Facebook Fouls, Part 2

E. Louise

Last week, I brought you the first round of Facebook Fouls—crimes against (virtual) humanity, brazenly served up daily by friends, “friends,” neighbors, and people we last saw playing skeeball at Chuck E. Cheese.


To recap, the quotes included here are from the couple dozen Facebook users I surveyed who all (eagerly) weighed in to help me compile the list. 


Here’s 13-6.


Your Top 5 Facebook Fouls



5a. Your Friendly Family Facebook Stalker. These chronic over-users usually come in the form of a friend’s mom, a neighbor, a gay roommate from college, or your dad’s receptionist from 20 years ago. I always imagine these people in roughly the same set-up as you’d find in the back of an FBI surveillance van: five different monitors, walkie talkies, random flashing lights, all of it littered with a half dozen styrofoam coffee cups and the remains of a gas station sandwich.


Don’t know who I mean? Yes, you do. Everyone on the planet either has a FB stalker or is the stalker. Here’s a helpful checklist if you’re still confused (which, again, probably means you’re the problem):


1. "Likes” are completely non-discriminating. They’d literally “like” a picture of a crime scene if you posted it.


2. Timing is everything. All likes/comments arrive within seconds of your posts' appearance in the newsfeed.


3. They make you feel special, but you’re not. Again, lots of lights blinking, lots of Styrofoam coffee cups—700 friends, lots of work to do.


4. Text of stalkers’ posts are usually generic (your basic “Go Kevin!” stuff) but occasionally include random trips down memory lane. “Oh, Kevin, you always loved Halloween—I’ll never forget when you hid a stash of Twizzlers down your underpants. So cute!”


"Worst ever offense... Facebook stalker—that estranged family member or friend who feels they must comment on your every single fucking post. You can't unfriend them because they are your family. You try to escape to another social network like Path (which is really cool by the way) or Twitter and they find you there. You can't escape."


"One time, my brother uploaded photos of his baby—about six months worth—so there were 71 photos. About 10-15 minutes after he puts up all those photos, his phone starts to beep.... 71 times, because cause my mom "liked" every one of them. Then I introduced my mom to Pinterest.... my phone started beeping too—since she decided to link it to facebook and share ALL of her pins..."


 5b. The Inappropriate Facebook Stalker. A female former classmate of mine posted “Very sad, but my husband of 13 years and I have decided to separate.” The Inappropriate Facebook Stalker is the guy who clicked "like" immediately. And then asked if she was going to the fair tomorrow night. When you post photos of your kids playing in the backyard, he's the one whose comment will read something like "Damn! That daughter a' yours is gonna be as hot as her mama!" (And the kid's six. And you immediately remove the whole thread.) He's the guy who brings mild racism, thinly veiled sexual advances, impromptu anecdotes from high school, and porn to Facebook. Oh, don’t try to defriend him—he'll be right back in your friend requests the next day.


4. If I Didn’t Put It On Facebook, Did It Really Happen?


Headed to the gym.


Leaving the gym.


Having drinks at Oku.


Spending time with the children.


Every day, it’s like opening the “Stars, They’re Just Like Us!” section of US Weekly, but instead of seeing ScarJo pumping gas, we get… Lisa from 3rd grade math camp heading to the OB/GYN. Make no mistake, the real "miracle" of Facebook isn’t its ability to bring people together—it's how it can turn low to moderate self-esteem into sky-high narcissism. Your errands—just like your food—aren’t news.


Oh, hold on, it’s your vacation to Disney World with your kids that you’re posting? Yeah, that is special. Or, it was… Until you left your nine-year-old on Thunder Mountain in your rush to post “OMG, Thunder Mountain still scares me, LOL.”


Don’t get me wrong, if your phone was your kid, you’d be the best mom ever. But, since it’s not…. 


"Unacceptable: Listing everything you did or plan to do for the day—Facebook is not a diary. "Woke up, walked, ate lunch, off to meeting with XXX, Dinner with YYY and then to bed with ZZZ."


“Oh, you stopped at Ho-Ho’s House of Burgers for lunch with friends? Great. Then put down your goddamn phone and have lunch with friends.”


“I will defriend you online and off if you update Facebook while you spend time with me. Ever heard of ‘love the one you’re with?’”


 "Don’t keep posting pictures of every step of your vacation. I don't give a shit how many people were in line at the waffle station at the Hampton Inn in Hilton Head."


 "Why the fuck are you checking in at Food Lion or Rite Aid???  I guess it's okay if you're checking in at some amazing place while traveling, but I don't need to follow you through your Saturday errands."


 "To the people who post a picture of their plate of every course at every restaurant at every meal.... who "check-in" every door they walk through whether it be CVS, home, or a baseball game.... who post a link to everything they read, buy, watch... do you ever just live in the moment?"  


 "People who post something every hour. Your life's not that important."


 "Bragadocious vacation photos. Yes, I’m jealous, now put your phone down and drink a pina colada."


3. Political Windbags. I logged on recently only to be greeted by What The Republican Party Needs To Know About The 'Proud, Free, American Vaginas.' In the video, the woman’s crotch would supposedly speak to me.


Okay, no. No. If you think what I need on a Monday is to be lectured by someone’s hoo-ha, there’s been some sort of misunderstanding. My IQ is high enough that you can “fight the good fight” without involving your privates or any other props. This is Facebook, not some jacked-up episode of Sesame Street. Save it for your rally or for Kathy Griffin to recycle in her next HBO special. Social media isn’t that social.


But that’s just me. Am I the only one exhausted by political grandstanding on Facebook? I wondered this, but when I asked in my survey about abhorrent FB behavior, it was tough to tell how people felt. Here’s what they said they don’t like:

“ANY talk of politics, unless you are a politician for a living and I friended you.”


“Only making political posts.”


“Anything political!”


“I can't stand political posts.” 


“Any sort of political banter at any time about any issue.”


“Politics, religion, civil rights... save it for the March on Washington.”


“When I want well-researched, dispassionate information, I’ll read… the newspaper, the bathroom wall, anything but Facebook.”


“Politics—enough said…”


See what I mean? What am I, a mind reader?


The thing is, social norms don’t just evaporate because you’re not looking at the person. Shouting your opinion into cyberspace does not an intelligent debate make. That's just a version of Tourette's. Also, I’m not your congressman, and I don’t know a single person who’s changed their political stance because of the “most awesome, life-changing Facebook post.” You want to crusade for social justice? You might start by actually crusading. Having the same 12 people click Like twice a day doesn’t really do much to save the world. Make a difference or pipe down. 


2. Pregnancy and Kids Are Less Popular Than Politics? I’m Afraid So. I wrestled with how to explain what the problem is here—that my respondents and I don’t hate kids—and I think I’ve finally got it. Think National Lampoon’s Vacation. Good, old-fashioned family fun is great. But just like Clark W. Griswold, some folks clearly don’t know when to stop. They push and push and push, and next thing we know, we’re driving around with Aunt Edna’s corpse on the roof and Cousin Vicki’s French kissing her dad.


Putting your family on Facebook is about restraint. Knowing when to stop, and how much is too much. A) Don’t show us shit we shouldn’t see. I can’t believe I have to say this, but that includes your bare pregnant belly. And come to think of it, most things related to it (like any post that has the word “dilated” in it and is followed by a number of centimeters). These are things best reserved for family and doctors. And before you say it, no, not doctors on Facebook, your doctor.


2) If you’re a parent posting a photo of your daughter posing in a bathing suit, it better be because she just won the 200 IM in the Olympics. Everyone else? Have you taken a blow to the head recently? Left your meds at the beach? I know, I know, “But only my ‘friends’ can see it…” Really? You’d trust 780 people—including the ones like Hank, who you met for four seconds at the cheesy dip table at your neighbor’s barbecue—with your half-naked daughter? Listen, you’re her parent, not her agent.  How about giving your kids some privacy?


“Facebook was not created for you to post ONLY pictures of their kids.”


“Posting pics so soon after childbirth I can still see the goo on the baby is not okay.... especially if I can see the doctor in the background stitching the mom up.  I usually check FB when I sit down to eat (shudder). On second thought, it could be a new diet craze, the afterbirth gross-out diet.”


“A friend posts excruciating blow-by-blow details about her sons' Little League games... such as what the score is during each inning. Ugh. My. Eyes. Bleed.”


“Tween or teen girls in bikinis posted by their parents.... inappropriate, and dangerous.”


“Stop changing your profile picture to your child/children or dog.”


“Sonogram pictures.  Perhaps this is my on personal discomfort, but, really, why?!  Even after my own pregnancy and round of sonogram pics (which, by the way, no one on Facebook was any the wiser of EITHER of these things), I am not suddenly open to seeing other people's fetuses over my morning coffee.  I have a FB friend who "shared" one of her friend's sonogram pictures by posting it in her status update announcing "Can't wait to meet little boy Heffernan!"  She should just be banned from Facebook completely.


“Back to school pictures. Unless it’s my family or Godchild. I don’t care about Timmy’s first day at kindergarten!”


“Sonograms- Ew.”


“Could we go ahead and put a ban on putting your unborn child's sonogram on Facebook? I love babies and growing families just as much as the next person, but that shit gives me the heebie jeebies.” 


1. Couples. Well, I’m not a married gal. But my parents are, and I know other married people. I’ve been to their houses, too, so I think I’m somewhat familiar with the set-up. You live under the same roof, you use the same bathroom, your cars are even right next to each other. You tell each other things you can’t necessarily tell other people. And here’s what my respondents and I want to know: how and why does Facebook ever fit into that equation?


Hon, we should go back to Hotel Del Coronado. You know I love that place…


Happy Anniversary, baby!


Hampton, you are the best husband anyone could ask for.


“Having a romantic evening with my husband tonight—no kids! (10 minutes pass) Best night ever! (5 minutes pass) It’s just me and him… perfection!


I’m the luckiest guy in the WORLD!


Madyson, thank you for your support last night. I don't know what I'd do without you…


Every time I read one of those ass-tastic posts, I wonder: was there a live chainsaw running in their breakfast room this morning that it made it impossible to speak directly to each other? Is one of them deaf? Because I can’t think of a single other reason someone would log onto a social media site to tell their spouse something. It just doesn’t make any sense, period.


Well… I mean, there is ONE thing that comes to mind... a teeny tiny, miniscule, alternate reason for doing this, but it’s such an outside shot, I don’t even want to say it...


But I have to. Does your marriage need an audience? Because again, I've been to a LOT of married people's houses, haven't seen a ton of chainsaws idling inside. Reasons are pre-tty slim for marital/couple conversation to be broadcast online. I’ve actually heard someone argue, “It’s not about putting up a love-a-licious front, it’s about easy means of communication…” Right. Then how come real marriage-speak—“Marla, can you take out the mother f**ing trash?” or “Biff, which part of ‘can you pick up the kids?’ did you think meant ‘get shitfaced at happy hour?’"—is nowhere to be found? 


“Any Facebook updates that have the words "hubs", "hubby", or "wifey" make. me. cringe. People who comment on everything their significant other posts. We get it, you're together.”


 “Constantly needing to say how lucky you are to have your spouse makes me feel like you just finished doing something that might end your marriage.”


“I hate when people wish happy anniversary to the significant others on Facebook. You live with them for crying out loud, just fucking tell them in person. Or, wait, that wouldn't make you look as good right?”


“Why do spouses or girlfriends/boyfriends talk to one another through wall posts? ‘Happy Anniversary Honey!’”


“10 years ago today, I married my best friend….’ Does it bother anyone that just in the last hour, 16 other people on my wall said the exact same thing, exact same wording? Can we put a stop to this particular post? It’s on my nerves.”


“Talking to each other about something you easily say over breakfast—Remember when we {insert very upscale vacation destination here}…”


“The melodramatic "in" and "out" relationship changes when someone is going through a breakup are not something we need to see. Just because you’re miserable, we have to be part of this, too?”


“Watching a couple fight on Facebook. Here’s an actual example:

OLLIE: Almost two decades out the window. I never thought I'd be a statistic. I thought I had something special. Guess I'm just a chump.

KRISTIN:  It's only out the window if you don't take anything out of it. Lessons were learned and personal growth is possible.

KRISTIN: There were good memories, good times, and a lot of love. Not just bad. We did have something special and we killed it.....both of us.

PAM: You two aren't breaking up are you?

KRISTIN: I'm going to let Ollie answer that because I usually say everything wrong.

SUSAN: So sorry to hear this news!  

PAM: I suggest a GOOD marriage counselor. From what I've seen on Facebook it has always seemed like you two had something special. Hang on to it if you can.  

OLLIE: Kristin decided she couldn't live with damaged goods any longer.

KRISTIN: No, that's not quite right.

(Thread continues, but how about we just leave it there…)




“Facebook Foul: Posting pics of your new boat when I know your house is in foreclosure.”


“If I see another "someecard" I'm going to throw my laptop through the window.”


“I don't even know how this works but I'm getting dozens of notices of people pinning crap on Pinterest.  There is nothing I could care about less than what you find interesting on Pinterest.”


“Tag! You’re It! I’ll tag myself in photos if I like them, but thanks anyway.”


“Stop tagging me.  I'm not "it".  And we're not 7.”


“Don’t friend me just because we met once at a party for 2.5 seconds. That does not make us friends, it makes us strangers who just met.”


“I don’t need a play by play on your favorite sports team. If I wanted that much information, I’d actually watch the game.”


“Swearing on posts.  Really?  How about some class??”