My Guide to Facebook passive-aggressiveness

Now, if you know me and/or have seen my Facebook page, you know I think this site is the best thing since heated ice cream scoops. For busy introverted opinionated people such as myself, it is the perfect way to keep in touch with folks, strengthen connections, share amusing links and clips,   and even find people you’ve lost touch with. As for the redesign, I think it’s great, making each person’s page easier to navigate. And before you say that Facebook took such-and-such away, do a little exploring. For example, I talked to someone who said that when you click on photos, you can no longer see which ones were tagged by other people. Well, you can if you click the picture link under the profile picture. Problem solved.

But I digress. Facebook, as well as other social networking websites, blogs, Twitters and even instant messaging platforms have encouraged a epidemic of passive-aggressiveness that I have not see before in my young life. Because of this, I am dedicating this note/article to the Art of Passive-Aggressive Behavior, 2.0. NOTE: If you’ve done any of the following things, you are not alone and thus, this note is not a personal attack. I’m just feeling a little shrewd today. Dust it off and have a hearty laugh at our generation with me.

But first, a definition: defines “Passive-Aggressiveness” a pattern of expressing negative feelings in indirect, unhelpful ways. The key here is, the intention of the use, as well as the outcome.

Let’s start with the Facebook-specific phenomenon of “The Poke.”It’s been around since the first days of Facebook and I still don’t understand it. Essentially, it’s for people who want your attention without giving you a reason why. Why not send a “how are you?”message? A “what’s up”on the wall or we can even take it back to 1997 and make a *gasp* phone call.   Now, a “poke”in itself isn’t negative, but it’s not terribly helpful.   I thought this feature would have been eliminated by now, but alas, it remains. As for the people who’ve sent me “pokes” recently, expect a phone call/IM from me soon.

Next, we move on the The Wall. Most social networking sites have this. During the infancy of social networking websites, I didn’t understand how messages that would normally happen exclusively between two people turned into public fodder. My opinion of this has since evolved, and I too, post messages on people’s walls that could have been private messages. But here’s the catch: I don’t post things that are truly private. It feels good to have a wall full of people who care about how you’re doing, and part of the reason that any of us have social networking pages is because, deep down, we have a desire to show people that we are worth knowing. But hollerations? Outrageous weekend plans? Gossip? Take it to the inbox if you must (although I think gossip has very few appropriate places. We’re too old. Rise above, my brothers and sisters). Also, this goes for posting something on someone’s wall that may upset their significant other (ex: It was so great seeing you last night [name here].. (insert inappropriate detail here)). Cut that out, you ol’ Desperate Housewives/90210-watching marks.

Next up: The almighty Status Update. From the og-AIM, to Twitter, there are several websites and applications designed to keep people abreast of the latest haps with their peeps. I’m not suggesting that you censor yourself. If you’re pissed at your boss (provided that your boss isn’t one of your “friends”) tell ‘em why you mad son!! Having a vainglorious moment? Trumpet your success from the nearest cyber-mountaintop. But while you’re expressing yourself, ask yourself: Is what you’re putting in your status really meant for one person? A few people? Then posting said message may be passive-aggressive. Here’s an example:

[name here]is… in love with Barack Obama … NOT Passive Aggressive
[name here] is…setting up on that heifer who’s trying to steal the election from her man…

Passive Aggressive
A status update is also passive aggressive if it could potentially hurt someone’s feelings, and it’s highly likely that they would see it. Another example:
[name here].. realized today that the high school track star is working at Denny’s…FAIL!
The intention behind the words are just important as the words themselves, if not more.

Lastly, we come to Notes/Blogs. Now, this is trickier territory. I’m all for being transparent with the world. Furthermore, if you decide to look at a person’s blog, I think you should be prepared for whatever you find. But if the blog entry is from “your perspective”but deals almost exclusively with someone else’s actions in an unflattering way, it may be passive aggressive, depending on who you expect to see it. The key to all of this social technology, in my humble opinion (imho), is that it should encourage, not replace, good communication and healthy relationships. If you’re mad at someone, talk to them about it. If you can’t do that, then log off, stew in it for a while and let it go. If it’s not important enough to take to someone directly, it’s definitely not important enough to be on the internet.

So, if you’re reading this part, it means that you’ve read my entire rant for the week. I appreciate it, and I would love to here your thoughts. Also, if you think that this note in itself is passive-aggressive, you’ve got your critical thinking cap on. But this article was truly meant to amuse and inspire, and I repeat, was not directed at anyone specifically.

2 thoughts on “My Guide to Facebook passive-aggressiveness

  1. Carla

    You dated yourself callin the personal msg leavers “marks”. Lol!
    Love your writing so far.


  2. thought

    funny stuff. but you left out one thing that puzzles me the most about these sites – the friends. Is it passive aggressive to reply to a friend request with a “who are you?” type message? I know that may really hurt somebody’s feelings if they reply back that yal were best friends in the 3rd grade, but should a person be allowed to be my friend on one of these sites just cause they like my profile pic?


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