Thursday, December 23, 2010

Facebook Reposts

Lately there's been a trend on Facebook that I find quite annoying: status posts that make some sort of statement and then ask you to repost the damned thing on your own status.

Here's the thing: one of the pages I check the most is the Newsfeed for Facebook. I do this to find out what's on my friends' minds, what's going on in their lives. And frankly reading the same comment over and over again from different people is quite distracting. It also means that I'm not really learning what's on the mind of Friends but rather what's on the minds of some total stranger. Oh, the reposter probably agrees with a lot of the original post or else they wouldn't repost it. But the way you express something is part of what makes you you. Really, if the reposters even took the time to paraphrase the statements I wouldn't find it as annoying, because some of the rewriter's own personality would come across. At the end of the day do we want to celebrate each other's individualities, the stuff that makes our friends our friends, or do we wish to be zombies, posting stuff on our status without really using any thought processes?

No discussion on Facebook status reports would be complete without raising the point of the original poster. I doubt they all come from the same people, but I'm starting to recognize certain writing styles and suspect that at least some do. So my question is, why do they need to have stuff they say validated by having friends and strangers copy and paste their thoughts word for word? Why is it not enough to say something interesting and let people “Like” your comments? There does seem to be some insecurity happening because on the flip side the original poster is always anonymous. It's like they want everyone including strangers to read what they have to say, but at the same time don't have the confidence in what they have to say to actually take the credit or blame for it. They want their comments out there but at the same time are disassociating themselves from their statements. It's a pretty ingenious safety net in some ways because if someone calls them on it, they can pretend they just copied and pasted the comment from somewhere else themselves.

I live a far from perfect life myself; some might even claim I’m broken in certain ways. And yet… if I say something, I take both the credit and blame for the statement. Sometimes, yes, I realize I can’t stand by something I said and therefore delete it or retract/modify the statement. But for the duration that it’s on Facebook, I own the statement and declare it to be a true representation of my thoughts and ideas. If someone does pass it along (unlikely; most people Like and/or comment on Status reports, or ignore them), well, that’s flattering, but I will never ask anyone to, and for that matter would hope that whoever passed it along paraphrases it in their own words (thus owning it themselves) or quotes me so they’re at least acknowledging the original source, that they make some sort of effort and not just copy and paste. And if I find something a friend says interesting, I’ll either Like the Status or comment on it myself, or both. Lots of times I’ve commented on and/or Liked an original statement. Once I commented on a copied and pasted statement before I fully understood this new trend but will not do so any longer. And even then I didn’t copy and paste it. Let me hear what’s on your mind, what you’re experienced. Often it will be richer than what I’m experiencing, and even when it’s not, I bet your life is still richer that some poor anonymous soul who makes statements they won’t stand behind and then asks everyone to validate the statements by repeating them word for word.

Oh, and if you are the anonymous person in question, be brave! Make a statement and shout, THIS IS ME! Most of the copied and pasted statements are generally written decently enough, so take credit for them. I bet that if one person quotes you without being asked to, you’ll feel even better than if 100 people quoted you because you insisted they do so.