I’ll be the first one to admit that I love Facebook. I love Facebook in a manner that many wouldn’t describe as “platonic.” I love intently scrolling down my newsfeed and discovering every minute detail of all the incredibly heinous people I know. I love clicking through photo albums and practically becoming vicariously intoxicated through them. I especially love defriending annoying people from my high school after they post the 30th consecutive status posting lyrics from a Rascal Flatts song. However, a few years ago, my utopian virtual community was greatly endangered when my parents invited themselves into it. Mom and Dad, I love you both very much, but here’s what it boils down to: If you were alive when Nikita Khrushchev took office, you’re too old to understand the basic inner workings of social networks. Thus, without further ado, I present: The 3 Facebook Atrocities That Old People Routinely Commit.
3. The Weird Profile Picture
I don’t know what it is about being born during the Eisenhower administration that makes the concept of a profile picture so difficult for older people to grasp, but it’s seriously becoming an issue. Part of the problem is that our nation’s soon-to-be social security recipients have managed to bastardize the sanctity of the profile picture in such a wide variety of ways. The first infraction is the “Family Member” pic, in which a geriatric friend’s profile picture is a picture of his or her son, daughter, spouse, or something of the sort. While this gesture is meant endearingly about 90% of the time (the other 10% is just old guys trying to make themselves seem younger so they can pick up cheap elderly floozies), it still adds confusion to the chaotic fuckshow that Facebook already is. Another infraction of Prof-Pic etiquette is the “Doppelgänger” pic – an approach that gets old after about a week and only works if it’s a good doppelgänger. (Side note: I’m not putting an umlaut over the “a” in doppelgänger. My computer is doing it for me. I’m not that pretentious. I also have a very serious personal aversion to umlauts.) The doppelgänger approach is very proudly employed by my parents, or as strangers might know them, Lou Reed and Doris Day. The third infraction is the “What the fuck” profile picture, in which the picture is something that literally could not make less sense. Examples of this infraction include the planet Saturn, a garden hose, and a dead fish.
2. The Oblivious Comment
The only thing worse than old people being socially oblivious on their own Facebook pages is when their unawareness inevitably encroaches onto your Facebook page. Old people have a tendency to make the most awkward and unfitting comments on statuses, wall posts, and pictures. For example, I recently posted a link to Manua Hiki-Hiki’s Small Penis Rule article on my Facebook page, seeing as the central tenet of the Sherman Ave code is that shameless self-promotion is a must. My step-father wasted no time in commenting: “Somehow, without even reading the byline, Pete, I knew this was you.” Yep. A small penis joke made at my expense. By my step-father. If that isn’t heinous, I’ve truly lost my grip on reality. (On the bright side, a few years ago when he thought it would be appropriate to imply that one of my statuses was about masturbation, he at least had the good sense to message me his atrociously unfunny joke instead of posting it for the world to see.) What’s even funnier is when older folks comment on a picture and fail to pick up on the fact that everyone in the picture is unreasonably intoxicated. Comments like “Sitting down in the middle of Sheridan is unsafe!” or “Why are those cups arranged in a triangle?” never fail to bring unprecedented levels of discomfort to Facebook albums.
I honestly don’t understand what isn’t clear about this fact: Facebook is not about sincerity. Facebook is not about congratulating people on achievements, expressing genuine interest in their lives, or sharing legitimate ideas. It’s called Facebook, not Church Fucking Picnic. Facebook is a never-ending competition to be the most obnoxious person you can be. Facebook is about recording videos of someone sitting next to you in lecture and posting it to their wall. Facebook is about finding a picture of a young Sir Twattingworth III and posting it on the walls of 35 friends. Facebook is about posting the link to a Sporcle quiz on a friend’s wall to implicitly indicate that you aced the quiz and will subsequently power-trip about it. Facebook is about finding your way into the Notre Dame Class of 2015 Facebook group and ruining it. And as long as gerontology study subjects fail to realize the unthinkable heinousness of Facebook, they will be forever tainting it (lol) with their old person sincerity and awkwardness.