Studies show that people use their Facebook profiles to present themselves in exceedingly favorable lights. Our profile pictures portray us as the paragon of beauty and spontaneity; our “About Me” sections contain profound ruminations about complex philosophical issues. We embellish our “Favorite Quotes” sections with insightful witticisms by the likes of Gandhi and Einstein, which purportedly mirror our own life philosophies.
Needless to say, it’s best to examine the contents of a person’s profile with a grain of salt. Where, then, should the weary Facebook observer venture for an accurate snapshot of friends’ thoughts and opinions?
Surprise, surprise – look no further than their Facebook groups.
And we can’t forget the Facebook pages of which they are fans, as it appears that fan pages are supplanting groups as the Facebook community’s method of self-expression.
Me? I’m personally a fan of “Yelling at inanimate objects.” I think it’s a refreshingly open forum in which I can find acceptance for my irrational outbursts of anger at my malfunctioning laptop. The same goes for my favorite groups such as, “Awkward moments define my life” and “I judge you when you use poor grammar.” It’s true, you know! I have a knack for finding myself in awkward situations and you’d best refrain from dropping your double negatives on me.
There are also the groups and fan pages that detail quirky and universally relatable moments in life. Examples include: “Getting Paranoid When I Notice Patterns On Multiple Choice Tests,” “I Feel My Phone Vibrate When It Doesn’t,” and “I change my dates on papers so teachers don’t know how much I procrastinate.” It’s nice to know that our individual neuroticisms seem more innocuous and amusing when collectively exposed to the public. In this sense, these Facebook pages serve as badges of our shared quirks,
However, I’ve also observed that not all groups or fan pages are created equal, and that their attributes reflect upon their members in curious ways.
For instance, you have the fan pages that are trying a tad too hard to be profound and emotional, such as “Play the laughter, Pause the memories, Stop the pain, Rewind the happiness.” This group inserts the «play» and «pause» symbols that appear on DVD players. I must have not paid attention in class that day, because I’m not sure what part of the English language the pause symbol occupies.
Then there are the unnecessary and pointless, as evidenced by the quizzical “I Stand In The Shower For An Hour Because I Like Hot Water.” The thing is, the bathroom is a sanctified place – a private area by nature of the activities one performs within its boundaries. Therefore, your showering preferences shouldn’t merit a Facebook fan page, which makes public a previously confidential matter. Guys, we don’t need to know that you like your water the way you like your women: hot.
You also wouldn’t go on a first date and tell your counterpart, “I like candlelit dinners, I enjoy long walks on the beach, and I stand in the shower for an hour because I like hot water.” And then wink in a suggestive manner … that is, unless you were dating someone who is also a fan of this page, in which case you have my permission to also tell her about your cold water fetish.
On another level, there are groups and fan pages that apparently blew their members away. Like “I was blown away when I realized the word ‘OK’ is a sideways person,” and “I was even more blown away when I realized QK looked like a sideways ninja.” We can’t forget their numerous creative iterations, such as “When I Realized That 3.14 Looks Like “PIE” Backwards, My Mind Was Blown” and “My Mind Was Blown When I Discovered SWIMS Upsidedown is SWIMS.”
Well, I don’t about you, but I didn’t realize that these alphanumeric arrangements resembled these shapes and symbols until I came across their pages. But to those persevering souls who toiled in obscurity to reveal these truths: the world thanks you. Really.
So, sure, we don’t give much thought to the groups and fan pages we join. But in reality, our memberships in such constitute an extraordinarily accurate portrayal of our true selves. We tend to express our innermost thoughts more via these pages than the edited info sections that comprise our profiles. And you might want to reassess your perception of your sharp-dressing friend’s flattering profile pictures if she’s part of the page “I Heart Uggs.”