A new survey has revealed the type of Facebook post people hate the most: people moaning about their personal lives.
Rantic.com asked 10,000 people what boils their blood the most: ‘political rants’, ‘baby photos’, ‘selfies’, ‘food pictures’ or ‘personal problems’. A clear amount – 62 per cent of men, 67 per cent of woman – judged the latter to be the most heinous.
No great surprise there, although ‘personal problems’ is clearly the most ambiguous of the five, denoting as it could anything from “OMG! Been on the phone to my useless bank for hours now!!! <angry face emoji>” to a heartfelt update about a family bereavement. We suppose it’s the petty stuff – the status updates you can’t click ‘like’ hoping it’s interpreted as ‘here are my sincere condolences’ – that wind people up people the most.
What does this tell us about friendship in 2016? Not much really, except perhaps to underline how diluted the concept has become. After all, what is a ‘friend’ other than someone who endures your gripes and moans with good humour because they enjoy your better selves at other times, someone who lends an ear when it’s needed because they know the gesture will be reciprocated; someone, in other words, who cares. The survey also found that most people only consider between 40 and 60 per cent of their Facebook friends to be ‘actual friends’, meaning we almost all are playing to a sizeable audience we can’t trust to give us the benefit of the doubt when we post.
‘Personal problem’ updates are also annoying, of course, because being negative about things – ironically the very lifeblood of enjoyable chats ‘IRL’, where conspiratorial gossip and outrageous slander and moaning about our shortcomings and cursing our bad luck is such bloody good fun – is taboo on Facebook and social media in general, where we dance a merry jig to the tune of ‘likes’ and hearts and shares and cute yellow cartoon faces and the very nuts and bolts of social media foster a tone of relentless positivity.
The survey doesn’t say, but I wonder how many ‘personal problem’ updates come from young millennials who have spent their entire social development online? One suspects it is the only old farts – people over 30 – who still occasionally mistake Facebook for a place where personal disappointment or dissatification will be tolerated as part and parcel of human interaction. The youngsters no doubt understand that the only tears that belong on Facebook are tears of laughter, while things like fear and sadness and howling at the injustices of a cruel world are things really best kept on the DM.