Saturday, 2 August 2008

Status Update Anxiety

Fancy having one sentence and one sentence only to convince everyone you have ever met, your former classmates, your colleagues as well as all your wife's friends that you are not only well-connected but also enormously witty? The Facebook Status Update is your stage.

There are numerous things about Facebook which - for the innocent by-stander - seem hard to understand, and the fact that the founder allegedly turned down a 1bn+ offer to sell it is only one of them.

For those not in the know, apart from being able to upload pictures, poke friends (or people you simply fancy) and give away virtual gifts (in exchange of real pay of course), you also have the chance, or as it turns out almost a moral obligation, to let everybody know what you are up to.

In the early days (which aren't that long ago), this usually amounted to statements like

  • [R] is at home,
  • [Y] is at work.
  • [T] has a cold.
But now, since anyone who is anything has friends at least in triple digits, you don't want to read that 50 of your friends at at work and another 30 are at the pub. Hence there is a demand for quirkier, punchier and wittier status update.

We have the right to know what our friends are doing, and we have the right to be entertained. In the best possible case, both at once.

Apart from the fact of being disposable, short and usually instantly forgotten, some of the funnier ones have stuck to my mind. For instance a friend in Richmond on a weekend of District Line work stating that
[G] is stuck in Richmond for the weekend without Tube or train. It's like the beginning of a posh slasher movie.
or another friend who with the innocuous looking update
[A] begs Mistadobalina, Mista Bob-dobalina won't you stop.
did put the almost-forgotten "Del The Funky Homosapien" track straight back into my head where it stayed for way too long after reading his line.

Of course, there are more existential ones as
[J] is therefore he thinks.
or the rather self-aware
[K] is updating his status.
It has become a standard to announce the birth of babies by saying
[A] is Geronimo's proud daddy. 6:10am, 6lbs, 12oz.
and during the recent Euro Championship, I was easily able to deduce all results by just looking at what Spanish, Italian, German and French friends had put down.

Then recently, amongst a list of sometimes amusing, sometimes only accessible to insiders and sometimes though not boring but rather informative updates, I found a friend whose father had passed away days earlier stating
[X] misses her daddy.
and this one stuck more than all the others.