My senior year of high school I was given the nickname “Awkward Angie.” I was known for tripping on air, choking on nothing, and situations that would only happen to me such as vacuuming a car key, spilling coffee on myself in the perfect pee-looking shape and making terrible second impressions with employers. It got to the point where someone would trip on the stairs and say, “Aww, I just pulled an Angie.”
However, this wonderful thing happened: Facebook. It leveled the playing field and made me normal in a world of hundreds of others who scroll like zombies staring at a screen all day and night. In college I found out there are others like me who know the pain of accidently liking a status from two years ago, or frantically untagging yourself from that hideous selfie you took on your friend’s phone.
Together, Nathan Messmer (NM) and I (AK) came up with a simple guide to properly Facebook stalk and/or gawk.
NM: Before you start Facebook stalking, delete everything from your own Facebook from before 2012. The dark ages don’t need to be mentioned. Ever. If you don’t, the stalkee could turn this back on you and resurrect your first profile picture. Yikes.
AK: A basic rule is don’t relive puberty – yours or anyone else’s. Don’t let others see your photos and poor grammar from those times.
NM: If you accidentally “like” something on someone’s page that dates back from 2008, don’t stop. Embrace your situation. Keep liking things. Like their profile pictures. Like their friendships. Like their mom’s statuses. Don’t. Stop. Liking. Your fate has been sealed.
AK: There’s no way out of that black hole, you let one “like” slip you can’t take it back. You may not have chosen that life, but own it like you meant to.
NM: Make sure you unlink all those stupid games that you’re still playing. I mean, congratulations on solving a crime in Criminal Case, but I don’t need it popping up on my newsfeed. At least FarmVille died out, right?
AK: Don’t be that person. It wasn’t cool then. It’s not cool now.
NM: If your best friend posts something, you have to like it within two minutes – otherwise your best friendship privileges will be revoked. A true modern tragedy.
AK: True story.
NM: Never let someone’s selfie go unliked. That’s just sad. If they feel confident enough to post a selfie, feel confident enough to like it. Be that person to step up and validate them.
AK: I, however, oft chose not to like individual selfies for those friends who have whole albums dedicated to the art form.
NM: Liking things is free. Like away. It costs less than a second and it may make someone’s day.
AK: Prayer Requests. This is the common struggle faced by many of this generation, especially since we go to a Christian college. Personally, I just stare at the post and wait it out for the brave soul who first acts and follow suit. From what I’ve gathered it’s appropriate to “like” the status. Liking the status doesn’t mean you enjoy their suffering or their family member’s, it means you’re acknowledging the request. However, if it feels awkward to “like” it, then also leave a comment. Not some phony comment explaining your actions, but rather an encouragement.
NM: Commenting – also free. Even if it’s just a “You look so good!” or “You’re dumb and I love you also we should hang out soon.” Do it. You can make someone’s life a lot better just by a simple sentence.
AK: Side note: You can un-follow comment threads. Praise the Lord. Just because you like someone’s photo of graduation doesn’t mean your destiny is being notified by all his or her relatives. Comment away, give them encouragement, but know there’s a way to be friendly without feeling annoyed by others’ encouragement.
NM: Post whatever you want. Seriously. It’s your Facebook page. You shouldn’t have to cater to your “friends.” If they’re your actual friends, they’ll respect what you have to say, even if they disagree. If not, they can unfriend you. No big deal. Life goes on.
AK: Your Facebook Wall reflects you; it’s your name in the banner. Post what you want to represent you, what you want to be associated with.
Facebook is a fickle friend. In the end it can be a tool of great connections, but also great procrastination. Use at your own risk.