No great enterprise is immune to being misused. The Boy Scouts had pedophiles. The sexual revolution had hippies. Television journalism has Nancy Grace. And Facebook, the invention of the decade, has these four people…
As if lawyers didn’t have enough means at their disposal to fuck you over, they’ve now figured out that Facebook is one helluva resource if they’re looking to find leverage to damage a person’s credibility if they ever find themselves in court. This mere thought of one of these scoundrels potentially using a profile against you like a stolen diary is enough for anybody to fear Facebook use.
In the good old days of messy litigation, lawyers dug up dirt on people the old-fashioned way—issuing subpoenas and hiring shady private investigators. With Facebook, their dirty work is cut in half so long as they know how to do a little online stalking (who doesn’t?). Profile pages, photo albums, wall comments, and random status updates end up serving as solid leads and sometimes irrefutable evidence for lawyers to build cases against people—especially in divorce proceedings.
What this means for the Facebook population is that they best start integrating themselves with Facebook’s privacy settings and locking down their profiles in case the day ever comes that they’re accused of something with serious implications on the line, and one little online photo, or comment, or update they probably don’t even remember posting won’t end up costing them visitation rights, or an inheritance, or the privilege not to end up as somebody’s cuddle buddy in prison.
The Guy Who Loves His Life A Little Too Much
A disproportionate amount of posts on your newsfeed belong to the guy who loves his life a little too much. He loves it sooooo much that he wants to share it with the world (but mostly you) via constant, constant updates about where he’s at thisverysecond, or why everyone should know that today is Fred Savage’s birthday. He and others like him overwhelm the newsfeed—your juicy, meaty, scandalous, beloved newsfeed—with useless filler.
You might not have known him that well when you decided to be Facebook friends with him, but eventually you come to know him better than you do your own roommate. It’s as if the guy who loves his life a little too much has never heard of Twitter, or a large hole in the ground, other ways to properly channel random updates on their day-to-day existence and thoughts that pop into their head that nobody really cares about.
This guy actually makes you wonder how the original spirit of Facebook got so mangled and twisted, how the idea for its use went from “maybe I’ll look at pictures for a while of people I would have sex with” to “I’m at a bar…I should post this on Facebook/I’m at a gas station and gas is expensive…this is going on Facebook with one of my patented witty remarks/I’m at the zoo and the penguin exhibit just gave me an erection…the world must know.”
To be fair, we actually would be interested in the story behind that last one.
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever for a boss to look over an employee’s shoulder without actually looking over his shoulder. Employers can use Facebook as an investigative tool much in the same way as lawyers do, and though we’ll concede that companies have a right to investigate their employees to make sure they’re the right fit for the company, the fact that it’s justified doesn’t make its impact on Facebook suck any less.
Consider the case of Caitlin Davis. Three years ago, Davis was a cheerleader for the New England Patriots until Facebook photos featuring her leaning over some poor schmuck who passed out at a party and earned himself some impromptu penis tats for his troubles.
Those photos were enough for the organization to decide that an 18 year old getting her picture taken at a party with a blackout drunk was evidence enough that she didn’t have the right moral code for a job that boils down to looking hot. It’s like Bill Belichick is making the cheerleading squad decisions too or something.
But the digging doesn’t stop at stupid stuff you might’ve done in the past that may or may not still be out there online, somewhere. Before they even hire you, employers now have a tendency to check your Facebook profile for anything they might not like as part of the application process. And just for kicks, they’ve completed the trifecta by watching your Facebook while you work.
In yet another dumb case of companies seriously, profoundly overestimating the average cubicle jockey’s commitment to the hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, second-by-goddamitthatclockislsow second grind that is their job, some bosses now use software like Social Sentry to monitor Facebooking activities.
Newsflash, employers: Everybody dicks around at work from time to time. You, me, Obama, everybody. It’s a universal, irrepressible human instinct to want to dick around at work. Expecting employees to cease dicking around by monitoring Facebook is like expecting the junkie population of Miami to get clean by killing Tony Montana.
Facebook, believe it or not, is actually losing users by the millions in the U.S. This is in spite of the fact that it’s still growing exponentially everywhere else in the world. That’s quite a little paradox—a social medium that’s fast losing users in its home country but gaining ones in countries where maybe one in ten households actually owns a computer.
There’s no need for anybody to waste their breath trying to figure out why that is. It’s not really because of the aforementioned people above so much as one in particular, and the answer is very simple. It’s your mom. Alright, maybe not your mom, specifically, but moms in general. They’ve finally gotten wind of Facebook. They’re signing up and pitching profiles by the thousands, and for some of Facebook’s main 15 to 25-year-old user demographic, that kind of sucks.
Imagine, for a moment, if back when you were a kid that, after your mom dropped you off at school, she proceeded to follow you to the playground and stood over you while you tried to talk to your friends. The obligation to “behave” and the need to modify your behavior because mom’s watching would make for a pretty shitty day at the playground, no? That same impulse manifests itself again when you accept your mom’s Facebook friend request. It doesn’t matter if she understands that you’re an adult now and free to fuck up as you will, because the impulse will be there no matter what.
Facebook, in its original essence, was a convenient playground for young people to be raunchy, gossipy little bitches together. When moms join the club, they irrevocably change that dynamic and make the experience less fun just by being moms. That one pic of you accidentally(?) grinding on that transvestite during a blackout goes from just embarrassing to really fucking embarrassing. Thanks, mom!