia, only more boring.

You can control what people see or don’t see, whether or not you engage with them and you can tailor your news feed so that only the funnest, most interesting people give you their life morsels to feast upon.  It’s truly the perfect crime.

We laugh blithely about how Facebook friendships aren’t *real* friendships and given that it costs nothing to have someone in your Facebook network, it’s the ultimate insult to be culled.  And the ultimate power trip to cull someone.

We are so lame.

But no! The monarchy isn’t lame!  We only use Facebook so adoring throngs can ‘like’ our witty and nonchalant status updates and stalk our photos.

Sure we dabble in the occasional timely comment thread or perhaps a stalk here and there, maybe we even use our Queendom to raise awareness or host fun events but in reality, life changes not one bit if you and I are *friends* or not.

We mostly showcase those parts of our lives we want to make public while making them sound juuust that little bit better or more dramatic than they actually are.

Case-in-point, my newsfeed used to look a lot like this:

“Having the most AWESOME TIME EVER with heaps of cool people and YOU’RE NOT INVITED!”

“Love you like FIRE, baby.  Our relationship is SO AMAZING.”

“If you only knew… *sad face* (aka I’m writing a cryptic status update so people will ask me what’s wrong)”

“OMG had the WORST DAY EVER not sure how to GO ON LIVING because I literally want to DIE.”

My personal favourites are those people who make cryptic booty calls.  Take this little broadcast gem from the other day:

“At home and horny.  Oh, hello hand!”

Sure I laughed, but in my defence I was equally horrified*.

Personally, I like my newsfeed like I like my wine.  Cheeky and robust with warm cherry overtones that carry through to an easy finish.

As a result, my news feed now does not include posts from people (however lovely) who incessantly:

  • Emotionally broadcast
  • Indulge in vomit-inducing cyber PDA’s
  • Tell me whenever they’re having THE BEST TIME EVER with @coolestpersonever
  • Talk about sex/getting drunk/Justin Beiber
  • Make dates to see other people via Facebook so everyone knows that they are catching up (nb: this includes making ‘dates’ with Jesus)

I’m totally down with the Big Kahuna but am yet to be convinced that having an awesome prayer time needs to be broadcast via Facebook.  I mean, What Would Mark Zuckerberg Do?

Probably steal your idea, find a way to make it better and then make billions from it.

Hence why I’m not friends with Mark Zuckerberg.

Or that person who culled me.

I find a rock to hide under around election times when people start cyber freaking out at each other over differing political ideologies and decide that healthy debate should involve abusing each other in the comments section of someone else’s status update.

I cringe when thinly veiled ‘I’m awesome because I’m doing this’ updates are posted.

But I cheer when I see witty one liners and self deprecating humour along with mindless, nonsensical updates about random and quirky situations.  I even like when people get occasionally noble and post links to current affairs or interesting editorials.

Mostly I wonder whether Facebook is just a giant feeding ground for our insecurities.

Is it worse that there is a like button next to my status update or that I actually care if people click it?

I mention this because the times in my life where I’ve shown the worst version of myself have been the times when my insecurities have not been checked or challenged.

I’m going to take a punt and say that this is as true for you as it is for me.  And in an environment where we are Kings and Queens of our own online worlds, these little Achilles Heels can run rampant.

For example, those people you meet and get along really well with who then completely destroy their first impression by saying ‘Yeah, totally friend me on Facbook because I don’t add people.’

Really?

I’ve also had a number of friends confess that they’ve had to stop Facebooking because they found themselves freaking out if people were commenting on other friends pages but not their own.  That they would spend waste hours checking up on people and making sure they were adding their little funnies into the mix so people would think they were cool.

I know people who have had friendships end over a misconstrued comment or a perceived criticism, which was made all the worse because 300 people saw it.

While Facebook can be super fun and a great way to keep in touch with people far away, the amount of times I see someone posting on someone’s wall and think ‘why did 500 people need to see that?’

It’s a lot.

But I do it too.  And why do we do it?

Because we loooooooove the validation.

We relish those times when people publicly acknowledge us.  It’s this eternal desire for significance we are all born with that Mark Zuckerberg has been able to satisfy with one click of a button.

But it’s junk food validation.  Cheap, easy and entirely bad for you.

This frighteningly lame Facebook culture is becoming a convenient substitute for authentic relationships.  You remember them – the kind that don’t need to be acted out public in order to be considered worthwhile.

But whatever, I have some ex boyfriends to stalk and some faux impressive status updates to post that will make my cyber minions fly into a frenzy of ZOMG WTF ROFLMAO.

Awesome.

Also, may I encourage you all to find the link to this blog on my wall and like it.  Otherwise no one will think it’s cool and that would be devastating to my carefully cultivated online reputation.

Yours superficially,

LK x

*may or may not have been equally horrified.

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Posted in: Talking Frankly