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Floundering on Facebook

Lucy shows how easy it is to make major blunders on this popular social networking site.

I admit it, I’m addicted to Facebook. I love it because I’ve connected with old friends from high school, am able to see pictures from my family who live all over the south and west, network with others in my field, and the list goes on. It’s been a blessing to me and many others.

Then again, I didn’t get nicknamed “Lucy” for nothing. Like my red-headed namesake, I manage to get myself into all kinds of sticky situations. Facebook proved no different. In fact, it proved to be a welcoming haven for me and others like me, to get into trouble.

One of the things I discovered is to be careful before hitting the enter button. I’ve done my best proofreading after I’ve posted something to my wall. Being a heroine in a play and being ON heroin are two very different things. Friends tend to make a big deal out of the discrepancy.

Along the right margin, you see friend suggestions. Once, I noticed a woman’s name that looked familiar. I went over to her profile, and realized it wasn’t who I thought it was. I was getting ready to go back to my page, when I accidentally sent her a friend request. As I was frantically trying to stop it from going through, I discovered that there’s no taking them back once they’re sent.

Somewhere in the Buena Vida Estates in Melbourne, Fla., an 82-year-old retired librarian is wondering why a ditsy writer in Pennsylvania wants to be her friend.

I’ve downloaded applications that asked for all kinds of permission. Thinking it was Facebook, and somehow immune to cyber thieves, I’d give it. I’ve been hacked three times; all after signing up for various games. Turns out, they love people like me and are thanking the hacking Gods for Facebook.

Unfortunately, Matt’s spent a great deal of time undoing what I managed to do in a few keystrokes and less than two seconds. I’ve even managed to download viruses, thinking I was downloading a virus blocker that was advertised on Facebook.

Something that I’ve never understood, though, is why some people post their every move to this huge social network (I know, it boggles the mind that I occasionally have a bit of common sense). While I’m happy to hear about your new job, or read a funny status, I don’t want to know that you’re having problems with your bowels – until just a few moments ago. But that could just be me.

I recently saw a status that read, “Got up late, went to work and got yelled at because it’s the second time this week, called my mom cause I don’t want to waste my free time speaking to her, found out my sister is pregnant, which is rich when you consider she doesn’t even have a steady boyfriend so who knows who the baby daddy is, but it reminded me to make a gynecological appointment for a new birth control prescription cause unlike my sister, I don’t want to get knocked up by some random guy, and now I’m home, on my fifth scotch on the rocks.” Aside from the fact that she isn’t familiar with a little something called correct punctuation, she probably forgot that both her mother and sister were her Facebook friends.

I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall that Thanksgiving.

Writing a very private note on another person’s wall instead of sending private messages is another thing I’ve done, and seen, one too many times. Most likely, it was done by mistake. Still, it’s hard to convince folks you were just kidding after you posted something like, “I tested positive; you might want to go have yourself checked, too.” Even a dummy like me won’t buy the excuse that you were taking a literacy test.

I never would have thought of this, but today, many employers will check you out on Facebook. Some think that’s getting close to violating privacy, and I can understand why. However, if you think it’s funny to show your friends that you can access internet porn during your work day, and then take a picture of your smiling face next to a computer displaying a large set of boobs while at your desk, some may say you asked for it. I’d just point and laugh; happy it wasn’t me – this time.

Frankly, it’s pretty easy to screw up on Facebook. But it took a couple of good gaffes before my friends let me in on a little secret – I could have deleted my embarrassing posts all along.

My friends are evil.

Facebook is a breeding ground for stupid, but it’s also been a wonderful tool to keep up with long lost friends and family. I’ve been back in touch with people I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years, wondering how I let so much time pass without them. I’ve also met a bunch of wonderful new friends that I can’t imagine life without.

In the meantime (thankfully), Facebook has acknowledged Internet infants like me that are precariously toddling along through cyber space and added a new feature – an edit button.

It’s about time.

Speaking of Facebook, remember to "Like" Lucy's Facebook page!

Sandy August 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Great artical Tami, and I completely agree we you. It baffles the mind why ppl. want to tell their every move, thought and personal information to the entire world. I love FB its like having your old friends right at your finger tips.
Heather Steinberg August 19, 2012 at 10:48 PM
There's a way to cancel a friend request. I've done it before!
CyD252 August 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM
I'm not sure about Internet Explorer, but if you use the Firefox browser, it has built-in spell-check. Incorrectly spelled (or otherwise unrecognized words) are underlined as soon as you type them.
Tamara Kells August 20, 2012 at 01:13 AM
My friend told me that too, Heather. It's another stellar "doh" moment for me. She reminded me that the reason I couldn't cancel it was because I'd forgotten her name; I remembered just about everything else about the woman - except her name. Thanks for the head's up!!
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