Facebook is ubiquitous in just about all age groups and I’m fascinated with the different ways people use it. Here are a few of my favorites:
First, there are The Lurkers/Peeping Toms. People who completely protect their identity and their posts from public view, but who spend an inordinate amount of time looking at the posts of people they know or once knew. They don’t want to share themselves, but they’re all over the public posts of others: the ultimate voyeurs.
There are also what I call Facebook Minimalists. People who post infrequently and usually only with purpose. They might scroll through their wall once or twice a day with minimal curiosity. They can take FB or leave it, and wouldn’t be caught dead updating FB via their Iphone.
The Gamers make me crazy. They collect eggs and farm animals, send hugs and participate in every Facebook game that exists. They practically LIVE for FB games. Once I figured out I could hide FB apps, I made liberal use of the “Hide this app” feature for every game, hug and otherwise obnoxious app.
The Egotists are Foursquare or similar subscribers. They think everyone wants and needs to know where they are every second of every day and their constant geographic location check-ins junk up our walls. I hide that app, too. Otherwise, my wall would be papered with check-ins. Borrring.
The Lame Brains. Case in point: the 20-year-old juror who posted something like “Can’t wait to find him guilty tomorrow, won’t that be fun!” Umm, sugar? Do you realize that was a public post? (Of course not. Hence “Lame Brain.”)
The Fun Folks. Yay for them! My friend J loves to tease on FB and always cracks me up. He has an ongoing, somewhat elaborate tease with another FB friend that’s cleverly themed and wittily executed by all. Very entertaining either to read or take part in. M. posts a word for the day, an affirmation, really; at night she posts a delicious dessert with cold milk on the nightstand. If I don’t see the dessert, I ask for it–it’s now my expectation. People like this–who don’t take it all so seriously or who inspire–make FB fun.
The Functionalists use Facebook to drive traffic to one of their other online hangouts: to their blog or website or even to their business website. Or client websites. Politicians, nonprofits and corporations are increasingly using FB to reach out to their constituencies.
The News Sharers post interesting articles and links and opinion. I love the News Sharers best and I’m glad I have a bunch of them as FB friends. I’ll include in this reporters and editors who drive traffic to their newspaper’s websites by linking their articles and columns.
The Plant-a-Stake-in-theGround folks use FB for personal conversations or thoughts that are more appropriate for a private email. They’re usually women making a public statement about a relationship with a man. Way transparent. Here are some examples:
“I love you, snookums!” Does that belong on a wall? Only if you want to make a statement that you have a love relationship with that person. I’ll save my declarations of love for my private time, thank you very much! And of course, I’ve never seen a man post anything like that unless it was an anniversary.
“What a great dinner date, many thanks! Can’t wait til we go to Napa next week!” Guys never post stuff like this. Seems to me if I were a guy and had taken a woman out, I’d want a personal thank you or a private email. But of course, posting it on the FB wall is not really a “thank you”. It’s a major-league territorial play, warning off all others and making sure the guy’s friends and family all see the stake they’ve placed in the ground.
Those kinds of posts crack me up; I like to make up my own follow-up posts. Sometimes, they’re a little…well…you know…blue?
Here’s the thing. It’s all image management.
Of course, some people are clueless that what they post forms an image of them among their FB crowd. Like those folks who play all those games. That says something about the person. (Like, “gee, she sure has a lot of time to play silly games!” Which could be problematic if your boss is a FB friend.)
But, as well, a whole lot of purposeful image management happens on the very public Facebook wall.
As for me? I fit in more than one of the above FB user categories, and you can probably guess which.
How about you? How do you use FB?