Proper Facebook Etiquette

#311 Being crushed

Sunday 17th February, 2008

Facebook status updates are all very well, but am I being paranoid? it seems that all my friends are having a better time than me, I’m being crushed by their exciting events.

So huge a sense of your friends anticipated activities, it’s easy to lose sight of the You at the centre of the network hub. When not on Facebook, friends can offer us little insights into their lives and we can negotiate around these for ourselves as ‘what is the news’ becomes how much we want to be revealed. There’s nothing like the skill of being able to change the subject when once a friends has recalled for the third time how wonderful their time away, latest date, newest set of work successes etc are.

This issue intersects across the regeneration of power and control that is about your own involvement in your sets of networks. As much as Facebook gives a buoyant sense of opportunity; offering formidable encounters that can take place across the Wall, the ‘simple’ poke and message exchange these are social actions self-generating, i.e. you are in control of the how and when these take place. By contrast your friend’s status updates are a tool outside of your control, well at least in terms of content. And yet you can limit how much you hear about, or rather ‘see’ of your friend’s by applying personalised settings to your network newsfeed stories. Facebook has made this even easier on the home page, with one fail click of the down-turned thumb sign gone is the latest update that may have ‘crushed’ you.

But this has its own set of risks. What if you should miss that ‘essential’ update that is: ‘lottery win, drinks on me now’, or ‘got engaged party at mine’, or ‘baked a cake any takers?’ And so the relation between knowledge and too much knowledge is based upon a set of very personal faculties whose individual responsibility is to make sense of updates that can be interpreted as a source of amusement, or expose those little gaps and envious pockets in daily life as evidence of how ‘dull’ or ‘uninteresting’ things are in your own life.

Of course there’s nothing to stop you from making things seem more adventurous and interesting in your own life. Who’s going to know that you have not ‘just completed my first base jump’, or ‘rediscovered the meaning of life’. Ultimately status updates are the mediated social equivalent of putting up a front, a form of visual and ‘newsworthy’ declarations that are intended for amusement, nonsense and insight into the daily grind. The important to thing to recognise is that we all do it, just with differing degrees of accomplishment and relevance!

2 Responses to “#311 Being crushed”

  1. Miss Maz Hardey says:

    @ joe,

    as the song goes ‘dont believe the hype’, but hey if you can suddenly take on ‘super powers’ have your fun – your friends will know the ‘real’ you anyway!

  2. Joe says:

    The risk is that everyone starts hyping up themselves so that SNS begins to get a bit hyperreal. Suddenly that geek Joe seems to be base jumping, pulling and all sorts but he is still over weight and has not in RL moved far from his PC. Would this rot SNS?

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