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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Facebook Status Etiquette, v 1.0


Don't get me started.  Or, better yet, please do.  There are a few blogs out there that haven't yet been completely unleashed on the reader world.  They are the great undiscovered and, well, daggone it, have I ever found one that is hilarious - one of the best reads that I enjoy almost daily.  That would be "Diary of An American Boy, or, A Life Worth Remembering," By Charlie Robert Pratt. 

Several times a week, I'll pop on over to Charlie's place and see what he's up to.  You see, he is writing a book and his blog "is" his book (more or less).  And I assure you that when his book is published, I'm going to be one of the first in line, behind his mother, of course, to buy it.  There is just something about his prose that inspires me to be a better writer.  Another neat thing, I might add, is that Charlie and I have become acquaintances over the course of the last few months since I discovered his writings, his ramblings, his blog.  And, we both live in Charlotte, this wonderful Queen city. 

So, please forgive me, but since I can't think of a post today that would tickle your fancy better than the one he posted the other day about Facebook, I am going to share it with you if for no other reason than to give you one hell of a hearty laugh this Monday morning - especially if you use Facebook. 

I sure do love my contributing authors - they're the best! 

Take it away Charlie! ...

Facebook Status Etiquette, v 1.0

What follows is an attempt, on my part, to bring to light certain verbal evils being perpetrated on the public through the continual and widespread misuse of the Facebook status message. All of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.


Now, you may be sitting here thinking, “Charlie, really - who cares? It’s a Facebook status message. Seriously, does it matter?” Most days, I’d nod and agree with you. But unfortunately, the time has come to clean house. I can no longer sit idly by and watch countless intelligent, employed Americans misrepresenting themselves and their own intelligence by underestimating the effect their words have on the modern world.

So then, let us begin.


1. The “Is” Debacle - This is a doozy. When you click on the status bar to leave a new status message, Facebook automatically inserts your name and, as a sort of verbal kick-start, the third person singular present tense of the word “be,” or, “is.” Don’t let this throw you, folks. You don’t have to include the word “is” in your message. This isn’t fascist Germany - you have the power. There are some that routinely fail to manage this little extra insertion and leave us scratching our heads and wondering why our brains just threw up as we read these ol’ chestnuts:

“Jimmy is cheese!”

“Janie is just got laid off. I need a drink.”


These status messages can be understood, but only after awkwardly bouncing over the verbal speed bumps. Over time, this sort of misuse becomes extremely common, and if we’re not careful, could easily slip into the American vernacular, leading possibly to Presidents giving speeches that begin as follows:

“My fellow Americans: Your President is we just bombed Iran. SUCK IT, AHMADINEJAD!!”

Do your part, citizens, and spare us this awful, awful future.


2. The Braggadocious Update - This is the passive-agressive’s favorite Facebook feature. It occurs when one makes use of the Facebook status message to indicate some sort of achievement, personal athletic feat, special gift, or upcoming travel plans.

“Belinda loves her new Miata!!”

“Bart just ROCKED his first half-marathon.”

“Brock is out running 10 miles in the sleet and driving rain. Hit up the celly.”

“Boris totally digs his sweet new job.”

Now, the intentions responsible for these eye-roll-inducing messages are all generally harmless, although it indicates a certain amount of need inherent in the person’s life for public approval and/or praise. The whole purpose of posting status messages like these is to elicit further investigation from the people in their lives. It’s important that you not instantly respond by commenting or leaving a message on their wall, thus validating bad behavior and becoming a part of the epidemic.


3. The “Look At Me, I Have A Family” Problem - No kiddin’, I love families. Really. I would love to have one someday. And I like to think that I’d avoid this next point of malfeasance, but it seems that even the best of people fall prey to this mistake. Some people, in an apparent attempt to self-validate, post smarmy domestic updates that serve only to point the finger at anyone who doesn’t have a home, children, or a garage.

“Cindy is watching the kids fingerpaint while planning our next trip to Disney.”

“Carol can’t believe that nine kids can be so tiring! Yay, Grey’s comes on tonight!!”

“Chris just took Layla and Breedon to get their hair cut - thank you, Supercuts.”

It’s not that we don’t care. We do. We really do. It’s just that, well, we don’t want to have to.


So, that’s a start. Even as we speak, Facebook Status Etiquette v. 1.1 is in the works. Stay tuned for further updates. Charlie is I hope you all have a good day!

Charlie Pratt is ...

Susan is ... laughing my butt off at this post!!! THIS "ARE" SO TRUE!!!! I just discovered the back button to delete the "is" in that status message on Facebook. Before that I was always having to think of a message that was grammatically 'is' correct."


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