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Yesterday we talked about what it implies when you don’t have a profile picture on any of your regular social networks. You know, that blank image of a man’s silhouette that shows up in place of the photo, or the question mark that says “your guess is as good as mine!” Well, today we’re going to briefly discuss another profile photo faux pas: the kiddie pics.
I don’t want to disparage all profile photographs that have children in them. Sometimes people post a picture and it has a part of their kid and a part of them – that is tolerable. Other times it is just the kid and occasionally that is okay too. Although there are definite photographs that should not be used for a profile picture on any social network, at all. Most of them should probably not even be uploaded to the Internet (mainly because, well we don’t want to see that); but if you must, for the love of God don’t make them your actual profile photograph. Here’s the all-star line up:
The Dirty Diaper Pic
As cute as that kid may look while having his ass wiped, I’m telling you parents: no one wants to see that as your profile photograph. We further do not want to see the inside of the kid’s diaper, your kid in the tub, your kid’s ass, your kid naked, the huge rash on the inside of your kid’s legs since you don’t change its diaper enough – basically anything related to your kid and hygiene should be avoided. I know, I know … we all love a look at human fecal matter once in a while (actually, no we don’t), but for real parents. Keep it off the Internet.
Your Creepy Ass Baby
Yes, yes – the baby is cute in his own right. He’ll grow out of it. Insert all of those platitudes we tell ourselves to cover up the fact that we don’t want to accept this baby as both creepy and ugly as hell. I know that the love of your child makes you think they are beautiful no matter how they look, but not all of us are obligated to feel the same way. The creepy ass baby picture is one of the worst offenders, mostly because it is frightening to look at and is not a true representation of (1) your child, and (2) (more importantly) you. Your online profiles are supposed to be about “you.” While your children are an extension of you, you still have an identity that does not give me chills every time I look at it (I don’t think).
Your Teenage Son
Please, parents. Your teenager likely has his or her own online profiles that they may showcase their emo-rific photographs on. You do not need to do this for them (and, in fact, I am fairly certain they will appreciate it). Posting a photograph of your middle schooler or teenager is fine, but using it as a profile picture again stinks worse than that kid’s diaper up above.
In the end, you can make your profile pictures whatever you want them to be. If you want there to be nothing, by all means have there be nothing. If you want to showcase your fifteen year old daughter in that mini-skirt you probably shouldn’t even be allowing her to wear – sure, why not. But the thing about the Internet is that everyone uses it differently, and everyone is sensitive, finicky, and grossly opinionated on what people should and should not be doing. Above even that, there is an unspoken etiquette to it all and if you do not follow suit, you are running the risk of what I like to call Facebook Drama. As if drama in real life weren’t childish enough, we now have it everywhere on the Internet. Let’s do ourselves a favor and avoid it altogether. Keep your kids and their diapers off your profile pictures, and we’ll all be a step closer to a happy, peaceful, online experience.
DISCLAIMER: This post is sure to offend anyone and everyone, and quite frankly I don’t care. I’ve been storing this one in the deepest, darkest caverns of my brain for quite a while now and it has to get out.
We’ve all seen this. Many of us may even have a contact with this for their profile picture on Facebook, LinkedIN, Myspace (I know … who still uses Myspace?), Meetup, or any of the other hundreds of social network sites out there. When a person chooses to not have a profile picture on any given online profile, they are suggesting a few very specific things about themselves, all of which are the antithesis of being “social”:
#1 It implies you feel you are horrible to look at.
I told you this might be offensive, but ultimately when someone does not have a profile photo on Facebook or LinkedIN (or whatever), an initial (and terribly material) assumption is that the person thinks of him or herself as being less than attractive. Maybe you’re a woman with a full beard; possibly you’re a man for whom the size of your entire face is roughly 1/8th the size of your nose. Perhaps you are just like the rest of us going into our thirties and wondering when, exactly, the break-outs are actually going to stop. To not have a photo of some kind on your profile, though, suggests that you have something you want to hide. I think this would apply much more to a dating site, and in fact I recently saw an article suggesting that if a person has no or waist-up-only photo of themselves on eHarmony, Match, etc., that they will usually be passed for fear that they will break every mirror in your house. It’s still true, faithful blog followers: we live in a material world and are all a bunch of material girls.
#2 It further implies that if you are not horrible to look at, you are terribly narcissistic and paranoid.
Here is something one of my family members recently said to me in regards to his choice to have no profile photo on his Meetup.com homepage: “I don’t want all kinds of perverts and predators looking at my picture; the last thing I need is a stranger getting off on my photo.” Let’s first give you a mental picture of this family member: he is in his mid-50s, roughly 250 lbs, generally wears khaki shorts and flannels everywhere he goes, and spends the majority of his time drinking Coors, playing video poker, and scratching his unkempt mustache. So my first response to this is that he should be so lucky to have anyone looking at his photographs online obsessively with the fires of lust burning below the keyboard. My second is simply: how, exactly, would complete strangers swooning over your oh-so-debonair picture affect you anyway? Lastly, this reeks of a paranoid narcissism; as if the entire world is out to find pictures of you, not to mention they are all looking for those pictures to lust after you. With over 800 million people on Facebook alone, not including the number of people on any number of the 200 or more social and dating networks out there, I have a hard time believing many people are intentionally sought out to be the victims of pervs anymore. There’s free pornography for that.
Anyone who legitimately fits into #s 1 or 2 (as in, they actually do not post profile photos of themselves for one or both of these reasons) needs to be smacked in the face and told to get over themselves. And in fact, of the people I know who do not post photographs of themselves on their online profiles, many of them refrain from doing so for reasons similar to these. There are a few more things that the vacant slot in the photograph slot suggests, though:
#3 You are too goddamn inept to figure out how to upload a jpeg. Very possibly you do not even know what a jpeg is.
#4 You are too goddamn inept to even log in to your profile page again after signing up.
#5 You think you are above social networking and online living, despite the fact that it has been credited as being essential for living (and working) in the 21st century. (I really hate these pompous assholes. I really, really do.)
#6 You really and truly believe that you are too busy to scour through your millions of digital photographs for that perfect shot that captures who you are. For Christ’s sakes, if anyone on the social network thought this much about their profile picture, the world would have a dearth of crappy, fuzzy, and poorly taken (read: camera phone pointed at mirror, tilted sideways) pictures for us all to make fun of. Get over yourselves, you aren’t too busy to snap a picture and upload it. No episode of Dancing With the Stars is that thought-consuming.
Shall I continue? I think you get the point. Having no profile photograph at all is just plain obnoxious, and it implies quite a bit about you that me-thinks you’d rather not have implied. Now, I’m not saying that this is necessarily what the case may be when a person chooses to go photo-less; but it most certainly is what us ignorant underlings of Lord Zuckerberg and his buddies over at Google, LinkedIN, et all have conditioned us to assume.
Next up on the docket? Keep Your Kid’s Diapers Off Facebook
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A few months ago, I saw a web comic touting Mark Zuckerberg as our evil overlord. He was this hugely, grotesque being that gobbled up people and just shouted “MOAR HUMANS!” Hilarious, and alarmingly true, the comic pops in my mind every time I see an article about Facebook and its 750 million active users – Zuckerberg truly is our Overlord.
Today, that comic resurfaced on the early morning newsfeed of New Facebook. For seasoned Facebook users, such as myself, a new version of the ever-growing social networking giant is nothing new. Every few months, Facebook has been making little changes here and big changes there in an effort to constantly evolve with the times. Internet technology changes with unrelenting rapidity, and so the mark of an effective platform is one that does not get wiped out by something big, bright, shiny, and new. The nature of that, though, is inevitably change.
Thus far, Facebook has been relatively successful in not getting wiped out by newer and more exciting competition. Twitter came along and Facebook adapted to integrate the features Twitter touted. Similarly, Google+ has come in and this new Facebook version is nothing more than its attempt to not be wiped off the grid by the features people have come to love about Google+ and its damn-catchy circles. All of these updates, changes, whathaveyous that Facebook puts us through on a regular basis are nothing more than a digital version of survival of the fittest – so far, Facebook has proven itself the fittest.
Now, faithful blog followers, I will admit that the changes can – at times – be annoying. When they are going on, Facebook goes into suck mode, where it takes forever to retrieve any of your information (notifications, messages, etc.) and has even been known to freeze up Safari once or twice. Then there is always the matter of relearning Facebook, a process that is not too particularly difficult but does take time. This morning, upon realizing that I would have to take a few minutes out of my life to relearn how to block all of my closest family and worst “friends” from seeing all of my content, I became a little annoyed at the fact that Facebook presumes I have the time to even do such a thing. In the end, though, it is all more than tolerable, and even understandable given the need for Facebook to keep its head above water in the Age of the Social Network. And ultimately, the conclusion to Inman’s web comic is right: in just a few weeks (months at most), everyone will have completely forgotten what Old Facebook was even like.
But how does this all translate into Zuckerberg being our Overlord and Facebook having a tight, firm grip on our gonads?
Every time there is a major Facebook change (particularly when it is something people coin ‘New Facebook’), people cannot shut up about it. This morning, almost every person’s Facebook status was about how much they hated New Facebook. “That’s it, Facebook … you’ve done it to me one, too many times.” “This New Facebook sucks! Why do social media giants get to tell us how to organize our online experience?!” And, of course “Go to HELP and tell Facebook you want Old Facebook back! Stop Facebook from telling us how we have to experience our social network. REPOST! Everyone agrees, but 98% of people won’t do what’s right!” As the day wore on, it got worse. People started saying they were going to quit Facebook; that this was just the final straw for them (of course they won’t). #newfacebook was trending on Twitter all day, and continues into the evening. I even saw someone change their profile picture to nothing more than an image that said “Hate New Facebook.”
And for the first time, ever, this incessant bitching and complaining about a change that no one will care about three weeks from now has transcended into the realm of the flesh. That’s right, faithful blog followers, at lunch today I overheard four, separate conversations about how awful this New Facebook is. A friend from Chicago reported to me that it was on the radio and a segment on the evening news. As if we no longer have anything to talk about, we now have resorted to conversation in person about the very thing that is the antithesis of an in-person experience.
This is why Zuckerberg is our Overlord – and why Facebook has got us all by the gonads. With a tight grip around our testicles and she-balls, he has controlled us to such a degree that it is all we can talk about, all we can think of. Not only is it all we can talk about, though – we spit in the face of our own complaining and continue to use it. If people were really so outraged about Facebook, they would stop using it already. Switch to Twitter, Google+, text message, or (GOD FORBID) FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION. But that will not happen because we need our Facebook. How else will we keep in touch with our friends that are okay with New Facebook? Or how else will be play Bejeweled Blitz and Mafia Wars? I really need a goat for my Farmville and if I don’t have Facebook, I can’t get ahold of one. You really have to give it to Facebook, for it has made itself our lives. We may be miserable right now, but we cannot give up for we always have that beacon of hope – be it free photo sharing, an instant messaging platform, or just a place that we can bide our meaningless evenings.
So, faithful blog followers, I say all hail Lord Zuckerberg! ALL HAIL!
Somehow I came across this blog the other day. Don’t waste your time clicking the link, actually: the blogger’s 14 places not to Tweet did not prove as entertaining as I thought it would. This is of no fault to the blogger so much as it is (in the end) just already pretty obvious where you shouldn’t be posting on your Twitter or Facebook (for real, who updates their Twitter during their wedding photos). Although, the area where it is not as clear is in that of what you should not be posting about.
The reason for this is simple: everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, and all of their other social networking sites, for different reasons. Some use it to complain about their lives; others to market themselves for work. Still others are on to keep in contact with friends and family and share information. The possibilities of why people are hooked in to social media are endless; and yet, the thing to remember is that not everyone is on for the same reason as you. As a result, it’s important to follow some simple discretion when it comes to your posts. Your friends/followers/connections/whatever-you-may-call-thems will thank you.
You all remember my blog a few weeks ago about things I would prefer you not post online. While that was an all encompassing list of photos, updates, articles, etc. that seems more for Facebook than anything else, this handy-dandy list pertains specifically to the status-update; or, in Twitter-land, the Tweet.
Things to Forgo Being All A’Twitter About
- Consistent with the main theme of things I would prefer you not post online, let’s kick this list off with anything relative to bowels or personal hygiene. That includes (but is not limited to): showers, baths, shaving your legs, shaving your face, shaving your nether-regions, waxing, and anything having to do with the effects of one too many Triple Steak Burritos at taco bell.
- Posts about how your [fill in the blank] is the best [fill in the blank] ever. Your [fill in the blank] is not the best [fill in the blank] ever because someone else on my page says that their [fill in the blank] is the best [fill in the blank] ever, and quite clearly there can’t be more than one best [fill in the blank] ever, so you must both be wrong.
- Details of your labor and delivery. If you’re like me and you’re in that 20 – 40 age range, every other post on Facebook or Twitter is about pregnancy and childbirth. Share the happy time with everyone, sure; but spare us how many centimeters you’re dilated.
- Sex. Sex. Sex. As in, you having it. The only thing your status updates about sex let us know is where we should make sure to bring a prescription of penicillin along with next time we travel. Please, spare us all.
- The dramatic ups and downs of your relationship. If you are announcing a new boyfriend, or a finale to your traumatic marriage, that’s fine. But every day with the “I’m so alone in this marriage” and the “feeling rejected by my man” gets really old and seems more a cry for attention than anything else.
- And on the note of cries for attention, everyone should just skip past those vague posts that are intended only to get people’s attention. Save us the “well that was just great”s and just say what you mean.
- Excessive quotes. I have been known to post a quote or two about things that are truly entertaining, or more often from a book I’m reading. But people that post quotes ad nauseum, very often with those happy crappy “isn’t life grand” themes just pisses everyone off. Limit your quotes to infrequent; and make sure there’s some meaning behind them. As one blogger puts it: “Quoting the wisdom of someone else does not make you philosophical or smart. It simply makes me dislike you.”
- Have you ever seen one of those annoying status updates that go on and on about sisters, brothers, people with cancer, the military, etc, etc? You know those ones that try and guilt you into reposting them at the end with some jargon like “85% of people won’t repost this, let’s see if you do.” Yeah, those. Friggin’ stop it!
- While we’re on that, the Facebook games. Like the one about posting your shoe size with a frowny face afterwards to try and “trick the guys” into thinking you’re posting about being disappointed about the size of a man’s member; or the one where everyone posted the color of the bra they were wearing to raise breast cancer awareness. I’ve got news for you ladies: you aren’t raising awareness of anything except how much of a ninny you can be.
- Posts about how you are having a nervous breakdown. I’m not talking about the occasional “had a really bad day” or “relieving my stress with a glass of wine” … those are fine. I’m talking about the posts that go on and on, complaining about how you just can’t take it all anymore; and that occur so frequently in the week it’s all anyone expects from you. I get that a lot of you may have very stressful lives, but just remember this: somewhere out there there is someone in a much worse situation than you, and it is very likely they are on your friends/followers list and thinks you’re being nothing but whiny and ungrateful for the things you have. If you have some personal problems, share them with others in private – telephone, email, and in person works much better than a broadcast to the entire Social-Network-a-verse.
- This one isn’t so much a thing you should avoid posting so much as improper ways to post. STOP POSTING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! PLEASE!!! ALL YOU ARE DOING IS YELLING AT ME! AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT, LET’S STOP USING IMPROPER GRAMMAR, SPELLING (WIT U), AND PUNCTUATION. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO PUT A SPACE BETWEEN YOUR EXCLAMATORY SENTENCE AND THE EXCLAMATION POINT ! ! !
- The ever-dramatic, attention-getting posts about how you’re quitting Facebook or Twitter “for good this time.” One person on my friends list on Facebook continually goes back and forth between having her Facebook active and not, and frankly it drives me insane. The last time she was on she posted status after status about how she was deleteing her page again and someone commented “stop crying for attention and either delete your page or delete me from your friends list.” Here! Here!
- Finally, let’s all stop posting that we are on your way somewhere mundane. If you are on your way to a wedding or a cool new place, that’s fine, but spare us the daily update that you’re on your way to work. No one cares.
It’s time for all the social networking haters to take their hate-train out of town. I’ve done it before, myself: hated on social networking giants like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I’ve looked down on Myspace because of all the glitter, crap, and puke that shows up on the site. Despite the fact that I am an avid user of it, I’ve argued against Facebook ad nauseum, mainly because of the way people use it. I used to hate on Twitter with a vehement passion unparalleled by any other Internet-hatreds I have had in the past. And LinkedIn … well, I still don’t see much of a point to LinkedIn, but for the sake of argument (and acknowledging that LinkedIn is now the 2nd most used social network site) let’s just say I’ve moved beyond that.
The important thing is that we have got to move past this blatant hatred of anything that is unfamiliar, new, or seemingly different than what we thought it would be.
It’s like the bird that was weaker than the rest, and didn’t survive because of it. Or the company that went out of business because they refused to modernize their sales equipment. Embracing technology – social networking Internet technology in particular – is the way that Darwinian evolution is moving. Not only are we evolving physically, but intellectually as well – and this includes the way we utilize technology. By not embracing at least some of the social networking giants, we fall well behind the curve of human evolution.
The real truth is that I hate the Internet just as much as the rest of you do. Everyone is up in each other’s business; the notion of privacy seems to be all-but dead. But the wave of the future is what it is, and that seems to be in online networking. It’s easier, it’s cheaper, and it’s safer. Denying that it is vital to have a presence in it is a recipe for ending up on the tail-end of technological evolution.
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There are so many advantages to the Internet. Beyond networking, sales, job opportunities, access to information, online dating, friend-making, gaming, entertainment, free and inaccurate diagnosis of all your medical ailments, event information, and the like, it is a really great way to avoid contact with other people as much as is humanly possible. With the rapid modernization of the technologies involved in computer and cell phone interfacing, a person need not ever interact with others if they chose to do so.
Of course, there are probably a myriad of mental disorders such hermit-ish behavior fall under.
Touters of networking giants, like Facebook and Twitter, are now releasing statements that their sites are not a replacement for the value of real, in-person relationships. And they are not. (Gee, thanks for telling us, guys … us lemmings really were too busy letting you think for us to realize that…) But beyond that there is another oft-undiscussed thing that is of real concern in this, the age of technology: the loss of body language.
So, it would stand to reason that if roughly 50% of our communication is done through gesture and body language, if you lose the ability to do so, the results might be … well, bad.
Take for example the following scenario: let’s say I am your friend and I send you the following email.
Hey. So I really think you need to go Danielle’s bachelorette party. You know how she gets when people don’t come to her things and, anyway, you don’t have anything else going on this weekend anyway. So I’ll see you there.
While I very well may have just been trying to be a good friend to you and our mutual friend, Danielle, my email sounds more like I’m telling you what to do and implying that I can do as such.
And how many times have you gotten a response like this to a lengthy email inquiring about something important to you?
It seems that a cut-and-dry email or message such as that would make things more streamlined, more efficient you might say. But without body language, a simple No sounds a lot more like anger, scoff, frustration, or carelessness. How dare that inconsiderate-responder not at least explain himself!
So while it may seem that the Internet is a great way to avoid people and their weird odors; plus help us avoid confrontation, do things at your own leisure and ease, and take risks and chances you might otherwise not take behind the safety of your own, personal computer, nothing can substitute an occasional healthy dose of body language. The flailing gestures, the facial cues, the body positioning, and even (in some cases) the scents (pheromones) are so integral in human communication it seems that despite all its advantages, this is just another way that the Internet is doing a great disservice to our culture.