You’re a grown-ass woman. Depending on how grown-ass, it’s likely that Facebook has played a substantial part in the majority of your adult life. I first signed up for the ol’ FB as a first year at Queen’s University, and it’s really kind of terrifying how quickly Zuckerberg’s creeper baby became an integral part of on-campus social life. We used it for starting parties, for expressing our interests, finding others with similar ones and, duh, we used it to stalk, stalk, stalk. There are a lot of benefits to The Social Network (reference): it’s great for keeping in touch with family and friends who are far away, it helps you figure out who at your workplace is crazy about gun control, and exposes us all to more cat videos than we might be capable of finding on our own, which is always a positive. But despite these bonuses, Facebook is a bit of a reservations quagmire, at least for me. Do you have to accept the friend request of that guy from work? What do you do when you accidentally ‘like’ a photo about 70-back in an old album of that cute new gal you just met? What the hell even is Farmville and why did I once see a middle-aged woman play a game called Dog Mafia (exactly what it sounds like) for an entire train journey from Kingston to Montreal?? Let’s talk this through. We’re all “friends” here.
Don’t freak out, just personalize your experience
Maybe you don’t like baby pictures. Or food updates. Or inter-relationship wall posting (“luv u i’m in the living room lol #we’remarried”). The nice thing about Facebook’s ever-expanding range of personalization options is that while they are really just ways to trick you into leaving your settings at default and sharing waaaay more information than you intended to or realize, if you know how to use them, you can ruthlessly curate the content that makes it to your Timeline and Newsfeed. Don’t want to see your elementary school classmate’s thoughts on gun control anymore? Presto! “Remove from Newsfeed.” Want to make sure your Dad can’t see those racy tagged pics from your trip to Hanlan’s Point? Boom! “Create List: Family, Limited Profile.” It’s up to you who sees what you post and how much you see of what other people post. No need to bitch about your aunt who won’t stop sharing sea pollution facts.* The power is in YOUR hands! Kind of. It’s in Facebook’s hands, really, but they give you a bit of wiggle room to enjoy yourself.
Don’t try to add someone you don’t know in real life
Special shout-out to the British reader of an article I wrote who sent me a message telling me to “fuck off back to Canada” and then sent me a friend request! #cute #fun #defaccepted #bestfriendsforlife
Facebook chat is for flirting
We have all been here. Less committal than texting (you don’t even need to ask for a number!), yet more likely to carry into actual conversation due to boredom, Facebook chat is the last refuge of the perv, a place where you can get pretty forward without even the risk of a face-to-face rejection. If a dude or lady that you don’t know that well, or an ex, or a friend you’ve been getting ViBeZ from lately is hittin’ you up at night on Facebook chat, look for any or all of the following: “I’m drunk,” “[subtle reference to you being very attractive],” “we should make out lol,” “I’m into you.” If you see any of the above, especially the last one, chances are high that they are into you. Proceed as you like.
Try not to overwhelm people
These are your Friends, remember. Do you want to hurt your friends? No? Then COOL OUT. (NB: “Cool out” is something I said once by accident but no one corrected me and now I’m not sure if it’s a real phrase or not??) (I Googled and the answer is: “It was, in the 70s.”) Speaking non-parenthetically of the 70s, remember how when you had people over to look at your vacation slides—we all remember this for sure—and you had to curate only the best ones because no one except Don “Bummer” Draper wanted to sit in the dark, scrolling endlessly through photos of other people having fun? Apply this premise to your vacation album. Or your “night @ da club” album. Or your “Went for a walk, did you know trees exist? You can look at them close up or far away” album. This rule does not apply to your “my new puppy” album, but it does apply to sharing videos you think are cute, or long-winded rants about politics, religion, or why you are blessed.
A word on invites
If I wanted to play “Be a Football Manager” (real game, somehow) with you, I would already be playing it, and being the best at football management on the nonstop thrill ride that is that game, I’m sure. Please do not invite me to play Candy Crush with you, as you can see I am a curmudgeon and also waste enough time on the Internet as it is, also ALSO I’m sorry but I don’t care about your Words with Friends score.
Another quick word on invites
I’m probably not coming to your comedy show.
Hatebooking is bad for you
Don’t treat Facebook like a zoo of human error. Who cares how tacky that guy from your old music class is? Why do you need to look at 100 pictures of your ex’s new girlfriend? You don’t. This is a very common, very human, but very ugly practice that we are all guilty of engaging in more than we’d like to admit. Let’s just try not to, this year, yeah? It’s nice out—you have better things to do! I know That Girl just changed her status to “~*~*the truth is in the stars, and damien you are my star*~*~,” but you don’t know what that means and you never will! Neither does she! Move it along, nothing to see here.
No poking anyone, ever, at any time.
“Facebook is a dynamic, ever-changing social media platform. As such, it’s important that we’re constantly updating and changing all of its features. Nothing shall remain the sa–oh, the poke function? Leave it. It’s perfect.” – Mark Zuckerberg
It sounds like a lot, but try not to overthink it. Live your life! You’re doing great! You have 12 new notifications and they are all me liking your profile picture! Happy Facebook, everyone!
*Sea pollution is a real and serious issue, maybe your aunt has a point.
Add Monica on twitter: @monicaheisey