I’m in my mid-forties and I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to Facebook and have wasted countless hours scrolling through my feed, reading your memes, looking at your cat pictures and silently judging you for your snarky, passive aggressive statuses. Admit it, you do the same thing. Well, maybe you aren’t judging quite so silently, depending on how many cocktails you’ve had or which hot button has been pushed.
I was a Facebook early adopter. When I first joined in December 2006 most of my friends were high school and college students that I did theatre with. Slowly, as my circle of friends grew, so did the average age of the people with whom I interacted. As time wore on, Facebook became this hybrid social media platform. It was a networking tool, an advertising medium and a way to keep in touch with friends and family, both near and far.
When my eldest daughter turned thirteen, I told her that she could get a Facebook account. I had artfully dodged requests from her friends while they were still in elementary school and told my daughter that when she was thirteen she could get an account. When her thirteenth birthday arrived, she sneered at me and said, “Facebook is for old people, Mom.” Oh, the humanity! Instead, her digital biography is being played out on Instagram, Twitter and, the site that I really don’t get, Snapchat.
For the better part of the last decade, I have checked my Facebook multiple times a day, with the exception of a brief hiatus I took during a difficult time a couple years ago. I have learned that when I begin to exhibit the Facebook behaviors that I loathe in others, it is time to step away.
There are several bad behaviors on Facebook and numerous articles about the subject have surfaced through the years. For me, Facebook reminds me of high school, a place fraught with cliques and stereotypes that really aren’t that different from the ones I endured almost thirty years ago:
The Mean Girls (Boys) These are people on Facebook that are constantly making sure you know how much better they are than you. They have more money, they have better jobs, they are smarter and better looking. They will constantly post selfies and statuses letting you know it, too.
The Popular Kids These are the people that have more “friends” than God. Their status can be something as mundane as, “I just ate breakfast,” and within five minutes 50 people will have liked their status.
The Jocks These are the folks that are constantly posting very excited comments about whatever ball game is on TV, in the language of the sport and referencing the team and/or player that everyone obviously should know.
The A/V Club If you need a video or photo fix, just check out their wall. Every viral video or meme that is trending is sure to be in their feed. These are also the folks that cannot resist taking pictures of their meal or every single sunrise/sunset.
The Theatre/Band Geek These are probably the people you get the most Facebook invites from. “Come see me in The Life and Times of Debbie Boone at the local community theatre!” or “My band is playing at the Up ‘n’ Chuck! Come on down!”
The Kids from Under the Bleachers They are just so in love and can’t stop displaying it, publicly, for all to see. Just… Ewwww!
The Class Clown Every status is an attempt at humor. Whether it’s about their kids, their boss, their pets or the funeral they just attended, they will find some way to make it funny.
The Nerd This the person you look up if your computer stopped working, thereby <gasp> making it impossible to post anything on Facebook. They are also the grammar police, the fact checkers, the urban myth de-bunkers and all-round social media buzzkills.
The Desperate to Fit In Type These are the ones that like everything you do on Facebook. Everything. Within seconds of posting it. They’d like it twice if they could.
The Debate Team This person must have the last word and will argue with you about anything. Whether it is gun control or the weather, they will always have an opinion that is different than yours. Oh, by the way, it’s the right one.
The Quiet Kid in the Corner In Facebook lingo, I call this person “The Lurker.” They never interact with you on Facebook but they know everything that is going on with your life based on what they gleaned from reading your Facebook page. They never comment on or like your posts but when they see you in person they bring up every detail of your life as if they had. Creepy.
The Rebel It’s all about the shock value. These are the ones that post photos of their open wounds, give you play by plays about their Grindr encounter or share every detail about their Brazilian wax. These are the people whose Facebook posts make you gasp or roll your eyes then run screaming from your computer with the “TMI! TMI! TMI!” falling from your lips.
The Party People Every single post involves alcohol or drugs. They are either planning a party, are on their way to a party, are at a party or are recovering from a party. (NOTE: Party can be used interchangeably with “bar,” “GNO,” “poker night,” etc.)
The God Squad People that can quote scripture from memory and use it in an effort to let you know how wrong your views on marriage equality, homosexuality, politics or religion are.
The Editor-in-Chief of the School Paper Facebook’s own town crier. Every circle of friends has one. Was there are a car accident in town? Did Kim Kardashian get exposed to Ebola? Have they found a cure for cancer? Did your third grade teacher die? Whenever something remotely newsworthy happens, this person is the first to share it. Even worse is the town crier of gloom and doom, the newsie who only shares bad news.
Have I missed any? What types of people do you see on Facebook that make you momentarily consider unfriending them? That is until you realize that you fall into one or more of those buckets yourself. Which one are you?