We live in a digital age. Whether we want to admit it or not, at least half (if not more) of our lives plays out over the internet. I mean, you have a whole wide world at your fingertips, who wouldn’t take advantage of that? Now, the way that I see it, the internet can serve as two basic functions. On the one hand, it can serve as an introduction. Through blogging, I’ve met a number of people I otherwise would never have known. But the other “purpose” of the internet, and primarily social networking tools such as Facebook, is to maintain relationships that have been formed in the “real world.” Why just a few months ago, I got a Facebook friend request from my third grade teacher. But there are some things that Facebook should not stand in for. One of the common trends I’ve been noticing in the world of social networking is posting a blanket statement to the world, as opposed to sharing good or bad news personally or one on one. This isn’t a judgment call, but people need to release there is a time and place for a mass communication tool and there are other times where a traditional “save the date” card might be best. These are the five things one shouldn’t have to learn from Facebook.
I understand the practicality of this. I mean, it’s less postage this way and certainly saves some trees, but Facebook is not the place to announce your plans of marriage. I get creating an event, so that people can RSVP, especially if your friends are more tech-savvy, but this shouldn’t be the first way people are finding out about the wedding. I know, who’d have thought that I’d be one for the rules of convention? But maybe it’s the several times that I’ve found out that former classmates now share a mortgage and a hyphenated last name that brought me to this conclusion, but whatever got me here, I’m stickin’ to it.
In the same vein, a baby is always good news, but having a child pop up in your newsfeed when you didn’t even the woman was pregnant makes for an intensely more awkward experience. I mean, sure, it explains why she’d been putting on so much weight over the past few months, how how were you supposed to know that meant it was a baby? Some people just get fat. Okay, so maybe you should have gotten the whole pregnancy thing when that ultrasound photo was her Facebook profile picture for a while, but to be fair, those ultrasound photos are super fuzzy and kinda hard to read. Okay, this one may be on me and my genius skills of deduction, but I feel like babies at least deserve better than Facebook, maybe a mass e-mail?
I know that death is a tricky one. It’s bad news and with most bad news, you just wanna get it over with, right? Believe me, I get that. But still, if the person was important enough to some other Facebook friends, they at least deserve better than being relegated to a mopey status update. Like I said before, I understand why it would warrant a Facebook notification or two, but it shouldn’t be the first way someone hears about somebody dying. You may mock me for including this one, but believe me, past experience dictates that some people need reminding every so often. I still never got over finding out that my second grade teacher died from Facebook… Well, not “from” Facebook, but you know what I mean.
2. Break Ups
Another one that people are always tempted to use in lieu of having that painful conversation with each individual. The best part is when you never knew that the two people break up, but after one long (and probably alcohol-induced) diatribe lets it all out. See, not only did I not know that you guys were no longer an item, but evidently one of the two people in the relationship 9I’m not naming names) has a foot fetish. It’s true, you usually get the best information out of these bad break-up posts on Facebook, but the “grown up” part of me feels like I should encourage folks to be the bigger man (or woman) and save the stories, at least til the next party.
1. Gender Re-Assignment Surgery
I know this seems like an extreme, but I only say this because it’s happened to me at least twice. If you feel like we’re good enough friends that I should let you take up space in my newsfeed, you should probably let me know if you’re a dude or a girl. I’m not saying this out of disgust or frustration, but when you go to type in a friend’s name, like Sara and nothing shows up, it’s a little alarming. It’s only when you type in her last name that you realize Sara has become Steve. Nothing wrong with that, but a little heads up might’ve been nice, especially considering it’s kind of a big deal.