I have a challenge for you.
Go ask Google if there is anything that people should stop posting on social media sites. Just type in “things people need to stop posting on facebook,” or something to that effect.
Google does not come up short. In fact, the results are pretty overwhelming. You might not know it, but you’re probably breaking many unwritten rules of social media.
According to this list we’re not supposed to post:
– pregnancy updates
-milestones our children make
-medical conditions we or our children are experiencing
Pretty much anything about parenting is not kosher. In fact, if you’re a parent, you should probably just leave facebook altogether, according to this guy.
This one rules out:
-lengthy complaints about life
-complaining about your boss
-the frequent use of ellipses for some reason…
This one prohibits:
-emotions, specifically loving emotions directed at a significant other.
-Also, no reposting.
This lengthy manifesto rules out:
– cross-posting from twitter
-liking your own posts
-pushing the “like” button too often
And…this one lays out 24 types of pictures that people (actually, just women specifically, for some reason) aren’t allowed to post on facebook anymore. It’s an extensive list.
Now, I’ve read through all of these. Some are interesting, many point out some facebook activities that are silly, useless, selfish, etc…
And yet, after reading through these lists, I can’t help but think that there is only one thing that people really need to stop doing on social media sites.
People need to stop policing facebook like a kindergarten hall monitor.
No one liked the hall monitor in kindergarten, and no one likes the bitter, 25 year-old version of him prowling around facebook searching for offenders to rules that don’t exist.
Now I’m not saying you can’t hypothesize about the self-centered motivations that underlie most selfies, and braggy statuses. I’m not saying you have to love and appreciate everything that everyone posts. I’m not saying that everyone ought to post the things that they do.
I am saying that you should stop legislating from behind your computer screen, and telling people what they are allowed to post.
Also, I understand the irony of telling people not to tell people not to post things.
And yet, I stand by it.
1. These rules you invented don’t actually exist.
Guess what? There are no rules against “selfies,” or emotions, or potty-training on facebook. In fact, there are very few rules on facebook. Pretty much just no nudity, or racism as far as I know—so if you see any of that, feel free to report it.
The fact of the matter is that you are not the supreme judge of all that is and is not acceptable on facebook. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be in the first place, but if you do, just know that you are not.
You may say that angry political rants and bathroom selfies are unbearable, and I might agree with you. And yet, I’m not going to tell someone they are unacceptable, because it’s not up to me.
Additionally, it might behoove you to consider that what you find annoying, others may find interesting, or charming. The fact that you don’t particularly enjoy certain posts does not render them un-enjoyable. And even if they really are unbearable, you and everyone who feels that way have options…
2. Just because someone posts something doesn’t mean you have to look at it.
There is a very simple solution to the woes of having annoying facebook friends.
Do you find your classmate’s pouty-lipped selfies annoying? Block them.
Do your hall mate’s political posts drive you crazy? De-friend him.
Don’t like looking at pictures of food? Hide them, block the person who keeps posting them, or, dare I say it, ignore them.
In addition to the fact that, well, you don’t actually have to look at, or read anything that anyone posts online, Facebook is rife with ways to ensure that your e-universe is as exclusive, and closed-off as you desire. Go check out facebook’s many filtering options. You will endure “vaguebooking”, and “humble bragging” no more.
3. These things you prohibit are actually the best parts of facebook.
I’m gonna be honest, all the over-sharing, passive aggressiveness, and showing off that so many people seem to abhor are my favorite parts of the social media universe. In fact, other than being an easy way of keeping in touch with my family and friends without having to pick up the phone, these hilarious manifestations of human interaction are the only reason I still go on facebook.
Seeing a “friend’s” passive aggressive status that is very obviously directed at another “friend” is probably one of my favorite parts of the day. That kind of immaturity is at once kind of sad, and hilarious. And facebook lets you watch the whole thing play out. So, instead of playing the internet’s volunteer hall monitor, become a childish observer like the rest of us, and quietly judge all that beautiful social nonsense.
Or block it. Your choice.