The 10 Plagues Of Facebook Status Updates

First off, let me put a disclaimer that this column has very little to do with search marketing. If you make it to number 10, you'll find a small payoff but you're best off classifying this under "diversion from search marketing" and continue reading at your own peril.

With the recent Jewish holiday of Passover (as told via social media in this genius video) in mind, I'd like to share the 10 plagues of Facebook status updates. If someone you know has been afflicted, please post this column to their wall and (in the spirit of #3 below) let them figure out which one they, or rather, YOU are suffering from.

1. Complaining. We've all got a Debbie Downer in our feeds -- the person whose every status update conveys the unbelievably tragic series of events that have befallen him or her. And they seem to get increasingly worse and worse. "Flight delayed." "Seated next to screaming baby." "Ran out of peanuts." "Turbulence." "Gate not ready." "Lost my rental car reservation." "Tiny hotel room." "No internet connection and phone about to die" -- Thank god!



2. Bragging. The only thing worse than a complainer is a bragger. Too bad there's not (that I know of) a Facebook version of Tweeting Too Hard. People that post "I'm on a boat" thinking they're being witty riffing on the SNL short (oy vey, that's back-to-back SNL references... there's got to be a plague for that!) really just need to get over themselves. Or, better yet, get overboard!

3. Passive-Aggressiveness. Don't you just hate when people use their status updates in a thinly veiled attempt to say something to someone specific that they don't have the guts to say directly? And don't you just hate when you're not sure if you're the person they're calling out? 

4. Cryptic. Almost as bad as the passive-aggressive post is the cryptic one. The one practically begging you to comment, "What happened?" 

5. Partying. How many people must be fired before we realize that we might not want those pics of us chugging beer on them thar interwebs?

6. Working. I can handle a little self-promotion for one's company every now and then. I even appreciate the occasional link to an article or video related to one's business or industry. But I can't stand the people who are all work and no play on Facebook. If I wanted to know everything about your company, I'd become a fan of your company. I'd rather hear about your kid's every move (see #10) than your company's. Unless you work at Facebook or Google. In which case, tell me everything!

7. Insomnia. As I write this at 1:45 a.m. after one 5 Hour Energy too many (prompting an insomniac upodate of my own), I'm reminded how many people out there toil away on Facebook in lieu of sleep. And then admonish themselves via status updates. "Why am I awake?!?!" Why are you on Facebook?!?!

8. Checking In. OK, I don't hate check-ins, especially from a marketer's perspective. But I can't stand people who use multiple check-in apps so that each stop on their bar crawl triggers five status updates. And all you working folk might want to remember that these things have timestamps.

9. Doing Nothing. If you haven'tposted in over a month, you're either not interesting or you're not interested in Facebook. Either way, I'm no longer interested in you.

10. Parenting. If the 10th plague in Egypt was death of the firstborn then the 10th plague of Facebook status updates is birth of the firstborn...and the endless stream of pics that follow. Baby's first this. Baby's first that. I get it. I have three of my own. That's a lot of firsts. At least set up a profile and let the kids post "themselves." At least it's (kinda) funny that way. And it can also help you build up critical social signals for your kids in the hopes that they can one day claim their rightful spot atop the search results pages for vanity queries. After all, by the time they're grown, likes will be a higher ranking factor than links.

Honorable Mentions:

11. Misspelling. Gotta love these responses!

12.O.A. Over-Acronyming.

13. Linking. Save it for Twitter.

14. Self-motivating. Run from RunKeeper.

15. Politicking. No, I won't sign your petition.

16. Quoting. Say something original!

17. Projecting. "Hey, smelly guy at the bus stop..."

18. Syncing. Do I really need to be informed by 10 different social networks that you're on a flight from LGA to SFO?

19. Ville-ans. Where do people find the time for all these Villes?

20. All of the Above. Ahh, Failbook.

10 comments about "The 10 Plagues Of Facebook Status Updates ".
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  1. David Kohlberg from Varick, May 4, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.

    Great article! Now I am scared to post anything because it will fit within your 10-20 plagues of Facebook. I would love for you to post the 10 ten reasons to post on Facebook, so I can see what is deemed acceptable.

  2. L john Yarusi from Olive LLC, May 4, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.

    AWESOME and Sadlarious post... It's funny cause its sad and true all at the same time... Where is Emily Post? Perchance on twitter...


  3. Noah Wieder from SearchBug, Inc., May 4, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.

    Hey Aaron, great article. Love the links you referenced, thanks for making me laugh this morning.

  4. Luchy Edwards from Technology Leaders, May 4, 2011 at 2:35 p.m.

    so true, so true..but you left and important one out: quoting other people on your status without giving due credit.

  5. Nancy Bistritz from Nurun, May 4, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.

    I like this article (not a huge fan of the Facebook), but I have to wonder: After everything listed here about what one should not post, what's left TO post? (Incidentally, I do have another suggestion for an honorable mention: What about food posts? The people who take a picture of the latest plate of diet food they're eating or the fiest they prepared while watching back-to-back episodes of 30-Minute Meals. Not so interested in pictures of other people's food.)

  6. Aaron Goldman from Mediaocean, May 4, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.

    Thx all. Suppose I should clarify that I'm not outright opposed to posts that fall into one of these categories. The plague is when a person ALWAYS posts the same type of status update.

    As for what IS acceptable to continually post... personally, I take status updates literally and share what's happening in my life or what I'm thinking about. But I never leave it at that. I always try to incorporate an element of irony, sarcasm, wit, or at the very least, a lowbrow pun to keep things interesting.

  7. Kris Bailey from eChic Media, May 4, 2011 at 5:36 p.m.

    Great Hump Day Reading! I reposted this article on my own FB page. I have identified my own FB quirks in this list. Yes, I admit to at least three!

  8. James Curran from Pheedback, May 9, 2011 at 9:09 a.m.

    Supporting David's comment, that's every post on facebook. I'm not sure what to tell you other than, don't look at your feed?

  9. John Maillard from IMNG, May 9, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.

    Great article. The bragging one is my biggest peeve on FB. Dude, you don't have any kids and you're a documentary filmmaker that's had everything handed to you by Dr. Daddy the Pediatrician. Get over yourself; I don't care you're in another security line at O'Hare. And the people who have kids but brag about their great lives because they have the luxury to leave them with nannies all day and get to go on vacations and dates with their spouses all weekend? De-friend immediately!

    But a very close second are grammatically destroyed updates. I know I'm a dork editor police, but come on people! Why are you capitalizing "tomorrow" like it's a day of the week? Still having problems with your vs. you're and your -- er, you're -- 43? Jeez.

  10. Jerry Foster from Energraphics, May 10, 2011 at 2:23 a.m.

    Let me underscore that the worst plague of Facebook updates is caused by Facebook itself: if you are single and you are flirting with one member of the opposite sex whom you've friended, the flirt will show up in the news feed of every other member of the opposite sex whom you've friended. They can all become friends with each other and will, at least, know all about what you've been flirting about and how that might be exactly the same text with links and pictures that you used on them. At the very least you have to be totally original in everything you say to everyone on their own walls (where you think you should be able to post a comment without that comment going into the news feeds of all your other friends).

    There is NO way to stop this. No setting. Nowhere to turn. Someone at FB has determined that there will be no privacy regarding anything you do or say on FB.

    It is obviously that no male determined that it would be like this, but rather a woman who felt, ideologically, that any given male's life should be an open book to all whom he socializes with. It could have been a male who determined this, but it would have to be a socially inept one or someone who is way too politically correct about men's lives needing to be open books to everyone.

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