Posts Tagged Facebook

That’s bullshit: Reminder edition

That's Bullshit!I’ve had my problems with Facebook in the past (documented here, here, and here), but something new came up that annoys me about it and I felt like sharing: it’s being too helpful and taking one of my jobs from me.  Allow me to explain:

Last night, I said to my lovely wife, “It’s Lisa’s birthday on Sunday.”  “I know,” she replied, “Facebook told me.”  What’s wrong with that?  One of my roles in my group of friends is to be Chief Birthday Reminderer.  As CBR, I will text my friends the day of or the day before another friend’s birthday so that they’ll remember to send happy wishes.  My job – which I’ve held for over a dozen years, mind you – is far less necessary now that Facebook announces all of one’s “friends'” birthdays.

There’s another component that bothers me about this, and I fear it says a lot about me.  You see, I used to get “points” for remembering birthdays and anniversaries.  “Oh that’s so sweet of you to remember!” people would say.  Well now, I’ll send a thoughtful email and then go onto Facebook and see 30 of their closest “friends” wishing the same.  My memory was an asset when it came to birthdays and anniversaries, and now even my laziest friends can just go to Facebook and see that it’s Lisa’s birthday tomorrow.  And another thing: when my birthday comes around, I’m going to probably have a bunch of warm notes on my Facebook page wishing me a happy one.  That’s nice, but some of those people will be loose acquaintances who are just programmed to write me upon seeing other people doing it.  I know, it’s the thought that counts, but it feels like I’m saying to them, “It’s my birthday – celebrate me!”  I’m not that guy. 

Look, I understand that it’s a helpful service that allows people who are bad with dates can blend in with the rest of us.  Still, I feel like a small part of my identity has been taken from me, and do you know what that is?  Yes, that’s bullshit!

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Thanks for the update

While I’ve been known to say disparaging things about Facebook, I have to admit that it does provide its share of unintentional comedy.  Yesterday, I saw this piece of “news” and chuckled:

“(Name of ‘friend’ with whom I have zero contact) became a fan of Ari Gold and Maya Angelou.”

Oh yeah, that makes perfect sense.


Seeking attention

Happy BirthdayFacebook told me to “poke” my dad.  I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in California.

I have a larger problem with the terminology than the actual suggestion.  Who decided that “poke” was an acceptable way to get someone’s attention online?  In real life, poking someone is either rude or sexual, and yet Facebook wants it simply to mean, “Say hello to.”  That’s too big a leap for me.  And yet, it’s not as disturbing as when a gentleman with whom I work occasionally told me that he was going to tickle somebody.  I don’t know if you’ve heard this too, but I was certainly taken aback by it.  He used it essentially in the Facebook “poke” sense, saying that he needed to get back in touch with someone after a brief period of silence.  “I’ll make a note to tickle him later,” he said.  “As punishment for not returning an email?” I thought to myself.  Over the course of the next year, I heard this same person say that he’d tickle three or four other people.  Additionally, a completely different person said the he’d put something in his “tickle file.”  I don’t know if this term is generally accepted by millions of people and I just somehow didn’t get the memo, but I neither like it nor plan on ever hearing it without immediately judging the speaker.

Getting back to the word “poke,” I’m reminded of an article I saw online earlier this year: “What’s the Most Heartbreaking Song of All Time?” asked Entertainment Weekly’s site.  It’s not really an article as much as posing the question to the site’s readers, but the author says that a friend of his finds “Poke” by Frightened Rabbit at the top of her list of sad songs.  I know this song and agree that it’s particularly painful, but I doubt it would’ve come to mind.  In any case, there are 60 pages of comments by readers who list their own responses to the titular question.  Not 60 comments, but 60 pages full of them.

After reading through three or four of them and seeing the same types of comments over and over again (Song X is the saddest!  It always makes me cry – just look at these lyrics!), I saw an opportunity to add a little humor to the discussion.  “What’s the least heartbreaking song of all time?” I asked myself.  I thought about “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” but it was a little too on the nose for what I was trying to achieve.  “Happy Birthday” came to mind next, but I have a feeling some people actually find that song sad because it means that they’re aging.  So instead, I wrote the following:

“I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred makes me tear up every time. Can you imagine the inner torment of being too sexy for your shirt? How about Japan? Doing turns on the catwalk of life in front of way less sexy people…it must be hell on Earth. Great, now I’m crying again.

I meant to go back later to the site later to see if anyone either called me “funny,” “a jerk,”  or anything in between but I forgot.  I guess I’ll have to put that in my fondle file.

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