Exes, Enemies, and the Facebook Status Jab
I have something to get off of my chest. Actually, I have a lot to get off my chest. They involve my first boyfriend, puppy love, our reconciliation, which recently dissipated, and me now thinking of him as a grown puppy.
I’m actually proud of the fact that I haven’t taken to Facebook or even Twitter to vent and send subliminal shots at him in cyberspace, though, because isn’t that what a lot of people do? Couch what they’re saying in an ambiguous way (others are way more obvious) to send shots at exes or enemies?
Why? Why do people put all their business out there on a social network that will forever hoard their statuses to throw in their face, months later, when they’ve gotten over whatever it was that had them upset? (Yuh know the throwback statuses Zuckerberg likes to show?). Sending subliminal messages on FB, best dubbed as the Facebook status jab, thanks to urbandictionary.com, seems to be the only way people can get stuff ‘off their chest’, without directly confronting someone they’re really upset with.
The Facebook status jab is easy to identify. To quote urbandictionary.com, it occurs “when two (or more) parties post up ambiguously malicious Facebook status(es) in an attempt to hurt/anger/piss off the other party/parties involved”. Usually, the status is ambiguous and indirect, and no names are called, but, if the person, who the jab is directed at, is on Facebook, or their friends are familiar with the underlying bacchanal, it can be very effective at fuelling the fire, causing even more drama, and creating entertainment in our news feeds.
Most of us are guilty of doing it once or twice, but some people do it frequently. Almost every day, you see one of your 50 or 679 Facebook friends sending subliminal shots at an ex or ‘haters’.
“Facebook… is the new couch in a shrink’s office.”
Yes. Facebook, believe it or not, is the new couch in a shrink’s office.
Diaries are passé.
If you’re having a bad day, or you’re having issues with someone, everyone gets to see that.
And Facebook isn’t the only social network to spread our displeasure with those who cross our paths. Twitter is also rife with it, and if you’re as lucky as I am, you have one or two friends who must change their BlackBerry Messenger status, at least five times a day, to complain about the opposite sex, boast of their self-perceived beauty and value in an attempt to soothe their egos and breaking heart, or talk about karma.
I understand why people are tempted to expose their thoughts in their status updates. Status updates help us to process things on some sort of subconscious level, as does any sort of writing. But really, what ever happened to processing your feelings in a more private environment?
Back in the day, when we were going through emotional turmoil, we’d treat it by writing in our diaries, watching Claire Danes in “My So-Called Life”, talking it out with our closest of friends, scribbling rumours about an ex or enemy in the toilet stall in school (I never did that nonsense by the way), ‘bad-talking’ them with anyone who’d listen, or just keeping our mouths shut, and letting our emotions eat us up on the inside. Better yet, we might actually talk to the person we’re upset with directly, or write a letter.
However, social media networks have totally changed how we process our emotions, or protect our business. We’re all human, so at some point we might feel the need to vent. But after you’ve vented yourself dry on Facebook, what then? What does going on Facebook, cussing, as some are prone to do, or quoting lyrics from Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had” do for you, or to address the situation?
It doesn’t really soothe any of the frustration, pain, or anger you feel. Most likely, all it does is make people think you’re bitter, that you don’t know how to keep your business private, or that you don’t have actual, real-life friends to vent with.
Some of you may say that’s a harsh way to look at it, but admit it. At some point in time, when you’ve read a Facebook status that’s rife with subliminal messages, you’re tsked, said in your mind, “she/he needs to keep that to herself/himself”, or you’ve laughed your head off at the message, because some of the updates really can be entertaining.
Anyhow you look at it, the Facebook jab is here to stay.
Writing how you feel, and venting every now and then, has its role, but there are some instances where you should really deal with your emotions otherwise. So, instead of sending subliminal shots, sometimes, let’s do this:
1. Pick up a phone
… and tell that person they’re an a$$.
2. Write in our diary
Yeah I know that seems so teenybopper. But what’s more teenybopper than this? Oh yeah, taking shots at someone online and letting everyone else see you have some real issues to deal with.
3. Type a status to get it out of your status (for you real junkies)
… then delete it one time.
4. Post a question about the type of behaviour that ticked you off
… and claim you’re doing research (writers may be familiar with this one).
Some people will say that people are just too vain or caught up in Facebook to stop themselves from ‘putting their business’ out there. However, what’s really happened is that because we see other people doing it, we think it’s okay to do it too. I really don’t think it’s because people are all that self absorbed. It’s just that saying what’s on your mind, and the ready access of typing a tweet or Facebook update, aids and abets our impulsive nature to confront those who vex us, without directly address them.
So all Facebook is really doing, again, is affecting how we relate to people.
See… behind every coded status update is a hurt person, or someone without the self-restraint to not clue the whole world in to their current, emotional state. Pair an emotional person with an easily accessible soapbox, and anything can happen in the heat of their frustration.
Still, venting never hurt anyone, but, sometimes, dealing with your emotions offline is the best approach, because as the old people used to say, “Yuh shouldn’t air yuh dirty laundry for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to see”.
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (18/07/11; Issue 66):
- Co-parenting with your Ex: Getting it Together
- Men and Abortion: Do they have a say?
- Gay Sub-Culture in T&T: The Social Network
- So you’re from the land of oil and music. Or are you?
Look out for a new issue of Outlish.com every Monday!