The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Wendel Sloan

Lessons abound in Facebook 101


October 22, 2017

Although I’ve been called a Facebook philosopher, it’s only an honorary title until I receive my Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) from Facebook University (FU).

I have earned an associate’s in “Reactions,” bachelor’s in “Posts” and master’s in “Comments.”

My thesis was titled “Fake Memes in the Age of Trump: Better to Blow Off Steam or Your Top?”

My in-progress dissertation is “Finding Fact-Fathoming Friends, Delaying De-Friending from Deceived but Decent Dudes, and Hastening Hasta La Vistas from Hucksters of Hate.”

Some Facebook 101 lessons seem obvious, but apparently are not.

1. Unless it’s complimentary, don’t make comments about people’s physical characteristics.

2. Don’t speculate about others. People are complex, and simplistic assumptions are lame.

3. No matter their location, political or religious views, assume everyone is as smart, decent and caring as you. Posting about the stupidity of others is presumptuous.

4. Criticize in private messages rather than trying to triumph over others in front of their friends.

5. Everyone wants their posts and comments to elicit empathy or be appreciated as insightful or entertaining. If you want the same, read theirs carefully then reciprocate thoughtfully. Even if you disagree, be civil and open-minded.

For those unable to attend FU on a noon-time hoops scholarship, here are tips from intermediate courses.

Proper birthday etiquette requires more than simply clicking “like” on birthday wishes from hundreds of mostly strangers and writing one post to everyone. You must thank everyone individually.

Another habit harder to kick than nicotine, alcohol or pecan-cluster blizzards is sharing fake memes (witty satire is acceptable). Although such memes can be more esteem-boosting than a 90-year-old billionaire’s marriage proposal being accepted by his 18-year-old waitress, inquiring minds will roll their eyes — like the waitress on her wedding night.

One meme shared by a local luminary showed the Seattle Seahawks burning an American flag in their locker room as the team danced joyously.

Normally, I scroll past such obviously Photoshopped ignorance, but remembering the luminary had shared a meme of Michelle Obama as an ape, I made an exception and commented I couldn’t believe anyone would share such nonsense.

Reaction buttons — like, love, smile, wow, sad, mad — can be tricky.

When friends post photos of their beautiful teenage daughters, I struggle with which reaction won’t seem perverted.

If I react with “mad” to a friend posting about a political stupidity, will they think I’m angry at them?

“Like” sometimes seems too lukewarm — especially for close friends.

Is “love” too intimate for male friends — excepting those who, admiring my hands, offer to cook dinner for “us?”

Influenced by my editor, I use exclamation points sparingly. But if someone showers me with them like I’ve invented a solar-powered hamster wheel, will a thank you followed by an unenthusiastic period hurt their feelings?

I must resume studying for an essay exam about respectful retorts to Russian-originated memes about taco trucks smuggling Dolly-Parton-wigged salsa dancers into guntry clubs to uncover what men are packing while stealing their concealed-carry identities, so I’ll leave you with this.

When stymied on how to respond to jaw-dropping cow patties, I simply post a photo of a shirt from my alma mater — good ol’ FU.

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