Monday, August 04, 2008

Al Hsu is thinking about Facebook statuses

I’ve been noticing that Facebook statuses are changing how I live. I often find out about news from people’s Facebook statuses. I first heard about the death of Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter through a Christianity Today editor’s Facebook status, and likewise several people posted about the passing of theologian T. F. Torrance a few months back. I saw a status today with "RIP Solzhenitsyn." I’ll see prayer requests, job postings, engagements and new babies announced on Facebook statuses. I learn all sorts of things about old friends and new acquaintances in terms of their hobbies, travel, relationships, anniversaries, birthdays, everything.

It seems that there are quite a few different kinds of Facebook statuses:

The announcement. “Joel is leaving IVP.” “Ted is looking for a new news editor for CT.” “Kurt and Taryn's baby is a mischievous rascal who won't let anyone know its gender.”

The travel update. “Amanda is leaving for Ramallah tomorrow.” “Heather thought she was going to Maine but ended up in Venice!”

The media review. “Kylene just saw a really great musical – The Jersey Boys!” “Deacon just saw Swing Vote and has decided to vote.” “Christa thinks that sequels to Hellboy and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants might qualify as crimes against humanity.”

The cultural reference. “Rebecca thinks that tomorrow night will be a Dark Knight.” “Al is defying gravity.”

The spiritual status. “Ann is awestruck by God’s kindness.” “Joshua is distressed but trusting in God’s faithfulness.”

The commentary. “Laura thinks ill of Hasbro.”

The school status. “Karissa keeps falling asleep while trying to memorize Hebrew vocabulary.”

The parenting status. “Christina is deeply understanding what is terrible about two.”

The just-for-fun status. “Kevin is trying fried things on sticks at the state fair.”

The status that says that there’s more to the story. “David made it halfway through VBS with only one visit from the cops.” “Adrianna may have saved a man’s life.” “Al hopes he got all of the poop off of the TV.”

The enigmatic status. “Agnieszka is opening the red vein of pathos and the blue vein of analysis.” Andy is singing, "When I think of dexamethasone and all it's done for me, I could dance, dance, dance all night."

The status on the status. “Warren is sitting here trying to figure out what to write in this box.”

It also occurs to me that statuses can be occasion for temptation. Sometimes it’s hard to know if a status is self-aggrandizing or boastful. I wonder if I should post a status like “Al just got his official membership certificate from the Triple Nine Society for scoring at the 99.9th percentile on a standardized intelligence/aptitude test.” I want to post it, but is that bragging? Sigh.

Facebook statuses are kind of like author bios (which are usually provided by the author). A Publishers Weekly article by Elisha Cooper commented that “Ms. Bigtime Author divides her time between New York and London” also means “…and you don’t.” Cooper says that it might be more honest to have something like: “Mr. Midlist Author worries a lot. He lives in New Jersey. He’s hoping his new novel is better than his last one.”

I also realized recently that the fewer friends your friends have, the more impact your Facebook status will have. If your friends have a thousand friends, your Facebook status will barely register on their screen – blink and you miss it. But if your friends only have a few hundred friends or less, there’s more chance that they’ll actually see your status.

Anyway, what other Facebook statuses are there? The health status, the job status, the work status, the snarky status, etc.? I thought of the “too much information” status, but didn’t want to give any examples. And I have yet to see someone announce a breakup or divorce through a Facebook status. What other kinds of statuses do you see?

1 comment:

Milton Stanley said...
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