It was the meanest thing ever said to me on my birthday.
It wasn’t even said by someone, but instead by a cold, grey computer screen. I was annoying. Or really, I had annoying behavior, according to the masters of manners and moderators at Facebook.
You’re probably familiar with the social media tradition to wish your friends on Facebook a happy birthday by writing on their wall. I have a lot of lovely friends, and many of them wrote very nice things in honor of my special day. I am always amazed at the number of people who take a minute to write a little something. I heard from family, former co-workers, a high school crush, a guy I listen to on the radio, people who know me from television and people I’ve never met. Some guy said I looked 25. (God bless him) While sipping a birthday cocktail, I started going through and liking each post on my wall. I thought it would be nice to acknowledge the birthday wishes, just a little thumbs up, a “like” – mostly a thank you for taking a minute to wish me a happy birthday.
But somewhere around the 250th “like”, the masters at Facebook put an end to it all.
Up popped a box, all important looking. It warned me that I had engaged in “annoying behavior” by over-using the “like” button. Not only was I called annoying, they suspended my “liking” privileges for 24 hours. I could not “like” a new baby picture. I could not “like” a job update. I could not “like” that someone changed their status to “engaged”. Couldn’t “like” a darn thing. And if I tried to “like” anything? The FB police said they would shut down and ban my account. Ban me. From Facebook. For liking my birthday wishes. On my wall. I wish I could have been in that Zuckerberg meeting when they figured out the threshold for how many “likes” are legal. (Cue dream sequence music)
“How many times can you like something a day?” says scruffy 21-year-old guy, slurping Red Bull and wearing baggy shorts.
“Dude. Why like anything?” asks Zuckerberg, trying to re-wire an old Commodore Vic-20 into the latest laptop.
“Because it saves you from writing anything. Just click, and like it.” yawns scruffy kid.
“Ok. How about 249?” suggests the Zuck.
“You got it,” as scruffy kid starts programming like a madman.
“But liking 250 things in one sitting? No way. They hit 250 and we kick them off Facebook. Forever. And brand them annoying,” declares Zuckerberg and leaves the room to take a call from Al Gore.
Ok, so maybe it didn’t happen that way. But clearly, annoying is in the eye of the beholder. How about banning the person who “pokes” me everyday? Or sends me questions constantly like, “Does Christy eat dirt? Click here to find out!” What about harvesting stuff on Farmville or whatever. I guess some might find the pictures I post of my kids annoying. Or when I vent about car bumper stickers. That’s probably annoying too. So, in the social media world I guess we just can’t “like” everything.
I recently started up on Google +. Last night it recommended people I should add to my circles. The list included, you guessed it, Mark Zuckerberg.