I’ve made no bones about the fact that I dislike social networking. God knows I have tried to like it, but the longer I use Facebook, the more things I find that get under my skin. I decided to compile a list of some of my biggest pet peeves.
Copy-and-Paste Updates: Almost nothing drives me more crazy than people posting status updates that they have copied and pasted from someone else. We’ve all seen them. “Copy and paste this if you love Jesus. Only 70% of people will do this.” or “I love my parents/kids/pets. If you love your parents/kids/pets, then copy and paste this to a status update.”
These tactics remind me of forwarded emails that warn of the dangers of not forwarding some religious or political message to 10 more people. I don’t need to clutter my friend’s inboxes or home pages with such nonsense in order to prove that I love Jesus. It’s absurd.
Photo Tagging: I am very, very strict about posting photos of myself on the internet. That doesn’t mean I don’t do it – I just want to have total editorial control over my image. When my cousin snapped a photo of me last summer, posted it on Facebook, and tagged it with my name, I was beyond horrified. It was one of the worst images I’ve ever seen of myself, and since she tagged it, it showed up on my profile page and under my photos for all my friend list to see. I immediately removed the tag and asked her to delete the photo. She thought my reaction was hilarious, but did my bidding.
Facebook could easily improve this process by simply alerting the tagged person before the tag is published. Much like a friend request, you could get a notification that someone has tagged you in a photo before it’s published and have the ability to allow or disallow the tag.
Groups: Nothing tells more about a person than the groups that they join. One person on my friends list is constantly joining political groups, all of which are apparently copies of one another with a few words mixed around in the title. “Conservatives for America” and “American Conservatives” can’t be so different that they are both worth joining.
Apps: OMG. This might be the worst thing about Facebook. Nothing makes a profile page or a home page look as ugly as cluttering it up with postings from FarmTown, YoVille, or Mafia Wars. Repeated requests for help from friends in those applications is just as annoying.
I always block application requests when I get them, so very few requests ever get through anymore. However, that doesn’t keep me from seeing those same apps splattered all over my friend’s pages.
Politics: They say that one should never discuss politics or religion with company, but apparently that doesn’t apply to Facebook. People proudly announce their political affiliations (myself included) on their profile pages, but some go as far as posting politically-charged status updates. If I have to read another anti-Obama or anti-Democrat posting, I’ll… I’ll… I don’t know; hide the offending party?
Friend Requests From People I Don’t Know: I was very strict about who I let on my friend list in the beginning, but I’ve gotten a little lax about it over time. I started allowing friends-of-friends, and before I knew it, my list was out of hand. I have denied several requests simply because I didn’t know the person, but there are still several people on my list that I would consider to be acquaintances rather than friends.
‘Interested In’ Descriptor: Facebook doesn’t allow you to identify yourself as straight or gay, but it does provide a means of telling your friends if you are interested in men or women. The downfall of that is it the way it is worded. If my profile says I’m interested in men, one could easily assume that I’m available and looking – even though I’ve listed myself as being in a relationship. If I were female and declared that I was interested in friendship and women, would that mean I were a lesbian or just wanted female friends? It’s too confusing.
Drama: Too many people like to take out their frustrations on Facebook. This usually results in them reading more into what a person writes than they should, lashing out at the poor unsuspecting soul, and then humiliating them in front of their entire friend list. Case in point, Lady1 got up a few Sundays ago and posted that she was staying home with the kids because one of them was sick. A few minutes later (and probably totally unrelated) Lady2 posted something about how we always make time to do what we want during the week, but we often don’t make time for God/church on Sunday mornings. Lady1’s husband then went on Lady2’s profile page to attack her repeatedly over the next two days. The point is… there’s enough drama in everyday life without letting it spill over onto Facebook. Keep it light and fluffy.
The Home Page: After a recent update, the home page on Facebook now shows two feeds – Live and News. Most people seem to have no idea what the difference is, and therefore find it confusing. I finally looked it up under Facebook’s help files and learned the difference. Surely this would classify as bad site design when users have to resort to help files just to navigate the home page.
Shortened Attention Spans: I was reading a blog yesterday that had recently posted a rather long entry. The three comments underneath the article all blasted it for being too long for today’s readers, and one even pointed out that it was “outdated” to post anything longer than a tweet. Perhaps Facebook bears some responsibility for societal ADD. I wonder if people will still read books in a few years, since that would require turning a page every once in a while.
Time Consumption: Nary an hour goes by that I’m not clicking into Facebook to see what my friends are up to. After checking my email, this site was typically my first choice after logging onto the internet. Now, the bookmark to Facebook beckons me like a drug I can’t quit. I’ll bet I have checked Facebook at least 10 times since I started writing this article.
It’s Like a Cult: That pretty much sums it up. Remember “Hotel California” by the Eagles? “You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.” Oh, I’ve thought about closing my account more times than you can imagine, but then I start wondering how I’ll keep up with what my friends and family members are doing. Many of them don’t even send me regular emails anymore, they just send messages through Facebook. Am I prepared to be so out of the loop? Not yet, but the longer I use it, the less likely I’m gonna be to leave. I think the fact that it somehow controls me makes me hate it more than anything else.
Well, there you go. What irritates you most about Facebook? Any ideas for how I can make it less stressful and more enjoyable?