Disclaimer: *This post is meant to be humorous and should not be perceived as an attack on any one individual or group.*
Let me start by saying, I love Facebook. It's a great way to connect with old friends, stay connected with current friends, and be a part of the day to day lives of loved ones both near and far. I revel in pictures of family members, enjoy the daily cartoons, and thrive on the political pages I follow.
There is however, a dark side to Facebook, and for me, that's the negativity that seems to pervade the entire site. While there are, no doubt, hundreds of definitions of negativity for Facebook, for my purposes I have divided it into four: The Braggart, the Whiner, the Mixed-Messenger, and the Fisherman.
We all know the Braggart. In fact, if your friends list tops 10 or more, you probably know several of them. They're the ones who cannot wait to inform you of every single thing their amazing children are doing. They're modest enough not to brag about themselves, but they have no compunction when it comes to telling you how incredible their offspring are. "Johnny kicked a goal today in bumble ball." "Susie scored 4 points for the meatlockers in her bajillionth match of the season." "Mimi is so good at math, I can hardly keep up with how quickly she moves through the curriculum." We get it. Your child is a living prodigy. And we rightfully should celebrate our children's successes, but at what point do we draw the line? Was Johnny voted MVP? Great, please let me know so I can congratulate him. Did Susie just finish Algebra as a 2nd grader? I absolutely want to share your joy in how advanced your child is. But in the words of Mr. Incredible, "(We) keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity."
Then there's the Whiner (aka, the Pessimist). This is the poster who really never seems to have anything positive to say. "My kid didn't sleep a wink last night, for the fiftieth night in a row." "Oh no, it's snowing AGAIN." "Woke up to the sound of the garbage truck. WHY must he pick up the trash at 6am?" "My nose won't stop running." "I hate school." And the list goes on and on. I generally don't respond to such posts, but if I did it would go something like this, "Babies don't sleep. It's part of their nature. You knew this going in. Deal with it!" Or....."You live in the northwest for crying out loud. It snows here. If you don't like it, there are a dozen other states to choose from." And finally, "You seem to be sick a LOT. Maybe you should buy stock in Vitamin C and chicken noodle soup."
The Mixed-Messenger is a rare breed, but it's certainly one that baffles me. This is the individual who posts completely mixed messages: "Going out partying with my friends at the bar." Or this poster may include photos of herself scantily clad with a drink in hand. The next post might contain a Bible verse or some wise saying from a founding father. Either way, it always confuses me. This is NOT to say that I don't sin. And it's NOT to say that I don't confess my sins privately to those involved, and of course God. It is to say that I don't post my sins on Facebook for everyone to enjoy, and then turn around and talk about my amazing walk with the Lord. This is pretty straight forward, it's a mixed message. Are you a party girl? Or are you trying to live your life for Jesus? Because you really can't be both! And you definitely can't be an effective witness for the latter if you're living your life as the former.
Finally, there's the Fisherman. I think my husband is bothered by this one a lot more than I am. These are the posters who write intentionally evasive posts to elicit sympathy or questions. "Spent the evening at the ER." "Was up alllllll night." "I am the luckiest girl in the world." Obviously they want people to bite and ask them what's wrong? What happened? You sure are, but to what are you referring?" Just come out and tell people, "Spent the night at the ER and came home with an RX for Dingo's ear infection." Don't make us beg for answers. Are you really that insecure?
In light of all this, I will remain a faithful Facebook follower. I may have to 'hide' a few accounts, but it won't stop me from enjoying the adorable photos of my favorite nieces and nephews, reliving old times with friends from grade school, and being rejuvenated by uplifting scriptures shared by friends and family alike.