Given that we are in the middle of a pandemic, this is probably not the greatest time to list my pet peeves about Facebook. But I’m at my wit’s end. I can’t take it anymore. What follows are my greatest annoyances. And trust me, I have many.
First, there are the people who can’t stop posting pictures of themselves—pictures getting their hair cut, buying groceries, in line at the CVS, pictures of seemingly every meal they cook, pictures of themselves doing good deeds. It’s too much. Here’s an idea. How about limiting your self-photos to one or two a week? Right now, I could write a detailed account of your daily life. I don’t want to have that ability.
Then there are the 50- or 60-year-old men who post pictures of themselves from their high school football and basketball glory days. They identify every person on the team roster and talk about specific games that happened 40 years ago. One person even included excerpts of a grainy game film. Perhaps Springsteen was wrong when he said, “Glory days pass you by.” Thanks to Facebook they are alive and well.
Next are the religious zealots who post multiple quotes a day about Jesus the Lord, faith, etc. They record sermons and share them. They tell us that Democrats are evil because they “love” abortion. One recent post stated that there have been 244,000 abortions in the United States during the pandemic—much more death by abortion than Covid-19 they claim. How they know this, I have no idea. But this self-righteous proselytizing has got to go. They know the way, and they are filled with sorrow that you have not yet seen the light.
Following these topics on my irritation scale, are the people who once had an important job, light-years ago, and cannot stop talking about it. They show pictures of themselves in the White House or some other prominent place at least once a week. I can understand a few such posts, but please! We get it. We know that you were once an important person. Someone a long, long time ago understood just how valuable you are.
Another major pet peeve is the exhibitionist tendency—those women and men who post multiple pictures of themselves in bathing suits. What’s up with that? I find it narcissistic and inappropriate. OK—maybe one picture at the beach. But we don’t need to see you sunbathing from every angle. I have a friend who also posts pictures of her teenage daughter in bathing suits. Not only is this being inappropriate, it’s also dangerous. It’s easy for those of a perverted persuasion to discover where you live and it’s possible things could take a nefarious turn. Why take that chance?
Next on my list are the conspiracy posts. One going around right now is the “plandemic.” According to this crazy theory, Covid-19 is a plan cooked up by Trump-haters. These so-called haters are attributing deaths from heart attacks, cancer, etc., to Covid to make Trump look bad, so they say. Fauci is evil and a pawn for Bill Gates. Such conspiracies spiral on Facebook. These people have no qualms about never fact-checking their information. And what’s even more depressing are people who repost this garbage, glomming onto these misguided theories with even more whacked out nonsense.
The tributes to the deceased are tricky. You want people to be remembered. You want to celebrate their lives and reflect on the good things they did for this world. I understand that. But many of the posts smack of maudlin self-pity. I might give these posts a pass except for one that showed the deceased in an open coffin.
So why am I on Facebook? Good question. Many of my friends have signed off permanently. I guess I’m still on because I have friends whom I don’t see often, and I enjoy hearing what they are up to. For whatever reason, I love all the animal stories—animals being rescued; animals of different species cavorting together, etc. Also, sometimes people post interesting articles that I missed or an opinion piece that causes me to pause. I like the recipes, restaurant reviews, and some travel pictures. During the pandemic, I’ve also found some pandemic parody songs rather entertaining. But I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth the pain.
We’ve all read studies that say the more time people spend on Facebook, the more depressed they become. I agree. I begin to feel hostile. Yesterday when I saw the 14th picture of the same woman, it took everything I had not to post a mean reply. I think what gets me down about Facebook these days is how self-centered people are. Also, sometimes it seems they just want everyone to know how great their lives are, how much they volunteer, how much they travel, etc. I suppose we can all live vicariously by seeing the lives of these successful happy people with great jobs, beautiful children, super vacations, and unbelievably sumptuous gourmet meals. But at the end of the day, I say: Put a sock in it. Perhaps we should all spend more time posting articles about how great other people are rather than ourselves. Now there’s a thought.
Maria Grant served as Principal-in-Charge of the Federal Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting. Since her retirement from Deloitte, she has focused on writing, music, reading, travel, gardening, and nature.