Facebook. It’s an interesting microcosm that teeters somewhere between the worlds of high school drama and creepy voyeurism. With very little work, people are able to link to the lives of friends and family that they haven’t seen in years. Decades, even. Peering into their daily minutiae remotely. Tuning in and out within seconds. It’s the abridged version of friendship, removing all of the unwanted parts of human socialization such as making eye contact and hearing people talk. It’s great.
However, there are underlying problems which emerge from this seemingly innocuous website – the innumerable grudges you hold against people who don’t like the things you post. More specifically, pictures you post. Of your kids. Doing cute things. Because, goddamnit, you know your kids are the best and you want the entire world to know it too!
Sure, it would be kind to allow for the benefit of the doubt. Said person is, after all, your friend (or, at least, someone possessing a quality that makes you hate them a little less than an enemy). So, you try to be understanding. You think, maybe they didn’t see your pictures. Maybe they got lost in the enormous feed from their 536 other “friends.” Maybe they were having a “screen-free” Wednesday. Maybe they were busy. Maybe they found a real life to lead. Maybe you’re not the center of their universe.
Alas, you would be wrong on several of those assumptions, namely because you know their type. You have cyber-stalked them via the modern stage just enough to know that they are not that strong-willed or interesting. No, they’ve been on the site. They just didn’t like your shit.
Everyone has at least a couple of people like this in their realm. The person who lives and breathes Facebook. They login every day from work. From the post office. From the grocery store checkout. In the middle of their kid’s soccer game. In the middle of traffic. In the middle of workouts. They are addicts!
Their posts are random, scattered across a day in an indecipherable pattern. Sometimes at noon. Sometimes at 5:30 p.m. Sometimes at 3:00 in the morning. They don’t want to miss a beat and they are always “in the know.” They are the Gladys Kravitz of their day (kids born before the “Bewitched” era or Nick-At-Nite might need to look up this reference).
Occasionally they post their thoughts on some reality show finale, or share an article they read on the Yahoo front page, but mostly they just “like” a bunch of stuff. They give out that cyber thumbs-up like it’s going out of style. To anyone and everyone. Almost as if they were cyber-whores seeking the twisted approval of others. They give props to just about any bit of trite and mundane news to come across their screen. “Joey ate tacos for lunch at that new Mexican restaurant yesterday.” Like. “Sports team X really needs to step up their game if they want to make playoffs!!” Like. “Here are some pictures of a bird I found on the internet.” Like.
Yet, in the short span of a year, when you have been selective and thoughtful in your posts, sharing only the best 10 pictures of your kids, you get nada. Zip. Nothing. So, what gives?! It’s always hard to pinpoint their reasoning. No one knows what goes on in someone’s head; but, you’re up for the challenge and you start to analyze them anyway.
Maybe you didn’t “like” their kids’ pictures enough. But why would you? Their kid is hideous and annoying. And he ripped up your favorite scarf and puked on your new wood floors. Besides, you still hit that beloved button on some of the things they post. Even the lame things. Such as that picture of them at the baby shower you weren’t invited to attend. Or a piece of cheesecake they “made.” No, there must be more to it than that.
Maybe they hate you because you look better in Capri pants than they do. Maybe they are jealous because their new baby looks more like Jabba the Hutt than any infant reasonably should (and yours, of course, doesn’t). Or even, possibly, they just don’t like your politics. Or your religion. Or your lack of politics. Or lack of religion. They find you detestable but, because they live under the delusion that they are “good people,” they give you the ultimate favor and act like you’re their friend. You know, because life isn’t already overflowing with pretentious assholes and posers. Plus they think you’ll never figure it out. Their hatred of you is invisible, so they have come to believe. From their standpoint, that deafening silence that radiates from their invisible cyber-disdain doesn’t even register as any sort of social faux pas. They assume you are too busy to notice. Well, think again, Frenemy!
You’re onto them! You know they don’t like you. And you have Facebook to thank for that. In addition to this new-found truth, another thing becomes glaringly obvious – you think they are a dick (even more than you did before). And despite any pleasantries and fake smiles you wear for them in public, you secretly, silently loathe their very existence just as much as they loathe yours.
The social gloves are off. Facebook has opened your eyes to the true, inner nature of people with whom you associate. And, once you have seen the light, there is no turning back. There isn’t a grand show of affection, a sincere act of kindness, or a humble moment of humanity that can turn back the tide of their absence in your profile. Things will forever be different. Even if only in your mind.
Besides, what’s the good of humanity without judgment, resentment and hatred for petty reasons? It was the foundation for great things such as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisitions, the Maury Povich Show and Yelp. It’s the one aspect of mankind that will never find itself removed from the evolutionary conveyor belt of life. It’s here for keeps. And Facebook is but one mere tool aiming to prolong its inevitable existence.
So, what happens now? Where do we go from here? There is really only one decent option – keep posting those pictures of your children. Do it with wild abandon. Stage the most adorable, cheek-pinchingly cute pictures of your munchkins and their angelic/photogenic faces. Add witty captions. Make it a weekly habit. Fill up your feed. Do it until people start unfriending you or removing your posts from their feed (not like you’ll notice, right?!). Do it like it’s going out of style. And, just when you can’t keep up with this demanding schedule any longer, remove the silent friend and/or friends from your Facebook register. Forever. And play dumb if they ever mention it to you.
Of course, with that said, this plan goes out the window if these insipid specimens of humanity finally give you a thumbs up. Hate them or not, getting cyber approval – ANY cyber approval – still feels pretty darn good! And, believe me, that is a human trait much more shameful than hatred.