Life
by Lance Pauker on March 6, 2013

i-cant-wait
The majority of us have been on Facebook for over half a decade now. Over the course of that time, we and the people around us have seen some things and done some stuff. People who you may have considered your “friends” back in 2007 may now carry more disdain-filled titles, or may simply no longer be a primary focus of the radar.

But arguably more compelling, is this strange thing that happens as we move on from high school, and then college. The people that once played regular or even recurring roles in our lives have left the set,  increasingly rendering Facebook as yes, this place to keep up with our friends, but also a place to look into the lives of people we once knew. And with the passage of time, you could see these really interesting, often hilarious long-term story arcs developing. Meaning that somewhat involuntary, many of us are following a strange series of somewhat connected reality shows, made all the more intriguing because of our personal associations. Below is a small sampling of the sort of shit you’ve probably encountered:

1. The Soundcloud DJ

Big dubstepppp track dropping 2DAY. Git Excit3d, yo.

Impressively, this lover of frozen potato skins has parlayed his laptop ownership into a full-fledged career as a person who talks about using a computer program to make noises. He’ll often be motivated/encouraged by entourage of similar-minded Bros, all of whom have a remarkable affinity for knowing everything that’s on television at 2pm. Unconfirmed, but they may also be the same loose band of people who exhibited strange drooling habits well into middle school.

Key Storylines to Watch:

  • Do you find yourself anxiously awaiting his next track, inexplicably baffled as to why you’re so suddenly invested in this?

 

2. Person Who Started a Blog

Whether they’re a  20-something just tryna make it in the big city, a speciality cake enthusiast who claims “sugar makes the world go round,” or a self-deprecating Aubrey Plaza wannabe who hopes be recognized and embraced for their quirky yet lovable flaws, there’s a decent chance someone you know has recently created a personal narcissist amplifier, AKA a blog.

Key Storylines to Watch:

  • Do the “likes” and comments on their posts feel organic, or sympathetically obligation-induced?
  • Will they over-promote to the point of exhaustion?
  • Will they tease posts with self-important text such as “this week we tackle…,” insinuating there is actually a loyal fanbase?
  • Will they make it past five posts?
  • Will you begin to notice a considerable decline in how much you like this person?

 

3. The Couple Who Got Married Way Too Early, Have a Kid, and Clearly Won’t Make It

Too real/depressing/terrible to mock completely. Only cause the kid though.

Key Storylines to Watch:

  • How many times per week is social media employed to publicly declare sentiments of everlasting love?
  • When something is wrong–do we see statuses consisting of profound, substance-heavy statements about people and relationships, with a dark and depressing spin?
  • Is there someone commenting “everything ok?” under that status?

 

4. Sports Event Bandwagoning

One of the worst manifestations of the “Facebook is no longer cool” era is what occurs following the conclusion of a big-time, social network-relevant sports event. For instance, having graduated from Georgetown, “our” recent victory against Syracuse saw a Facebook natural disaster reminscent of the total devastation seen in the Aaron Eckhart vehicle, Battle: Los Angeles.

What’s annoying about this isn’t so much people being genuinely excited about a big-time victory. That is actually pretty cool, and I urge you not to allow the army of snark that is the internet limit you from actually having genuine emotion. The problem occurs though, when half of the people making these statuses are simply cashing in on the fact that something occurred, and thus find it necessary to join the conversation in hopes of enhancing or maintaining their social relevency. It’s this terribly shitty herd mentality, the same one that explains why people who hated dubstep 3 years ago now feel the need to say the word “Skrillex” every so often.

Key Storylines to Watch

  • How many of these “postgame statuses makers” also make statuses when the team is not playing?
  • How much mutual validation is occuring? (I’ll like your status if you like mine)
  • Is it more exciting to watch the game on Facebook/Twitter, or on television?

 

5. The Perpetually Single Girl

She wants nothing more than a boyfriend, which fully explains why she’s been unable to find one for the past three years now. I could imagine these sagas get more and more entertaining as people begin to announce engagements, post sonogram pictures, and unabashedly shove life achievements down everyone’s throats. You sort of have to feel bad for this specimen, but it’s tough to find higher quality entertainment.

Key Storylines to Watch

  • Will she tend to showcase relationshippy activities (i.e, a picture of homemade guacamole, captioned “date night!”), and tag her best friend?
  • Will she enthusiastically dedicate Valentines day to a pet, her family, an institution, or a geographic location?
  • As time passes, are her general sentiments getting more and more aggressive?
  • Are you increasingly concerned that a hysterical breakdown might be on the horizon?

6. Your Internet Soulmates

Personally, I find this to be the most compelling of all–people you know in real life, but have developed a better relationship through the virtual realm–those whose statuses, observations, and general virtual activity and/or brand you’ve come to respect and truly admire. And because of the natural reciprocity that comes with validating others on the internet, these often grow into strange virtual bromances.

Somewhat hilariously, though, you’re not exactly sure will totally translate into real life–often these are people from your hometown you were somewhat friends with, but would never actually arrange to see. So when you do run into them on that night before Thanksgiving, it’ll be an interesting, but ultimately slightly awkward encounter.

Key Storylines to Watch

  • After seeing them in person, do you like their social media presence more or less?
  • Will you resolve to develop any long-term business plans with this person?
  • Do you get irrationally disappointed when you “feel like they could’ve done better” with that last update?
  • Do you increasingly wish you were them?

 

7. Your Siblings

Maybe this is getting less and less prevalent, but that disconnect between the sibling in real-life and that in the virtual world is often somewhat distinct–particularly if you have a decent age gap, or if you don’t really hang out with the same people.

This of course, is sort of natural–if you really think about it, you reading your little brother’s Facebook wall is kinda like actually sticking around after dropping him off at Friendlys.

Key Storylines to Watch

  • If you bring their virtual activites into real life, will they be slightly embarrassed?
  • Is there virtual self better or worse than their actual self?
  • Would you like this person if they weren’t your sibling?
  • Would your sibling like you if you weren’t their sibling?

 

8. The Over-Promoter

An offshoot of the person with blog, the over-promoter is notorious for blatantly violating norms of the attention economy. Some over-promoters are tragically unaware of the long-term impacts their constant social media shouting will have on the strength of their #personalbrand, while others simply take advantage of the medium to call attention to their super-important agenda.

The over-promoter will almost always have a career-related end goal, so at times it’s tough to totally knock their hustle–on the outside looking in, it’s often just a necessary evil. Still though, undoubtedly a topic to discuss uproariously amongst your small group of friends while drinking demographically-applicable beers.

Key Storylines to Watch:

  • Are you constantly impressed by the boundaries they push on a daily basis?
  • Are you increasingly less surprised by the boundaries they push on a daily basis?

 

9. Your Favorite Brand Page

Whether it be a clothing company, a bar, or a television show, brands have this weird tendency to be either awesome on the internet, or flat-out terrible. A lot of this is the unfortunate result of people sitting in meetings between the years 2009-2011, being all like “social media! it’s a thing! maybe if I talk about this enough, I will get a raise!”

The effects of which, we are certainly feeling.

Key Storylines to Watch:

  • Does your favorite multi-million corporation sometimes talk like a stoner college kid?
  • Do you sort of wish the world was less transparent, so you didn’t actually have to face the brutal reality that is humans looking to make a profit trying too hard?

 

10. The Internet Activist

A pundit in his own right, this is the dude may actually think that his three paragraph soliloquy about some “issue” will actually make a difference. The activist will make it his sole mission in life to constantly berate opposing viewpoints, in the attempt to make them look like (a. idiots, and (b. terrible people who also like to burn small children. They’ll also have a tendency to cite strange websites that no one has ever heard of, but somehow appear to have a pretty considerable following.

Key Storylines to Watch:

  • Will they develop a “Gary” to their Ash Ketchum, who envetually gains a considerable comment section following of his own?
  • Is he/she actually very quiet and reserved in real life?
  • Do you both dance around the goings-on of this person’s ridiculous and virtually unavoidable onilne presence when interacting in real life?

 

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