Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Are You An Annoying Friend On Facebook?

Most of us use Facebook and whilst many of us use it to keep up with others, there are those who use it to irritate the rest of us. Perhaps you can identify yourself and your friends on the list of annoyances that follow.

When I was younger I had an imaginary friend, but nowadays most people have several hundred on social networks. If you have hundreds of Facebook friends, you either aren’t very fussy about the friends you keep or a Facebook slag. Facebook friends are like sock drawers; most people can't be bothered to sort them out and there's a lot of odd ones in there.

We all have a few show-off friends who unnecessarily check themselves in everywhere they go. Important to show you have a social life, right? The only useful purpose in letting people know where you are is to alert nearby friends who may want to join you. I understand the checker-inners when out and about better than the people who check in at home; posting up their home location then at other times moaning about Facebook privacy settings.

Quite similar are the “Look what I'm doing everyone!” brigade. With them you get lots of crass status updates like “Look at what I've bought!”, “Look how well I'm doing!”, “Look what I am eating!”, “Look where I am!” etc.

You probably aren’t too aware of them but everyone has a Facebook stalker. We hear little from them, but they are stealthily processing what is going on like an autistic secret agent. It’s a social network, so do what it says on the tin - be social and network, not watch reclusively from a distance. They’re akin to the little kid in nursery who watches shyly from the sidelines while everyone else joins in the playground games.

Paradoxically, the 'friend collector' will add every single person they ever meet plus some online buddies who they never have and never will. If you are Alan Partridge you can use these numbers to win popularity arguments.

There are growing numbers of attention/sympathy seekers, who crave a 'like' for their status. They are often blatant to the point of “Click 'like' if you think I'm hot”. Shame there is no 'slap' button. The desperate 'like' givers are equally slappable. They think it makes them more endearing when they like their friend's statuses even if the friend is doing something mundane like mowing the lawn.

Perhaps you are the perennial joke-teller who just likes to amuse whilst revealing nothing of your life? Guilty, your honour. A darker-natured joke won't get an official 'like', just a secret giggle, as people don’t want to be associated with anything too edgy.

It's a juvenile trait, and thankfully not too many of my friends do it, but public proclamations of love are particularly pukey and bugbeary. Quite often these soppy outpourings are to fellow house-mates. Have people stopped talking in person? We do not wanna read your slush!

It is usually parental types who publish alarmist warnings, such as Facebook charging, closing down, changing their privacy settings or other scaremongery. Thankfully these are a dying breed as many seem to be slowly learning. www.snopes.com will put you right on these hoaxes if you don't have the gumption to figure it out yourself. When ever I tell people not to be so wide-eyed they inevitably reply, “I thought I would forward it just in case. No harm done.”

Plenty of us have gullible friends who warn that 'if someone called soandso@hotmail.com tries to add you to their contact list - do not accept, he is a paedophile'. They don't realise these are fake, often spiteful alerts. Perhaps the paedo is trying to be friends with you to access the pictures of your children in the bath which you have uploaded into the public domain? Maybe you'll get a virus if you add them. You wouldn't want to “lose everything in your computer”.

The sentimentalists publish statuses like”1 in 3 of us will get cancer. If you know anyone who has been affected by it, please post this as a sign of respect”, “If you support our troops please post this to your profile”, “If you believe child cruelty is terrible, please show your support by reposting” etc. If you really want to show you care, send some money to Macmillan Cancer or Help for Heroes or NSPCC. Posting for show must stop. FULL STOP.

Sponsorship requests from do-gooders have reached saturation point now. I ignore all except the people who have sponsored my do-goodery in the past. I do like to do my bit for Charity though. She has two young kids to support and lap dancing only pays so many bills.

I bet you have been invited to an event on the other side of the world from an old friend who hasn’t bothered to whittle down their guests. Who in London wants an invite to a gig in Australia when trains don't run as late as they should in the capital? No doubt you have been invited to pointless groups by pointless friends too, e.g. 'If I get 1 million 'likes' I will shoot my teacher'.

A friend of mine was once in a very bad way. He lived in a high rise block and was posting some very bleak messages on Facebook. His last one said “I am standing on the roof of my block of flats. I am looking down and feeling like I want to end it all”. What do you say in situations like that? Actions speak louder than words so I gave him a poke.

I don't actually get annoyed by game requests any more, as I have blocked them all. So I won't know if any of my friends have worked out how profitable it is growing weed on Farmville and selling it on in Mafia Wars. If kids actually learnt anything from games, we would see more of this kind of industriousness on Junior Apprentice instead of kiddies playing Doctors and Nurses.

Once you reach a certain age, people around you will start getting pregnant. You will know about this when their profile picture changes to an ultrasound scan, then every subsequent status will be about being up the spout. You may be lucky enough to be friend requested by a foetus when the mother sets up an account for it.

Everyone over a certain age (13 in England) has a proud parent friend, the sort of middle-aged bore who only ever talks about their kids and their achievements. It may be their first steps, a good grade, doing well in the school play or endless gormless photos. Posts like “My little girl laughed at the television today” are so pointless. All kids do - it's their only form of entertainment since you sit on Facebook all day!

The confessional Facebooker reveals too much information about themselves. “What does it mean if you have blood emanating from your rectum?” asked a na├»ve Polish friend from school. It means you are too ignorant to work Google! Have you got piles or did you pass out while someone smashed in your back door?

The tedious types will insist on telling you absolutely everything they do in the day, but they rarely do anything worth mentioning. John Smith just made a cup of tea. John Smith just made some toast with butter mmmmmm. John Smith is going for a dump. I only want to hear INTERESTING UPDATES. I do not care that your right big toe hurts when you squeeze it.

Dana Hanna took updating to a new extreme when he updated his Twitter and Facebook status whilst he was taking his marriage vows. He handed his phone over to his wife to update hers mid-vow too. I just hope that man was pushing the right buttons on the first night of his honeymoon.

If you have full-blown fights on Facebook walls, it is time to admit to your underclassedness. More so if doing it in wretched text speak. Why clog up our newsfeeds by airing your Burberry laundry in public? In a similar vein are the irritants who ignite a Facebook face-off with a snidey status, indirectly referring to the subject with the intention of winding them up.

Perhaps you are a town-crier? When there is a big news story, you have to get onto Facebook or Twitter and tell everyone first. You are the social network version of the Daily Mail, who pressed the publish button as soon as the judge mentioned “guilty” in the Amanda Knox trial, not realising it was for slander and not murder which she was subsequently cleared. The 'Fastest Finger First' haste to get the pre-prepared story out was to get the paper to the top of the listings.

It is juvenile and puerile, but quite amusing when someone gets fraped (Facebook-raped) and you read posts like “Just found out I have herpes. Ladies get yourself tested.” or “What a shit day. Trod in shit and whilst cleaning it off flicked some into my mouth and eye.” Poor Chris didn't get fraped so much as fangbanged in this extreme example.

What about the stupid f*ckers who asterisk out letters? Do you think your friends can't do crosswords? We are old enough to know these words now (3, 6, 4).

People used to write things like “I am bored.com” but now we have a better, even more pretentious way to express it via hashtags on Facebook. #Doesnotworkonfacebookyoutwat

Mucking about with your relationship status is ideal for bored users who haven’t got anything or anyone else to fiddle with. Perhaps your best friend can become your grandmother for hilarious effect or you can do the jokey relationship with a friend of the same sex. The fun is endless. I thought a friend of mine was a lesbian for a year because of that! Completely ruined the mental imagery when I found out the truth.

Facebook Timeline seems to be annoying everybody at the moment. How do Facebook manage to piss so many off with every development? Timeline reminds everyone how attractive they used to be, how fat they are now and how their friends have aged. The 'People You May Know' section is almost entirely made up of people you know but don't like enough to want to be friends.

Do you have people who say goodnight to Facebook or to everyone on their list as their last status of the day? It's perfect for when you die in the night. I just hope my last status is an epic joke to live on forever.

I have the occasional friend who likes wittering away to people that are not on Facebook, and quite often not even alive! It might be to a dead grandparent or a child too young to have Facebook. It's not unusual for it to be the sympathy post on the wall of someone who has just died. Ideal time to poke a dead person actually. I'm not exactly sure what the time frame etiquette is on deleting a dead person from your contact list, but I guess at least they won't fall into the category of annoying Facebook friend any more.

You may have discovered you are a Facebook friend with plenty of annoyances. Don't worry though, you aren't beyond absolution. The first step in your redemption is posting this story onto your wall...

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