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If you have been online anytime in the past few years, you've probably visted Facebook at last a couple zillion times. Or at least it sometimes feels that way, and with about one sixth of the world's population signed in, you are far from being alone.
And as you've surfed through the ever-changing landscape that is Facebook—and they probably changed the layout of your wall or the news feed while you were reading this, just because they can—one thing stands out even if you didn't consciously notice it: In spite of the sheer number of people who are on Facebook, most of them can be broken down into about a dozen or so types.
The most common type is probably the group you are in: The Normal. The Normal has about 150 friends, of which they personally know about a third of them (the rest being distant cousins, former schoolmates, and that odd celebrity who accepted your hopeful friend request). The Normal posts a few times a day, shares mostly innocuous updates on what they are doing, maybe a funny photo or video, and that’s about it.
But as common as The Normal is, it has a lot of un-normal company that should be immediately recognizable to everyone else on Facebook. I’m sure you've run into each one of these at least a few times...and might even have a bit in common with some of them yourself.
The first one is The Rooster. That’s the person who feels it necessary to start each and every day with a “Good morning!” post, regardless of whether or not it actually is a good morning. The Rooster will turn on the news, see that Armageddon is underway, and immediately run to Facebook to get one last good morning wish in to all their friends before the end of the world.
A close cousin to The Rooster is The Anti-Rooster. This is the person who has to wish everyone a good night each and every evening. The only difference is that they likely won’t get a chance to wish everyone a good night when the Great Asteroid Apocalypse destroys the world because that calamity will likely fall on a Friday and they’ll probably be at some lame End Of The World-themed party when the Earth disappears into the celestial abyss.
Which bring us to a serious question: What’s the point of being in a social network if you aren't social? The Lurker never actually responds to a single thing that is posted on Facebook, nor do they ever share anything of their own. Their wall is as empty of life as the far side of the moon, without even the benefit of a cool prog-rock soundtrack. Yet they read every single thing you post, as you are sure to learn when you run into them in person and they mention something you wrote. Three months ago. While drunk. And then they correct your spelling.
Almost a reverse of The Lurker is The Hyena. The Hyena is the laugh track of Facebook. They don’t actually read or post anything of their own, as far as anyone can tell, other than commenting with a “LOL” or “LMAO” to everything even remotely funny you say. They also have a weird habit of liking everything you post, no matter the context. Your cat died? Liked. You lost your job? Liked. You lost your job because your cat died? Liked and LOL’d.
Which is not to be confused with The Liker. This is the person who likes every single band, movie, television show, public event, sports team, cause, celebrity, what have you. I have no idea how they find the time to enjoy everything they like, unless they have access to a time machine or a cloning device.
But it could be worse. Have you ever wondered why you get invited to certain events that have nothing to do with your interests, or aren't even in your town? That’s because at least one of your friends is a Promoter. The Promoter feels it necessary to invite every one on their friends list to whatever event captures their attention, many of which they aren't even directly involved with. Luckily, Facebook does allow you to turn off the inviting ability from friends who abuse their power. But then, they're just as likely to show up on your wall “just to let you know about” their next big event. In Peoria.
Then there is the type that hits a bit close to home: The Collector. The Collector is the one who, for no apparent reason, has thousands of friends. I have the excuse of being in the media and a musician, but how do you explain the person who works as a cashier at the local box store who has 4,387 friends? Or the guy who works third shift at the widget-assembly plant that just passed the 3,500-friend mark? I hate to break this to The Collectors out there, but there is no prize for having the most friends on Facebook. And even if there was, George “Oh My!” Takei would already have won it.
A close cousin to The Collector is The Gamer. Whether or not you've ever played a single Facebook game, you simply cannot escape their notice. The Gamer wants to ensnare every single friend into their Mafia Farm Words Alliance Space World to further their own progress in the game. As far as anyone can tell, The Gamer never actually posts anything on Facebook not game related. It’s all about rewards and achievements and levels and gifts. And also, as far as anyone can tell, The Gamer spends approximately 17.4 hours a day on Facebook keeping up with their game(s) of choice.
That said, I’d much prefer to share virtual space with The Gamer than with The Cynic. The Cynic makes Eeyore look positively cheerful. Nothing is ever good, nothing is ever positive, it is always raining and the world is always about to end. The Cynic won’t even wait for the Next Great Asteroid Apocalypse, and even if they did, they certainly wouldn't go to an End Of The World party. They are the Facebook equivalent of comedian Steven Wright, only without the humor.
One step worse than The Cynic is The Drama Queen (and it is not gender-specific, trust me). Best described as an emotional vampire, The Drama Queen is never happy and feels duty-bound to spread their unhappiness as far and wide as they can. And their favorite weapon is the passive-aggressive post. “Oh, I can't believe they did this to me.” Or “Just got my test result back, oh dear.” Or “I am about to go postal!” What they want is to snare you in their trap and then suck you into their world of woe and misery. And sadly, many of them are relatives that would be rather hurt if you unfriended them. (Not my relatives, of course, but I am lucky in having a perfect family tree.)
And while not as annoying as The Drama Queen, The Updater can be even more tiresome. The Updater either hasn't discovered Twitter yet (where narcissists go to find voyeurs) or, worse yet, has merged their Facebook and Twitter accounts. They feel it necessary to share with everyone every last thing they are doing, whether or not it has the remotest interest to anyone. And when The Updater adds in FourSquare to their online repertoire, it’s enough to make you want to break into their house when you absolutely know they aren't home (because they've told you) and rearrange all their furniture.
That said, the beauty of Facebook is that everyone can use it in their own way. I’m sure the way I use Facebook probably irritates some people, but in the end there really is no one right or wrong way to use Facebook.
Except for that idiot who keeps wanting to argue about the “faked” moon landing. He needs to have all electronic devices taken away. Permanently.