Is life a dress rehearsal for your next Facebook status update?

Ok. Before I commence writing I need to make one thing clear. I DO NOT intend to offend or belittle ANY one of my gorgeous Facebook (or Twitter) friends. The way people choose to update their status says a lot about them and I am in no way about to suggest that anyone I know should change their social networking habits.

That said…. WHAT the HELL is with some people’s updates?  (haha)

I was inspired to make comment on the way we update our Facebook status after a comment my big brother made. He’s new to Facebook, he joined  less than 3 months ago. Anyway, so he made a light hearted comment about some people filling up his home page with updates like, “just ate a cheese sandwich, now time to clean the plate and knife.”

Keep in mind that while suffering from the Man Flu, he updated his status every day with comments like :

  • Day 1: 350 Kleenex, 11 Lem-sip sachets, 3 tins of soup, 1 bottle scotch…
  • Day 3: It’s not easy being green.

However: even though he kept me updated on his daily regime during his immense period of suffering, it was a time in his life that was not the norm. Being sick was not his daily routine, it was something different and unpleasant that he was experiencing at that specific time.

Eating a cheese sandwich? Well unless you’re allergic to bread, or it was soft cheese and you’re pregnant, or you’re anorexic and haven’t eaten in 2 months, or you had your wisdom teeth out and haven’t been able to chew for 8 days….

Ho hum. Big woop.

There are no rules for updating your Facebook status, but I do find the ones that I tend to click ‘Like’ on, are those that tell me something I didn’t know about you, or that are funny, or that make me miss you and wish I could be there, or that are simply – genius.

You’ve no doubt seen the groups lobbying for a ‘Dislike’ button on Facebook. I would prefer one that says, ‘Not interested.’ Sounds mean, but it could actually come in handy to those who tell you they want to share some of their home grown goods with you from Farmville.

My theory is that some poeple spend so much time ‘checking’ Facebook that they just want to be part of it, and becuase they don’t have anything to write of much importance, end up contributing ‘blah’ simply for the sake of being ‘present.’ It can get quite addictive. Especially if you get comments from your updates.

I guess what I’m suggesting here is that we save our Facebook updates for information that is either entertaining, devastating, relevant, newsworthy, instructional, inspiring, exciting, dreadful, or informative.

Eating a cheese sandwich and cleaning up afterwards is none of the above. Unless you live in Haiti.

I’m guilty of such updates myself.

For example, I once wrote:  CINDY just downloaded the Glee app.
Not Interested…

But saying: CINDY is devastated. Still at dinner and missing Glee final!
Relevant, newsworthy, informative, dreadful and of course, devastating.

This one? CINDY is getting stuff DONE finally…
Not interested…

But this one:  CINDY is having a lovely ladies day…. A flurry of feathers, frocks and fascinators.
Entertaining, relevant, newsworthy, exciting, and informative.

And this one: CINDY wants to throw something – hard, so it smashes. Actually towards someone’s face would be even better.
Um, ok that’s just scary.

It seems the key to keeping it alive on Facebook is minimising the number of updates, which perhaps means disconnecting. Stepping away from the computer. Learning to live and experience the day to day occurrences without consulting an online network every step of the way; be it Facebook, Twitter or My Space.

(I should note that iPhones have made internet access so easy, it’s hard NOT to check every 5 minutes, but it can be done.)

Susan Maushart, the author of The Winter Of Our Disconnect wrote all about her and her family’s experience and experiment with switching off the digital media.

In an exerpt from the Daily Telegraph, she writes:

 At ages 14, 15 and 18, my daughters and my son don’t use media. They inhabit media. And they do so exactly as fish inhabit a pond. Gracefully. Unblinkingly. And utterly without consciousness or curiosity as to how they got there.

They don’t remember a time before email, or instant messaging, or Google. Even the media of their own childhood – VHS and dial-up, Nintendo 64 and “cordful” phones – they regard as relics, as quaint as inkwells.

When my children laugh, they don’t say “ha ha”, they say “LOL”. In fact, they conjugate it. (“LOL at this picture before I Photo-shopped your nose, Mum!”)

They download movies and TV shows as casually as you or I might switch on the radio. And when I remind them piracy is a crime, they look at one another and go “LOL”.

For 8-18-year-olds, media use is not an activity, it’s an environment: pervasive, invisible, shrink-wrapped around pretty much everything kids do and say and think. How adaptive an environment is the question – and the answer, not surprisingly, seems to depend entirely on whom you ask.

‘The Winter Of Our Disconnect’ started out as a kind of purge. It ended up as so much more. Long story short: our digital detox messed with our heads, our hearts and our homework. It changed the way we ate and the way we slept, the way we “friended”, fought, planned and played. It altered the very taste and texture of our family life. Hell, it even altered the mouth-feel.

In the end, our family’s self-imposed exile from the Information Age changed our lives indelibly – and infinitely for the better.

Truth – I could not do that. Switch off for 6 months? No way. And I’m not even aged 8-18, but I definitely have phases where I inhabit digital media. It’s hard not to when you work from home.

I wonder what would happen if I took a 6 month leave of absence from Facebook. Would I talk to people in person more? Yes. Would I make an effort to see those who live close more? Yes. Because Mark Zuckerberg was right when he said Facebook connects you.

It totally connects you – to friends new and old, AND family – and it’s fabulous to be able to share photos, and videos, and snippets of news from our lives that we might not consider worth a phone call.

No. I wouldn’t call someone to tell them I’m at dinner and missing the final episode of Glee. But I shared that info on Facebook and received an abundance of supportive and funny and helpful comments telling me how good it was, and where I could view it. Plus it also prompted a little humorous banter, which helped make the whole ordeal less devastating.

Best of all… Facebook, Twitter etc.. are FREE! Interstate and international phone calls are not.

So clearly, I’m not suggesting we be like Susan Maushart and disconnect for long periods. I’m simply saying we should keep the updates to a minimum. Use that time to experience life beyond what you ate for lunch, and when something amazing or sad or monumental, or funny or unbelievable or frustrating happens – tell us!

And now, I’ll leave you with some hilarious updates that have been recorded.

  • is showing his colleagues your profile and they’re all laughing at your picture.
  • is being interviewed on his new novel “Sweet and Sour Pork: How Can It Be Both? At The Same Time?” 
  • is wondering if his new research grant will accept his thesis, “Whoops!: I Blew My £800,000 Research Grant At The MGM Grand Casino” 
  • is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, nestled in a sesame seed bun of mystery. 
  • understands that hard work has a future pay off but Laziness pays off now. 
  • pretends to work. They pretend to pay me. 
  • is thinking that this isn’t an office. It’s Hell with fluorescent lighting. 
  • childproofed his house, but they still get in. 
  • thinks at her age, “getting lucky” means finding her car in the parking lot.
  • is not a snob. I’m just better than you are. 
  • washes her mouth out with chocolate every time she hears the word “exercise”. 
  • wonders if you hear about the corduroy pillows? They’re making headlines! 
  • wonders if illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup? 
  • reminds you to not play stupid with me! I’m better at it. 
  • says don’t sweat petty things — or pet sweaty things. 
  • is going to drink wet cement and get really stoned. 
  • is going to have a day of firm decisions! Or am I? 
  • thinks all the world’s a stage. Too bad I missed rehearsal.
  • is going to borrow money from a pessimist. They don’t expect to be paid back. 
  • says blessed are they who go around in circles, for they shall be known as wheels. 
  • is cleverly disguised as a responsible adult. 
  • Thinks some people are like Slinkies – not really good for anything, but you still can’t help but smile when you see them tumble down the stairs. 
  • says “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY!”
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4 comments

  1. dan · July 28, 2010

    I beg to differ…. you TOTALLY would call me to tell me you were missing the Glee finale… in fact, you did. So I get your updates in stereo! With my ears on the phone and with my eyes on facebook! ;o))
    Distance makes our contact multi-sensory!! xoxo

  2. cyclonecindy · July 28, 2010

    Ahaha. You got me. But that was to see if you could record it wasn’t it?
    And besides, that’s an exclusive. You should be grateful you get to hear the emotion in my voice.

  3. lol · September 26, 2010

    haha i remember that 6 month thing without technology… the son is my brothers best friend but their 18 now… lol

  4. Pingback: Mistakebook… Enough! « Cyclone Cindy

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