Earlier this week a Facebook friend posted both a status and a checklist indicating that various things are “Facebook Abuse.” These things include, but are not limited to, “overposting,” and “inspirational quotes.” This person objects, specifically, to the posting of quotations superimposed on a photo or drawing that is not created and written by the poster.
All week I have stewed about this. As I have said before, Facebook is my playground. I try to be somewhat careful not to get myself fired, unfriended, or added to lists of those plotting to overthrow the United States, but other than that…all bets are off. I suspect that everyone has things on Facebook that they like and things on Facebook that they hate. I don’t mind the inspirational or humorous quotes, and I am rarely concerned about the number of statuses someone else posts in a day. If I find the person annoying, I “hide” them as I have hidden game requests and horoscopes. My favorite things are updates that give me news or insight into the mental state of my “friends,” tips of various kinds, and articles on subjects of interest.
Although I read some political pieces, I mostly think that posters are preaching vigorously to the choir; no one I know has ever been led to change their mind on any serious political or social issue because 500 articles on the topic went through their feed. If anything, I have seen people become argumentative and more deeply entrenched. That’s fine as far as it goes, but let’s be honest about whether we are out to stir the pot or believe that we are changing hearts and minds. I have gained information and depth of perspective from a handful of extraordinarily well-written political posts, but I am under no illusion that posting them myself would convert or straighten out those among my family and friends on Facebook who are otherwise inclined. They would simply view me as self-righteous and (still) wrong.
Bottom line: If I want to post something totally uninteresting every five minutes all day long, you can hide me. If the things on my timeline do not suit your high standards for critical thinking, you needn’t look at them. If I whine, if I post inspirational quotes, if I post every day about what I made for dinner…you can “unfriend” me and be spared the acute and searing agony of my misuse of Facebook. I’m off to find some cute pictures of cats.