Monday, March 16, 2015

Facebook

No, I haven't been in a coma. I just haven't gotten around to putting fingers to keyboard to write anything for you to read since *GASP* last year! But never mind my late start of 2015 bloggage. Just read and enjoy this one.

Along with about 20% of the rest of the world, I'm on Facebook. I've been on it since 2009 and have gotten reacquainted with some old friends and made a bunch of new ones. While I'd love to meet every one of my Facebook friends in person, some of them live clear on the other side of the world and getting there would be difficult for me right now. Having friends on Facebook is like having a bunch of electronic pen pals. Unlike the traditional pen pals where you send letters back and forth via snail mail and have to wait for days or weeks for a reply, you can hold a conversation with a Facebook friend in almost real time.

As everyone knows, Facebook isn't perfect. Never has been, and, honestly, never will be. But it's much improved since its inception in 2004. You can read more about that here.

Strangely, there are a few things that I'm surprised haven't been done on Facebook. And that's the main reason for this post. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg will not see this post, and I have no way to contact him to submit it. Perhaps if more people create a buzz about things, word will get back to him and his staff and they can make changes. Who knows? We'll see.

It's great that we can incorporate links to Internet sites into our posts on Facebook, and they've provided what they call "stickers" into options for posting. Stickers are cute little graphics that can convey your mood should mere words be insufficient. And of course there are the standard emoticons.

However, one thing that frustrates me is the lack of any kind of text formatting. I don't care if you can't change the color or font because black is fine and the standard font that is used on Facebook is easy to read, but it would be nice to be able to bold something, italicize it, or underline it to make it stand out. Unfortunately, because there's no other way, some people make a point by USING ALL CAPS OR ENOUGH EXCLAMATION POINTS TO BUILD A WALKWAY TO CHINA!!!!!!!!!!, which we all know is the online equivalent of shouting. We've gotten along without any formatting since Facebook's inception, but it would certainly be a plus if it could be incorporated at some point. And who knows? They may be working on something like that as I write or as you read this.

There are some annoying things taking place on Facebook that not even Mr. Zuckerberg can control. What I'm referring to are behavioral issues. Being that Facebook users come from all walks of life, the use of Facebook is free of charge, and they don't have babysitters on duty, you're going to find all kinds of errant behavior. Some of it is flat out offensive, some of it is merely annoying, and some of it is somewhere in between. There are people who hijack threads. Admittedly, I'm guilty of doing that on a few occasions, though I don't mean to. It's hard to not go off-topic if someone posts a comment that reminds you of something else and you take it from there. If a post or comment is offensive, you can report it and Facebook will take it from there.

One thing that has come to light—and a peeve of mine—are people who need to "Like" everything. No one likes everything in real life. How could they? Everyone has their own feelings about it, but for me, I don't mind if someone "Likes" my status update or a post that is humorous, informative, supportive, or just plain nice. What I cannot understand is someone who likes a status update, then "Likes" every reply to it. I've had a simple comment of "Yep" or "LOL!" or "Not sure" given a "Like." Really? In one post several months back, one friend responded to a question I asked with a post that wasn't what you'd call complimentary about my blog. It got a "Like" from a serial Liker. (I think I'll adopt that term, "serial Liker" because, well, I like it.) I've seen a serial Liker give a "Like" to two completely opposing political posts. Can you sit on both sides of the fence? Apparently you can, as long as you "Like" it.


I'm not sure what a serial Liker is trying to say or do. Is it a matter of getting their name on as much as they can, you know, so everywhere you go, everything you click will cause their name to come up. Fortunately, Facebook does provide a way to limit who sees your posts. I've taken that step to reduce my audience of serial Likers. Even though Chimi has offered to help, I'll just say that there's no need to resort to violence...



To my knowledge, Facebook isn't awarding a trip to Hawaii, a new car, or a cash prize to the person with the most "Likes" at the end of the year. That makes the reason for excessive "Likes" even more elusive.

Facebook doesn't care so much about how many things you "Like," but they do monitor how quickly you "Like" a lot of things. If you're out there burning rubber on your mousepad because you're "Like"ing a lot of things, Facebook will send you a message that warns you that you're "not using the feature as it was intended" and will suspend your "Like" feature for a short time—maybe to let you cool your heels. (I know of one person who got such a message.) A few times, I've thought that it would be nice if you could cancel someone's "Like" of your status update or post, sort of how you can untag yourself from a photo or post.

It could be said that a person cares deeply about you and shows it by "Like"ing everything you do on Facebook. Perhaps, but at times I'm not sure that some people are even reading the posts. I'm sure Facebook users have seen the little gray box appear in the lower left corner of the screen to announce that someone "Liked" a post, wants to be your friend, etc. I've seen six of those boxes appear, all stacked on top of each other because they're arriving rapid-fire. A "Like" will trigger a box to appear, and if six of those appear in five seconds regarding the same person, believe me, those posts aren't being read, just "Liked."

I'm undoubtedly building a skyscraper out of a single piece of Lego® here, but I wanted to get it off of my chest. Bottom line, I'm not you and you're not me, so we're not going to agree 100% on these issues. Just wanted to run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it. Eric's Planet is always glad to be of service.