Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Are you a FB As*hole?

OK, I am going to rant. That's OK, right? I mean, it is pretty much what blogs are designed for, isn't it? I am, admittedly, a Facebook over-poster. Once, I tried to restrict myself to pithy comments a few times a week. Once, I felt I needed to keep my politics off Facebook. Those times are gone.

As a mom who lives pretty far from most of my family, sharing pictures of my kiddo helps me feel connected. As an activist, I feel compelled to share well-reasoned and well-sourced information from reputable venues. As someone who thinks I am funny (hey, Scary Mommy sometimes runs my stuff, so I must be funny, right?), I sometimes post amusing anecdotes and evidence of my aforementioned humor.

Lately, though, Facebook As*holes are getting me down. Admittedly, it's been a rough few months and I am on edge, so things that shouldn't annoy me are annoying the ever-loving sh*t out of me. I also get that my over-posting is the fodder for jerks being jerks, so I could eliminate the annoyance by keeping my thoughts and photos to myself.

But it isn't all me... some of it is people being Facebook As*holes.

Are we friends on Facebook? Are you wondering if this means you? If so, here are a few simple tests.

Have you told me what to do on a post that clearly wasn't seeking advice?

Maybe I was just sharing an adorable photo of my kid eating ice cream. Did you need to caution me on the dangers of sugar as though you can glean his entire nutritional history from the one spoonful of ice cream in his mouth?

Recently, I shared a photo of a baking fail on a complicated pastry recipe. I knew exactly what went wrong, but I had a pithy caption for the photo of chocolate pastry pucks and thought it would be funny to post. I did not realize people would feel the need to tell me what I did wrong without even asking what I was attempting to make.

Is this on par with the injustices of the world? Absolutely not. But it was really damn annoying.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes people have had incredibly helpful advice to share. However, those are the people that send me a private message that says "Hey, I noticed XYZ. With my kid, this mean to do..." This is helpful. Making determinations based on a single photo and forcing your opinions based on those determinations is not. Plus, it ruins the joke!

Have you used the content of my posts to poorly structure a sales pitch for whatever product you think I should buy? 

And to be clear, I am not against people using Facebook to sell stuff at all- I am writing this post from my beloved Lula Roe leggings that I bought on Facebook. I am against people doing it broadly and badly.

My two favorite examples:

One started with a friend request from a former neighbor my parents that I had not seen or thought of in YEARS. Two minutes after accepting, I get a message that says "Congratulations on your pregnancy. Don't let the romance die! I sell (some brand of sex toys I can't remember the name of) now. Let's schedule a party for you." Yeah... umm... I'd been vomiting for a month straight, so I went ahead and clicked that "unfriend" button.

The other happened when I aas lamenting that my kid was sick AGAIN. I got a message about how I really ought to be giving my 9 month old a probiotic if I didn't want him to be sick so much, and it just so happened that she could sell me one. I googled her magic probiotic out of sheer irritation and discovered that it was not FDA approved. So, aside from the fact that I am not giving my kid unregulated supplements and a probiotic won't do sh*t for his head cold, you just used my sick baby as a sales trigger. And unfriend.

So, if you sell something or are hosting a Facebook party of some sort, you can avoid being a Facebook a*shole by not inviting everyone you've ever met or trying to morph people's life events into your sales opportunity.

Have you read something politically motivated and responded with unsubstantiated vitriol?

I think now is a critical time for us to all be conversing, listening to new ideas, and hearing each other out. Its why I read news from multiple sources, some liberal and some conservative, and only share things I am confident are accurate. You don't have to agree- in fact, I encourage you to share your comments if you don't.

But if you don't want to be a Facebook As*hole, your disagreement shouldn't take the form of regurgitating tweets.

And I have some scheduled time off coming up. I think some R&R will help me be less of an as*hole in general right now!

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