Sunday, May 9, 2010

A status update I wish I could post

I know quite a few of my fellow IF bloggers are on Facebook, so perhaps some of you will be able to relate to this post.*

I'm sure we have all seen the status updates that read something like this:

  • "If you have a best friend who is always there for you. . . . post this as your status."
  • "If you have a husband who makes you laugh, who you can say is your best friend, who you want to grow old with and who you know will always be there to pick you up when you are feeling down, copy and paste this to your profile with your anniversary date."
  • "If you have a father who you love and admire, post his name as your status."
There are several others I've seen for fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, or children generally. All are variations on the same theme.

I really hate these status updates for a few reasons. First of all, my best friend, father, and mother are not even on Facebook, and my sister belongs but rarely checks the site. So if I posted something like this in my status update, the only one who might possibly see it is my sister. . . . and even then, it's a long shot. What is the point of publicly declaring my love and appreciation in such a way that the objection of my affection doesn't even know about it?

Second, why do other people on my friends list need to know that I love my BFF, sister, mother, father or husband? I would assume that if you have someone in your life who fills one of these (very important) roles, you probably love him or her. I'd say it's pretty much a given.

I think the ones about spouses are particularly silly, and my husband agrees. Let me get this straight: you live in the same house and see each other daily (presumably) . . . . or even if you are apart at the moment, I would assume you communicate regularly, either via telephone or email. . . . and yet you choose to communicate your love for one another via a social networking site? OK. . . . . MM told me that he would think it very odd were I ever to post anything like this as my status update. (Or indeed, if I posted anything for his benefit on Facebook. "Just talk to me!" he would say.)

The only logical thing I can conclude is that these status updates aren't really directed at that person, with whom I assume you would be in close and regular contact if you value him or her that highly. Therefore these must be directed, really, to the rest of the people on your friends' list.

And here's where I have a problem. Because why would I want to brag to the other people on my friends list about my loved ones? Does it make my friend who is going through an ugly divorce, or my friend whose fiance just broke their engagement, or my friend who still isn't over her last relationship (all real friends, not hypothetical) feel good to read about how great my husband is? Does it make my friends who have lost parents feel good to read about how much I love my mom or dad (again, all real friends in this situation)? To take it a step further, what about the friends on my list who've lost siblings? Or the friends who, for whatever reason, are feeling forlorn and friendless at the moment they read my status update?

For obvious reasons, I particularly hate the ones about children. Yes, I am involuntarily childless, and that makes them hard for me to read. But not only that. . . . I just think they, like the spouse-related ones, are silly. News flash: loving your children isn't all that unusual or special. It is the NORM. I'd venture to say that the majority of parents love their children "more than life itself." At least the decent parents do.

And I would venture to say that most folks are in as close contact with their children as they are with their spouses. . . . some perhaps closer contact. If you love and value them as you say, they probably already know it. Let's hope so.

I do get that my friends with children are not trying to lord it over those of us who are childless by posting these status updates. I just find it unnecessary.

So here is the status update I wish I could post:

"If you have a spouse, parent, child, friend or sibling who you love and value in your life. . . . tell that person you love him/her face to face and don't tell the rest of us on Facebook!"

Yeah, I'm not really going to post that as my status. But I sure wish I could.

*For those of you who don't do Facebook. . . . a "status update" in something that appears next to your name and avatar photo on all your Facebook friends' home pages and will be read by everyone on your friends list, unless you affirmatively edit your privacy settings to make it visible only to select people. In my mind, it's the online equivalent of posting a sign outside your house or announcing something with a bullhorn.


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