Five Faces of Facebook

An old movie, The Three Faces of Eve was on TV the other night. If you’re unfamiliar with the film, actress Joanne Woodward plays a young housewife suffering from multiple personalities. Her beleaguered husband, portrayed by actor David Wayne, doesn’t quite know who is going to be waiting for him at home after a hard day at the office. Eventually, they bring in a psychiatrist who figures the whole thing out. Since I was passively watching parts of this movie while I was enjoying some Facebook banter at the same time, it made me realize that there are basically five personalities to be encountered on Facebook, making the venture into the realm of social networking an interesting journey….most of the time.

Maybe I’m unique when it comes to my Facebook friends, but I’m thinking I’m probably not. I have a good number of friends on my Facebook account which, for now, is approaching 300 people. I find this somewhat odd since I still find myself taking “profile” pictures of myself with an outreached arm. It would seem that at least one of those “friends” would be around to take the picture for me every now and then.

I’ve never been one for generalizations or for labels for people, but just for fun, I think I can break down most “Facebookers” into the following categories: Political Hard-liners, Threateners, Negatrons, Too Much Information Givers and Deactivators.

Political Hard-liners: I’m usually up for a good political discussion with my Facebook friends. Most are extremely well-versed in current events and seem to know the key players. I suppose we all get to a point in our lives when our values are pretty well set and we’re not changing unless we get struck by lightning. That seems to be the case with my friends who engage in political exchanges. I know they will present their case with passion and base it on facts, but the inherent bias involved indicates that no matter how hard the opposition states their case, that friend isn’t going to budge from their position. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like a mini-U.S. Congress at work.

Threateners: As the presidential election approaches, there are an incredible amount of political postings appearing on Facebook every day. Many Facebook participants are simply tired of the rhetoric and have been driven to extreme measures to end the madness. One of my friends openly threatened to go down their friends list and, one by one, determine if each individual was “too political”. If found to be “over the top” in terms of their political vigor, that person would be “unfriended”. Now I normally don’t respond too well to threats, nor do most people. Several of the responders joked by wondering if they were going to be excused from the party. I guess if you’re going to launch me, please be as gentle as possible and hit the “kill” switch now.

Negatrons: What is a negatron? In my view, it is someone who is so full of negative energy and bitterness that no matter what comes from their mind via the keyboard it is going to be pessimistic and meant to rain on the parade. I have a few friends like this and whenever their name pops up on the comment board, I almost cringe as to what might follow. Sometimes, however, something semi-positive is delivered which confuses me even more about people. A typical posting from a negatron might read something like, “Monday…ugh!” Ok….is that it?

Too Much Information Givers: There is a group that seems to think their friends need to know every intimate detail of their lives, no matter how personal those details might be. People seem to have a varying threshold as to what the proper amount of personal detail about their lives can and should be shared. Their filter is lacking and they ultimately don’t seem to be as bothered by the situation as I might be by reading it. For example, “Well, after fifteen years of marriage, I’ve decided to divorce my husband. The SOB was having an affair with his secretary, so I’m giving him the boot. What makes things even worse is his secretary’s name is Harold. Oh well, I’ll see my peeps for ‘ladies night’ on Thursday. Cheers everyone!!” Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Deactivators: The deactivator is the person who not only deactivates their Facebook account with regularity, but they do so in a way that lends a degree of drama to it. Something like, “Effective at 6:00 PM tomorrow, I will be deactivating my Facebook account. I hope no one takes this too personally, however, I feel the need to break free from the pettiness that Facebook has brought into my life. I have things going on that make this current situation unbearable. I may return to Facebook someday, although I can’t promise anything at this time.” All righty then.

Now I will say that there are some smaller groups of Facebook "faces"; those that spread positive energy, support and inspiration.  Without those,the world of social networking would seem a bit too aggravating.  I will say that there also may very well be one last face of Facebook that I haven’t described yet. That face would consist of an egotistical individual who sees himself as an expert in all matters of politics, someone who knows all when it comes to sports and fashions himself as a culinary expert (even though his food is rarely tasted by anyone other than himself). My Facebook friends will be glad to comment as to who that guy might be!

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