For those of you who haven’t gotten into the trappings of social networking out here on the internet, I’ll give you a quick rundown of what’s going on. At this very minute, there are about gajillion different networks on the web where people set up profiles for themselves and then partake in a wide variety of activities. The obvious goals are catching up with old friends and making new ones, yet under that umbrella, there’s a veritable plethora of shenanigans one can perpetrate from the privacy of their own home with nothing but a computer and a dial tone.
Among some of the more popular social networking sites of late is Facebook. This site allows you to set up a profile, add your pictures and personal information, and join various networks attached to your place of work, schools, your hometown, and a slew of other options. One of the other features of Facebook is the existence of a wall for each user profile. The wall is used for members to talk to each other outside of the email or instant messaging utility built into the site. Comments which serve as small talk land on these walls. They’re usually along the lines of “Hey, good to see you. How long has it been?” The wall also advertises the latest pictures or videos you’ve posted, along with the results of the silly little quizzes you can take on there too. It doesn’t end there though.
Naturally there are all types of business, public figures, political movements, hobbyists, and the like who set up fan pages over there as well. Don’t forget websites though. I happen to know there is a fan page for at least one website right now. (That was a subtle hint to let you know that TharpSter.Org has a fan page which can be found here.)
Another feature about the wall is the status updates. Remember that guy from your 11th grade English class that made a sarcastic remark to the teacher once? Thanks to the wall you can now track his movements, as he has just updated his status as on the way to Home Depot. What about that co-ed back in college who used to drive you nuts with her infectious giggle? She just put it on her wall that she’s going over to the trendy coffee house to meet up with old friends.
Now I’m all for these sites and doing stuff like this. I draw a line at letting everyone know what’s going on in my life at any given moment via an ad-based social networking site though. Do you really care that I’m a little nervous about sitting in my home office chair right now because it looks like a chair leg is going to break? Is your day going to change in anyway knowing that I had Hamburger Helper for dinner tonight? No. As such, I’m not going to put it on my wall. Instead, I shoot for the absurd. Just the other day, a Facebook friend from work pulled me aside. With a real serious look on her face, she advised me in hushed tones that half the time she doesn’t understand the status updates I put out there. Quality is Job 1. That’s exactly what I’m looking for. If I can’t dazzle them with my brilliance, I’ll baffle them with bull. Regardless, they’re still reading my updates.
With that in mind, I conducted my own little science experiment which didn’t involve any mason jars or Bunsen burners.
I’ve been a member of Facebook for about 15 months now. In that time, I’ve posted 176 status updates. Of those, 109 of them have garnered a comment from a current friend, a family member, or a friend from way back when.
Yes. I know. It’s pretty disturbing to know that I’ve gone back through my Facebook to count my comments. What should be even creepier is the fact that I went through and gathered the updates that earned a response, and did a statistical analysis on the subject matter to see what was more popular. It would appear that my insatiable desire to put my smart-assery on display for the entire world (actually about 130 people) to see on an almost daily basis is paying off where social networking is concerned.
Among some of the more popular updates are:
- Wondering how many turduckens were on the ark.
- Loves to send lengthy and thought provoking emails about critical subject matters which demand immediate attention to the bosses that read all of their correspondence on a Blackberry.
- Invites you to join in the resistance against the oppressive ways of the argyle consortium.
- Looking for the hidden code / meaning in the inaugural poem while making music with wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
- Reminds you that the difference between a ‘moot point’ and a ‘mute point’ is not really as moot as you would like it to be.
Sadly, some of my favorite updates turned into sleepers which went ignored:
- Regretting the incident with the nacho cheese.
- Wondering what Pythagoras of Samos did before he started measuring right triangles.
- Just realized the pool cleaner is a Cylon.
- Wonders why a 12 ounce Blizzard from Dairy Queen is only 8 ounces of Blizzard on the top and 4 ounces of unmixed, vanilla soft serve on the bottom.
- Going back to town for a load of dimes. Stupid prairie tollbooths.
So there you go. I’ve got a spreadsheet with a bunch of numbers on it that point to the types of status updates I should provide to hit my targeted demographic. The saving grace is that the time I wasted putting that stuff together could have been spent watching TV instead.
For what it’s worth I had Hamburger Helper for dinner tonight, and I’m pretty sure this old chair is going to sacrifice a limb any moment now.