When I first signed up for Facebook, I was thrilled to get back in touch with old friends, distant relatives, high school classmates and old co-workers. I'd check in to find out they had new children, new spouses, new lives, new hobbies, and new kitchens. It was like having a little newspaper that only printed news about people I actually knew.
It was very exciting. Me, I never really have much new going on in my life, so I don't post on Facebook very often. Who wants to hear things like, "Woke up this morning and my feet hurt. Is it a bone spur or plantar fasciitis?" "Played golf this afternoon. Could have got a better score using a shovel." "Burned burgers on the grill. Ate cold KFC instead."
Some people have no problem posting every little detail about their lives, and that doesn't bother me. It's like keeping a diary. No, I don't really need to know what they're having for dinner tonight, but they're just chatting -- like they were having a phone call with a friend. But slowly, over the years, it has become clear if I knew certain people from their Facebook postings alone, I wouldn't like them at all.
Some, because they overshare. Yes, I'm sure your kid is the cutest, most adorable, fabulous thing ever. But let someone else say it for a change. It's so much more believable coming from an aunt, an uncle or a random stranger than from the parents.
With others, it's the deluge of cute cat photos. Face it, a cat's only job is to be cute. That, and leaving half-eaten dead things on your back porch. I take lots of pictures of my own cute cats, and I spoil them silly and waste all kinds of time with them and a laser pointer. But here's the thing -- do I really want to share that with people I used to work with 25 years ago? And what does it say about you when your cat is more interesting than you are?
People of Earth, listen to me: Bill Gates is not a fool. For the millions of you posting that could-not-possibly-be-more-Photoshopped picture of Bill Gates holding a sign that says he'll give you $5,000 if you "share" his message, let me rip this Band-Aid off with one quick pull -- he won't. Ain't gonna happen.
And your politics. Every day you post five or six bumper-sticker slogans that make my blood boil. It's hard to believe that once, long ago and far away, we used to talk about girls and music and sports and movies. We were in perfect agreement all the time. But now that we've been out of touch for only 45 years, you've become one of them. I don't know who you are anymore, man.
Now, you may ask, why don't I just unfriend the people I don't like? It's hard enough keeping the three I've got.
Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.