Posted by: yogmoney | March 10, 2009

Facebook Status Updates

Geoff is ……….

(The status of Facebook)

OK, I admit it. I am addicted to Facebook, just like most of you are. In fact, there’s a good chance you launched this blog entry from my Facebook page. If so, please forgive me for what I am about to do.

On Facebook, I have many “friends”. I have real friends I work with; real friends I know from college; real friends I know from high school; and real friends from the life I’ve lived. I am lucky to have so many real friends.

Like most I also have many acquaintances on Facebook. These people I’ve met via Facebook. Some have been quite interesting to get to know. Most people I’ve linked with have been for networking reasons. My business requires that I keep in touch with a lot of people in the worlds of music, entertainment, and pop culture. This is the best thing about Facebook in my opinion. Its connected me to some very interesting people.

I have a third group of “friends” on Facebook that I do not really know. Some have friended me, some I have friended. These people are not really my friends. I don’t know them. They do not know me. I guess that’s why they don’t call it Friendbook. The name Facebook now makes sense to me.

So, I am not here to talk trash about my Facebook friends (but I am going to). However I need to vent about one of the most annoying pieces of the Facebook experience. It’s your status that I want to talk about. Yes, I am talking to all of you serial status changers.

Like a lot of people, I log into Facebook in the morning and then keep it open while I am working, checking in on it from time to time. Each time I check my home page I am greeted with a massive list of status updates. You know what I mean. Status updates like this:

Chris is……about to mow the lawn.

(these are the kind of updates that frequently show up. I ask – do we really care?)

Chris is…….just finishing cutting the grass

(wow, that was fast)

Chris is…….enjoying a cold beverage after cutting the grass

(a well earned beverage on a hot summer day…..but you are wasting my time my “friend”)

Suzanne is……thinking about life’s mysteries

(wow, that’s deep Suzanne. Are you asking us for help or are you just projecting on us again?)

Louise is …… recovering from a blind date gone wrong. What a LOSER!

(this is the 3rd such entry this week from my old college friend. This is just sad)

Cat is ……. Getting ready to see Coldplay!!! YAY, YAY, YAY!

( I de-friended Cat immediately when learning of her plans).

Susan is …….. sleepy

(said another way, Susan is deeply depressed)

John is …….. the 2,372,061 person to join the mayonnaise lovers march on Washington

(OK, I made this one up – but you know what I am talking about here…….)

Brandon is ….. wondering what’s at the end of the yellow brink road, thinking maybe I should have taken the blue brink road instead.

(take the red pill buddy. Stay away from the blue and yellow ones)

Emily is ….attending the Fashion Week Fiesta party at Club Thump Thump. Ooo-wee!

(yeah, she is a bit of a party girl – her update tomorrow will indicate her head hurts)

These are all real status updates that have come across my screen the past few weeks. I have cut and pasted them. You can’t make this stuff up (OK, I admit it, I made up a few of them). The names have been changed to protect the innocent (and for fear that you might just de-friend me). I’m a numbers guy so every one of you are important and count in my book.

What is it about that causes people to think that others care what they are doing at that exact moment? Are people that lonely? Do we do it because we somehow want others to know we’re alive? Are we reaching out when we change our status every 5 minutes? Are we crying out for the lack of intimacy in our lives. Do we secretly hope that we are going to receive a flood of e-mails and phone calls when we tell our “friends” that we’ve just picked up the dry cleaning?

I am not sure what this phenomenon says about our society but I think it’s a bit strange and sad. Is it narcissistic? Is it loneliness? What makes us think that people really care? Are we trying to show that we’re witty? That we’re smart? That we’re culturally aware? What does it say? To me, it says all of that and more. When the historians and sociologists look back on these times they will talk about this. They will have studied this; done the qualitative and quantitative analysis, tested their hypothesis, and proven their point. They will prove that we’re preoccupied with the wrong things in life.

It’s a sad state we’re in. We’re living in a time that is more technologically advanced than any time before us. The technology was intended to make our life easier, to free us up from the chains of work and burdens of everyday life. It was intended to give us great freedom. The technology gave promise that we would be more connected to one another. It had the promise of freeing up time so that we could be with our families, our loved ones. It said that you can be standing on top of Tiger Mountain in Seattle and still be in touch with the office back in Miami.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the technology and all the promise it brings. Technology does deliver on some of its promises and I couldn’t live without my blackberry, my ipod, my iphone, my laptop with the dvd player inside, the GPS system in my car. I think we’ve gone a little too far though. The technology we live with every day, the technology that was supposed to connect us, has actually isolated us. It has separated us. Yes, we can exchange an e-mail or a text on the fly telling your loved one your loved one you are thinking about them or running late. But, in the end this technology has isolated us. What used to be a continent, a country, a big city, a small town that brought us together to interact has actually created millions of tiny islands inhabited by only one person. At the same time its done all of this, it has also created a sense of entrapment. No longer can you escape a call from the office in Miami. Why would you want to talk to the office while hiking up Tiger Mountain? Where is the freedom in that? No, all of this technology and these fancy devices have actually diminished our freedom. We used to be able to walk away from the office, from the phone calls, and clear our heads. We used to dream bigger dreams when we had fewer people demanding you return their text in the next 10 minutes. The loss of this personal freedom is coming with a cost. We are losing the intimacy of true friendship. The world is a fast paced place. If we don’t find ways to unplug and escape every once in a while we will lose our edge, our individuality, our creativity. If we lose these things, what are we left with?

We stand next to one another in the subway but we all look down, texting a mile a minute, trying to stay connected to another human being somewhere other than where you are at this moment. All this looking down is causing people to miss opportunities to truly connect with another person. Updating your status on Facebook every fifteen minutes it proof of this. It says to me, “I’m afraid to talk to the person sitting next to me for fear they might think that I am not interesting…but hey, I am so connected……people care so much about me that I feel compelled to share with them that my laundry has been picked up”.

I ask the question, do you think your friends really care? Yes, some do. I will admit that. But, if we are honest with one another, most don’t. We read the status updates and immediately think, “hey, this person doesn’t have enough to do” or, “please stop wasting my time with your attempt to be witty or cute”.

Wait, I have to take a break and check in on my Facebook page.

More status entries:

Paul is ……..daydreaming

(get back to work, jobs are moving to China and India because we’re not paying attention to the work in front of us…wake up my friend)

Laurie Ann is ….proud of herself for detailing her car to save some $$!

(this is a huge accomplishment for Laurie Ann as she is a trust fund baby. In the past she has traded in her car when it gets too dirty)

Howard is ….. wondering if our new breakfast value meal will save them.

(no comment)

Matthew is …… feeling free and easy

(and just released from rehab)

Jeff is ……… on his way to lunch with Pete and Suzie

(don’t leave me hanging! Where are you going? Are you going to Burger King for your free Whopper for de-friending 5 people? See you there in just a little while…as soon as I cut a few more friends)

Andrea is ……. excited its Wednesday – HUMP DAY!

(my least favorite reference to a day of the week – borderline de-friend candidate)

Steven is …….. just clearing security at Logan and wondering how much longer I am going to have to take off my shoes. LOL!

(nice visual, steven doesn’t shower that often and his Chuck Taylors smell bad– we’ve known each other too long for me to drop him)

Ken is ……still wondering what happened

(you get what you deserve buddy – its called karma)

Christine is ….looking forward to her day at work! Not! LOL!

(another trust fund baby who has never worked a day in her life. I do not like the whole LOL! phenomenon – possibly a future blog entry on the acronyms of the web )

Jimmy is ……. wrecking the music industry

(wrecking? Try the word wrecked….its too late to save it)

Lisa is ….. tired

(always the pessimist)

Gary is …..wishing Elvis was still around

( I do not like Elvis. Although it doesn’t approach the level of disdain I have for Coldplay, I still felt compelled to drop Gary from my friend list – hey, I was hungry and wanted to get a free Whopper).

Shawn is ……working on his new album. Due out in stores on the 17th!

(did he say stores? they still sell music in stores?)

Trip is ………. calculating his losses from the market

(it was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it Mr. Hamptons?)

Lizzie is ……..happy 😉

(it’s true, she really is happy but please don’t make those annoying little text faces anymore)

Michael is ….. just got laid off. I had no idea a career in catering could disappear so fast.

(I feel for ya but I have no idea how to respond to this one – maybe a little bit too much information).

Laura is …. Designing a cover for a new CD

(a CD? For sale in a store? Really?)

Sharon is …….going out tonight with the gang from work

(many careers have been ended from “going out with the gang from work” – its going to be a long night. Beware: career limiting moves ahead)

Tommy is …….cooking lasagna for 6. Looking good!!!!

(dude, we went to college together. I know all about your past. I am NOT eating that stuff)

Shannon is …… still sore from the six mile run with Suze and Phil on Saturday

(Shannon talks a lot. I would never go running with her)

Don is …..dreaming of a white Christmas

(he is always dreaming. That’s what I like most about him)

Faith is …..wondering how we connected to each other before the Facebook status application was created

(I am thinking exactly the same thing and also considering adding her to the de-friend list, its getting close to lunch and I need that free Whopper).

Sean is ………..happy to be going home but will miss my friends this week. L

Drinks next Tuesday anyone?

(dude, you are cheesy. You used the frown face in your update. Give it up – I just dropped another one on my way to Whopper world)

Stanley is …. Happy to be out of there.

(yep, so am I my friend. So am I)

Bobby is ….. wondering if he’s on the right path

(you are a smart guy. You will figure it out…..but do you need to share this with everyone?)

Dave is ……. Dealing with his demons

(future rehab alumni, just like Ms Lohan and Ms Winehouse)

Suze is ….still shocked by what Shannon said during their run on Saturday

( I hate people who talk while I am running – Shannon has just made my de-friend list)

Craig is ……..wishing I was still on vacation in Alabama

(dude, who vacations in Alabama?)

Jason is …. Listening to the kids giggle

(yeah, we all have kids too. They all giggle from time to time. Its cute. But, I don’t really care about your kids because I have no idea how we became facebook friends to begin with…bye bye Jason – hello double whopper with cheese!)

Charlie is ……digging out

(he is the most unorganized person on the planet. He will be digging out forever)

Dave is ….wondering where we lost our soul, thinking another trip to Bainbridge is in order. Kayaking anyone?

(Oh, don’t get me started about where it went wrong….but you have to accept responsibility for your lack of action)

Phil is…..going to start running with a new group of friends

(I don’t blame you..that Shannon talks too much when she runs)

Alex is ….just wrote the last check to the ex-wife!

(the first one or the second one?)

Chris is ….remembering I forgot to put on deodorant this morning. Wait, did I brush my teeth? LOL!

(dude, that’s just gross. You would have a nice time in China; you would fit right in)

Howard is …… optimistic that our new instant coffee will save our souls.

(um, no comment)

I long for the day when I open up Facebook and I see 100 status updates that say…….

(insert name)……..are going to stop updating our status and start spending some quality time together free from this technology that was supposed to free us.

Geoff is………finishing a blog entry.

Geoff is ………on his way to Burger King for his free Whopper! LOL! J

Geoff is……….going to sign off now. I have to meet a few of my old friends for a Whopper. I hope I don’t see any of the people I dropped to get the free burger! LOL!

Geoff is ………hey wait a minute…..Geoff is updating his status. I give up.

PS – I know that many of you are going to de-friend me after reading this.

Its been nice knowing you. Best of luck with your future status reports.


Responses

  1. Classic! I guess it’s safe to say you don’t tweet ;+) Thanks for the good chuckles. I took the ferry to Bainbridge last weekend and swear I saw Dave making circles in a kayak, looking for something he’d lost.

  2. Nice blog Geoff! I have to admit that while I’m such a non-techie, I can understand (somewhat) people’s facination with social groups like Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m on both but it’s more like just having a bookmark. Heck I only have 27 or so ‘friends’ and you have – what – like 17 million??!! I feel removed from life. I didn’t even know there was a thing called ‘Status’ until your blog enlightened me. I had heard of Twitter – and was left perplexed when a ‘friend’ tried to sell me on the concept. I just don’t get it. I keep chaulking it up to the fact that I’m not their demographic.

    It may be a brave new world out there. But I’m pretty content creating little ripple effects in our small New England town where even cell phone coverage can be a challenge. Which means we stop and talk with one another when we meet at the country store.

    Keep your blogs coming!

    Best,

    Larry
    P.S. Drop me a direct email when you get a sec

  3. good one. really enjoyed it. yes, i have de-friended some of those who chronicle the arcane and randomness of their day–by the hour.

    i think it is a fascinating extension of our period of voyeurism that started with the era of reality tv. we love to peek into people’s lives more than we like to be involved in people’s lives. it will perplex historians and cultural anthropologists in the future when they study this period of societal history.

    i always really enjoy your insights and commentary on popular culture and life in general.

    headed out saturday to my favorite used cd store in ATL–Ella Guru. Got any suggestions for some fresh tuneage for me? drop me a line w some recos.

    hope you and the fam are well.

    btw–the instant coffee thing is the dumbest idea that has come out of the coffee shop, i think.

    cheers,

    Hal

  4. I loved this post, but then again we’re not friends on Facebook…

    I think Twitter exists for this sort of inanity, n’est-ce pas?

    That said, I have sorted all of my Facebook friends into neat little packets and check their status (which isn’t really a status any longer, is it?) that way. The welcome page is just a mess…

  5. I came here from a link on Facebook on Betty C.’s (previous commenter) Facebook page. I would say that I am guilty as charged for having written status updates about going to the store or some other irrelevant thing going on in my boring existence.

    Facebook, cell-phones, and texting have completely change the way we communicate with each other – in some areas of our lives only, I hope. My 22-year old daughter texts non-stop and, a couple of years ago, she texted her boyfriend to tell her what she was eating. I had found that utterly inane. Why this need to let people know what we’re up to every single minute of our lives?

    Another question that I have is whether Facebook has not already killed blogging. I am still musing over that one.

  6. This is hilarious. Sort of makes me want to review my Tweets and Updates to determine if I should defriend myself. And nicely said about the subway and general in public comment…heaven forbid we actually make a friend by talking to someone face to face!

  7. exactement.

  8. TOOOO funny…I got one last week about someones vasectomy. Can you say TMI?

  9. For the record:

    1. I never mow my own lawn. That’s why I have two teenage boys.

    2. The things we’re doing seem to be working. (note: they’re not value meals)

    3. Gettin the “sound of Starbucks” back on track (see: Creedence results, Fleetfoxes, Neko Case)

    4. So good to read you up to your usual self.

    CB

    • Chris – thank you so very much for your thoughtful comments. I hope that you are doing well. Its been so long that I’d almost completely forgotten about you.
      I do hope that things are going well for you at Starbucks these days. Congrats on the results this past quarter. I am sure that you and the team are very excited about the recent results.
      The new value meal promotion seems to be working, as does your new advertising campaign. I love the approach of reminding consumers that you guys are helping farmers in distant lands. That’s exactly what people here in the US want to hear right now as they experience the biggest recession since the Great Depression. I would have thought that you guys might have thought of a way to help people a little closer to home. Either way, its good to see things going your way.
      Best of luck to you my old friend.

      Please stay in touch. And, I will make sure to submit any ideas I have on your “my starbucks idea” website you guys launched.

      Take care.

      G

  10. Ooops! I just read this after updating my status, which I rarely do (seriously). Couldn’t agree with you more and thanks for sharing. I need more of my FB friends to read this. Would it be wrong of me to pass it on….


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