Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I want to help the faceless on Facebook

     This week I examine the phenomenon of joining a social media site that has face in it's name, but then never posting a picture of your own visage. 

     I think Alanis Morisette would find it ironic that I have over 50 Facebook friends (wait for it, that's not the ironic part), that currently have pictures of inanimate objects, their pets, their kids,
cartoons, or other people posted as their profile picture instead of themselves.  I've probably been guilty of doing this occasionally myself, with things like a Sapphire bottle or a panoramic background, but I also have friends who never post pictures with themselves in them, and no one can say that I'm guilty of that.  I'm not sure of the motivation behind never posting a face picture, I can imagine that there are the small few who are afraid of Facebook's facial recognition software, but I would guess that the vast majority of these people are just unhappy with some feature or combination of features and therefore don't share their faces with the world, and that I find unfortunate, because it assumes a shallowness in others, that I don't think exists.  I'll take this in a different direction now, to lighten the mood a little, but be warned, I'll close with some deeper thoughts.  I'd like to batch people together now and remark and why I don't like what they post....

     The pet people come first.  You can't make this stuff up, but I swear, this morning as I was
counting the profile pictures of my faceless friends, I had one that had a cat posted as the profile picture come up right next to one that had yarn posted as the profile picture, and it took every bit of my self control, of which I have little, to not suggest them to each other as friends.  I like cats and dogs, and fish, but I dislike seeing them as Facebook profile pictures in part because the picture rarely matches the sentiments of the accompanying status updates, and I dislike incongruity.  "Had a rough day at work, why do people have to act that way?" comes up next to a picture of a fish floating in a tank.  Is that the fish's sentiments or yours?  Am I defending humanity to the likes of fish or I am consoling a friend when they've had a bad day?  I get so confused.   We all have FB friends who speak from their profile pictures point of view, but how do you know when they are doing it and when they aren't? There is also the privacy concern thing to consider, would your dog appreciate Facebook's facial recognition software having several shots of him for any mailman to look at, or any street camera to capture and compare?  I don't think that they would, I've seen where they put their noses, and it's not pretty.  

     Sports fans, I do understand more, but they don't exactly show that they are multifaceted do they?  These folks  must know that it invites anyone who isn't a Yankees fan or Bruins or that thinks their
I wouldn't dare....
football team all belongs in jail to disagree with every other thing that they post, right?  I'm sure that one of these people has posted an update on their own children's sports accomplishments like, "Becca scored a goal in the big game!" next to a sport's team's logo, only to have someone argue the point with things like "yeah, but her defense was weak and her percentages for the year are still low...."   I like that people support their favorite teams, but I'll still take the picture of them wearing the team jersey over a corporate logo any day.

     Wilson Syndrome or the puzzle people come next.  In the TV series "Home Improvement" there was a running gag with the neighbor Wilson whose face was never shown in it's entirety, mostly
obscured by the tall privacy fence, and I have FB friends that do this.  I get profile pics of just a small part of them, an eye, an ear, cleavage, and I'm not sure what to do with those.  I will admit I read the status updates more closely when accompanied by the cleavage shot because  they seem more intelligent to me, but I'm always wondering if I should be printing each part and saving them up to make a picture of the whole person? Should I be messaging the other friends and trading, like " I have the right ear, do you have the big toe? "    My office would be full of partial portraits of people, mostly women, if I did this, and frankly would look like a stalker's shrine and create suspicion with the authorities, so I resist this urge too, but it leaves me unsatisfied.   To carry the Wilson analogy to it's logical conclusion, I'll compare the actor who played Wilson, Earl Hindman's career, to the actor who played Lisa on Home Improvement, Pamela Anderson's career and I think very quickly you see that posting a part of you doesn't compare with
Of course I found a reason to post this
 posting all of you.  I've seen Pam on Baywatch, Dancing with the Stars, in Playboy, with Tommy Lee, and in VIP and Barb Wire, but I've never seen Earl again. 

     I'll batch the rest of the posts in a game I like to call FB Bingo.  You'll get some of these profile pics on a random card and you have to fill it from your friend list.  I would include the following......

     Cat, Dog, Fish, Sports logo, sports stick (bat, hockey or lacrosse stick, etc), beer bottle, beach, bridge picture, Mickey Mouse, smart phone, overly attached girlfriend meme, sunset, dice, birds at a feeder, political slogan, sexy shoe, TV shot, album cover (not allowed by me unless you are on the album cover), bar sign, duckface, cigar, kid's artwork, black and white photo, tree, statue, Betty Boop, Spongebob, skull, flower, sci-fi character, sports car, angel, pot leaf, truck, and a picture of a guy with a girl on each arm. 

    I'll close this week with these thoughts.  I've been as heavy as 50lbs more than my high school
weight at times in my life, my forehead is growing and my hairline receding, I've never had good fashion sense, and yet I've shared each of these stages with my FB friends, to not do so would seem disingenuous to me.  I viewed a series of pictures of a friend's vacation with her children recently and as I noticed that she was absent in all she posted, I could only hope she had taken some with her in them, and chose not to post them.  How sad would it be if your children only had photos of themselves, without you in them, when you pass away?  How comforting would that be for them?  In my family, my wife takes the vacation pictures, so she's not in as many of them, and I need to start correcting that and documenting her participation in our family and our lives.  I politely request that you do too, we are less judgmental than you think, even your cat would agree.

The only acceptable album cover, is with you on it.

1 comment:

cdyarger said...

Until I got to the point where you agreed to start taking more vacation pictures with me in it, I had my comment all ready - it would have been all about how no one takes Mom's picture when she is on vacation. Thanks for the comment - I LIKE having my picture taken, so snap away!!! Oh, and very funny blog!