Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Age of Information Over-Sharing


After a two-month hiatus, basking in the glow of swine flu and the Southern California economy, I've decided it was time for my much-anticipated return to the virtual world. Why, you ask? Well, with auto manufacturers collapsing, banks failing and disease spreading like a Hollywood rumor, I found it imperative to write about . . . Facebook.

Yes, Facebook. These are hard times, my dear readers, and no one knows that better than yours truly, who was recently - ahem - DUMPED by the king of all social networking.

It was a perfectly normal Thursday. And after a long day skirting the San Diego freeways I merely needed a cold glass of Crystal Light and a gluttonous helping of information-oversharing. But, as I logged in, I was met with the following message: "YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN DISABLED."

Why, you ask? Well, so did I. Upon further research, the disabling of my account was due to an "egregious" (yet unknown) violation of Facebook's terms of use.

Well this got me thinking. And thinking. And thinking some more. And then I thought, how is it that I have unwittingly committed such a violation to a TEENSY code of conduct and been expelled from the widespread circle that is all things Facebook, when everyday - EVERY SECOND! - thousands are committing gross violations of common decency in the name of status updates and wall posts!

So, as an excommunicated member of Facebook, I would like to give the following advice to those of you who still remain in the favor of the social networking gods.


Please, people, keep it pithy. We don't care if you just took milk out of your fridge. We don't need to know that you have PMS. We aren't looking for you to pour out your moral dilemmas or emotional upsets in 140 characters. We aren't aching for obligation to counter your self-deprecating update with a multitude of compliments. And we do NOT desire to be privy to your spiteful statements of revenge or offense. The following are status updates that should never have happened:

[Violator 1] just ate a burrito.

[Violator 2] thinks that guys who cancel dates an hour beforehand didn't deserve a date in the first place!

[Violator 3] just wonders if there really is anyone out there for her, or if she'll just be alone indefinitely like she is tonight, looking for cookies and melancholy music.

[Violator 4] wishes someone would ask her out already. What's wrong with me?

[Violator 5] is now single and loving every second of it!!!

[Violator 6] is broke and really needs anyone who owes her money to pay up!


On to wall posts. I cannot stress this concept enough - There are phone numbers. There are real email addresses. There's even a "send a message" option WITHIN Facebook. Why then, I ask, do I continue to receive wall posts that should be emails. Wall posts that should be phone calls. Wall posts that should never have been communicated in any form whatsoever?

[Violator 1] I should have told you awhile ago, but I decided that everyone who lived in the house in the last six months now owes $80 for the gas bill. This is because we got behind on the bill, have had late fees, and there were some months some people didn't pay. I decided we'd all just split the balance that remains. Oh, how have you been since you moved out three months ago?

[Violator 2] Who's the ugly dude in your pictures?

[Violator 3] Hey, I haven't talked to you in 7 years! You look great! It looks like you've lost some weight since high school. How did you do it? Do you recommend a certain diet? How many calories do you eat a day? Do you work out? I'm just looking to lose about 30 pounds and would really love your advice.

[Violator 4] Thanks again for last night.

[Violator 5] So, just out of curiosity, are you still dating that doctor that will prescribe anything to anyone? I actually DO think I have ADD and anxiety and am in a lot of pain all the time, so if you could give me his number, that would be great.

So, dear friends, as I hang up my Facebook hat and bid farewell to the close friends I haven't seen since the second grade, I urge you to use prudence in your virtual exhibitionism, lest you be a new victim of the tragically overexposed.