Imagine what would happen if the guy that you sat next to in high school math class and barely spoke to randomly arrived at your house one morning, 15 years after graduation, ringing your doorbell, and screaming, “POOOOOOOOOKKKKKKEEEE! Remember me? Want to be my friend?!” Then, imagine opening the door and being jabbed in the chest by his index finger.
Sound familiar? If you’re a Facebook user, it should. On Facebook, this sort of moronic behavior happens all of the time, and for some reason, because it’s happening on-line, it’s deemed socially appropriate. Today, a friend sent me the funniest YouTube video I’ve seen all year. It’s an Idiots of Ants (BBC Three) spoof of what the above Facebook interaction might look like in real life.
The video made me wonder why what seems like a relatively mundane interaction on a social networking site would mortify you or make you laugh or cry out loud, if it were to happen in real life? Imagine breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend and immediately sending paper-based notification letters (adorn with broken heart icons) to all of your friends and co-workers letting them know what happened and that “it’s complicated”. Sounds silly, so why do people do it online? My theory is that either they don’t know that they’re doing it (i.e. they haven’t set their profile up to notify their peers of personal changes), or they don’t care (because they can’t see their “friends” reactions and therefore assume that no one is laughing at them).
With all of the recent talk of data portability and the recent announcement of Facebook Connect, it never hurts to have a reminder that Facebook is a bit like to Vegas with a large group of friends… What goes on inside Facebook doesn’t necessarily stay inside Facebook. And, let’s face it – Facebook interactions aren’t quite as graceful as the interactions most of us are having with each other face-to-face in real life.