Ah the Facebook status. My generation's way of letting the world know all those things about ourselves that are too mundane to actually talk about in person...or on the phone...or in an e-mail...or in a Facebook message...or via wall posting. Yes indeed, with the status we have those little mental throwaways that we don't think warrant some form of communication higher on the interpersonal food chain, but are just too important to let slip into the ether. I myself have come to embrace the status update as a means of collecting the minute details of the lives of acquaintances, to be recalled in times of social awkwardness or when preceding a favour request.
It was with some dismay, then, that I witnessed the utter chaos that erupted in status boxes throughout cyberspace this past week as Facebook unveiled yet another new format. The dear old status box which prompted us by starting things off with a friendly "is," has been replaced by a Twitter-esque blank canvas asking "What's on your mind?". With these new developments all hell has broken loose on Facebook pages everywhere. The masses have been left to roam around their own profiles not knowing what form status updates are to take. We are now a lost updating generation, akin to millions of Wal-Mart shoppers trying to find low prices without the benefit a greeter.
In the interest of posterity and to preserve the concept of the Facebook status for future generations, I have decided to compile a list of the 10 most common status updates by category. I will present them here, on A Harty Meal, and also bury them in a time capsule under my Aunt Nancy's porch so that the relevance and art of the Facebook status will never be forgotten. There are some status updates that escape any of the following categorizations, I am aware, but such bold and reckless Facebooking does not warrant blog space and should not be encouraged under any circumstances, lest the terrorists win.
Two administrative details before we proceed:
1. I, myself, have been guilty of almost all of these. I am well aware of this and it means that I can refer to them as a friendly and self-aware co-conspirator and not a cynical outsider. My pointing out my guilt in all of this also means that Peter Loewen cannot do it for me, as I know that he would.
2. While there is inspiration here from real statuses, none are plucked verbatim. As for the names, so as not to arouse suspicion of whose statuses were particularly helpful in compiling this list, all of the names below are culled from the alphabetical list of Members of the Order of Canada, starting with A.
And now, on with the show:
1. The Weekend Update
Irving is glad it's the weekend.
Alan wishes the weekend was longer.
Wayne is wiped. What a weekend!
I think that people who use this one lose sight of the facts that we all just had two days off, we all looked forward to them, and we all wished they were longer. Depending on who you ask, you can either thank the Jewish faith, Communism or Henry Ford for the concept of the 40 hour work week and, thus, the weekend. Any beefs about the length of said weekend should be taken up with one of the aforementioned, so I don't think that filing a grievance in your status will get you very far. The Weekend Update is only acceptable if you can also post an update stating "played an irreverent golf whiz in Caddyshack" or "is tired of being asked about my Sarah Palin impression."
2. The Workout Update
Frances ran 10K and sure is feeling it!
Freda just did squats and pulldowns. Lats tomorrow if my back feels better.
Hey, we all want to keep healthy. Beyond that, we're all psyched that you're at a point in your life now where you spend more time at the gym and less time owning the hidden level on Tony Hawk Pro Skater for the original Play Station. It's just that, you aren't a professional baseball game, so there probably aren't any folks keeping score at home.
3. The Baby Update
Robert just watched (baby's name) do (walk/skate/poop/other milestone) for the first time. So cute!
Irvin is taking (baby's name) out for a (walk/run/poop).
Ubiquitous among new parents, these status updates are often accompanied by the classic and precious "newborn as profile picture" maneuver or an elaborate "mobile uploads" photo album meticulously documenting the ride home from the hospital. Babies seem to have a way of hijacking Facebook profiles, though I have to admit to being a sucker for seeing a little head shielded by a tiny toque when I log in.
4. The Promotional Update
Madeline-Ann is selling tickets to Signal Hill at the Pub Friday night! Ladies free before 10!
Anne-Marie hopes that you all come see her final opera performance of the month on Thursday night.
Hey, you do what you gotta do to get the word out. Your weekly "Ladies Night" status updates are starting to lose their effectiveness at this point, though, and given that I live on the other side of the country, I probably won't be there.
5. The Higher Education Update
Michael is so tired after studying Constitutional Law all night. Who knew it was so complicated.
Anahareo's thesis just is NOT writing itself.
These ones are all well and good, but they lose points in the subtlety department. "Michael is in law school," or "Anahareo is working on a PhD" would have been just as easy and conveyed the point you were trying to make. (Crap, that reminds me, I have some law school work to do tonight.)
6. The Cry for Help Update
A.C. wishes it wasn't so hard.
Doris really doesn't know what to do, and misses him so.
Ever heard of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Sweet, so you are familiar with the concept of phoning a friend, then? We all have hard times, but in the interest of efficiency, let's cut out the middle man, save four of your friends the trouble of having to write "What's wrong dude/hon?" under your status and just ask someone to talk over a cup of coffee.
7. The Wedding Update
Gerald can't believe the wedding is only three weeks away. So much left to do!
Ralph is getting fitted for a gown today. Eeeeeeeee so exciting.
See, I think these ones are a little rough, given that everyone who has been invited already knows about your impending nuptials. You'd be just as well writing "If you're reading this and don't have an invitation yet, we're not as close as you think." Ouch.
8. The Countdown Update
John is eight more days!
Syl can't believe he'll be there in 12 days.
This has always been a popular one, and was one of the most common grammatical violators back when Facebook still forced you to put "is" in your status. People seldom tell you what, specifically, they are counting down to, however empirical evidence suggests that 97% of the time it is either: A) a visit to/from a boy/girlfriend or B) an all-inclusive tropical vacation.
9. The Are You Really Updating Your Status at a Time Like This(?) Update
Violet is watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon.
Raffi is standing at a urinal next to Barack Obama.
Bona is driving a stick shift for the first time!
Here we have people updating their status when they should probably be focusing on the task at hand. Granted, we all have moments that are so significant we just can't wait to share them with our friends, however there is something be said for living in the moment. Using the past tense on updates like these would not have compromised their awesomeness in any way, shape or form and would have meant that you didn't miss the pass of Hailey's Comet because your "U" key was sticky.
10. The Tired Update
Example (there is only one here):
Mira is tired.
Perhaps the most common update ever seen on Facebook. Thanks, Mira. Noted.
So that's the list. Feel free to add others in the "Comments" section below. Good luck with the new Facebook, have a pleasant week, and may your status always start with "is".