There’s a lot of debate about social media, but I personally think that Facebook is a positive thing. My friends and family are quite well dispersed, so I don’t see any of them as often as I might like; Facebook allows me to keep up with what’s happening in their lives and to share pictures of my son with those who don’t get to see him very often. However, there are a few things that I hate to see on Facebook… here are five of them.
[Disclaimer – Some of my Facebook friends will read this. I would like to assure everyone that I’m not thinking of any particular individuals when I write this. I have seen all of these from numerous sources, close friends and vague acquaintences, people who can be forgiven and people who should really know better… heck, I’ve probably done some of them myself. No offense is intended.]
Sweeping generalisations – These aren’t usually deliberate, but occasionally someone’s ire at a particular person or situation will be expressed as a general disdain for a segment of society; the issue with this is that people have so many Facebook friends, they forget that their friends may contain some people from that segment. For example, an article about people on benefits will trigger a general “Bloody scroungers” status, forgetting that a few people reading it are probably on benefits themselves (statistically likely if you have enough friends). Think before you write, people.
Scaremongering – Again, not usually done deliberately, but people will share cautionary tales and warnings without checking their veracity first. I see things like “Product recall on baby formula due to glass danger” or “Essex police warn against stopping for abandoned babies” appear periodically and two minutes on Snopes or a similar site will tell me that the glass thing happened once, ten years ago, in France… while the Essex police have confirmed that there are zero reported incidents of thieves using abandoned babies as bait for passing motorists. The issue with these stories is that those not cynical enough to check them out before sharing them are just raising fear over non-existent issues.
Unspecific statuses – Captain Flobadob “is excited” Facebook will tell me. Great… excited about what? I don’t know if the Captain has gotten pregnant after years of trying or is just looking forward to tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones. I’m sure in many cases this is unintentional… however, worse are the times when it’s clearly intentional, to see how many people are interested. If you want to say something, just say it.
Spelling errors – I feel a bit bad putting this here, because some people just can’t spell and it’s not their fault. However, I do think that society as a whole has gotten lazy on the whole spelling issue. I even saw recently that some politician or lead educator or someone (I forget who it was) was declaring that we should stop trying to teach children the differences between their/there/they’re and your/you’re, and just accept all the spellings as interchangable. This is so flabbergasting that I can’t even come up with a good argument against it, apart from “No, that’s completely wrong and stupid”.
Sport – I don’t actually begrudge people the right to talk about sport in their statuses; I’d just quite like it if Facebook installed some functionality, so that I could filter out any status with the word “football” in it.