In one hundred years, I expect Facebook will be viewed as one of the great social experiments of all time. It is used to inform, teach, motivate, inspire, evoke, incite, share… the list continues. It operates on a simple premise – you type a remark, post a photograph, or add a link to an article you’ve read or video you’ve seen. When your Facebook friends see this, they have five options: 1. ignore; 2. read or view, and move on; 3. click a “like” button”; 4. add a comment, and/or 5. share it with their friends.
It’s the personality profiles that are revealed when someone originates a post OR how someone responds that will provide a link to mankind’s thought processes in the early 21st century. That’s the experiment. Let me explain with a real life case study.
Recently, I “shared” an article about adding only one space after a typed sentence instead of two, which so many of us learned back in the day (who can even remember what day that was?). You see, I have just very recently learned this myself, so I was happy to pass this tidbit of information on. http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/two-spaces-after-period/
If you wallow in Facebook mud as I am known to do, you know there are a ton of quizzes to help you determine your true career, what children’s author you’re most similar to, and who should play you in a movie (as if!). Well, the responses I received after posting this fairly innocuous piece of information could be one of those quizzes. It would read “Take this quiz now and learn how one simple response reflects your personality”.
I have never received responses that demonstrated writer personalities quite like this post, and I am left to wonder, what passion for sentence spacing has been stirring in the recesses of the souls of so many people for so long?
So with this newfound test data, let me share my Official Assessment of Facebook Personalities,with actual responses quoted, followed by my analysis. Remember, the information shared was that one space should be added after a sentence in a typed document rather than two.
Defiant: “Still do it even after I learned of the change sometime last year.” (Not even willing to consider change.)
Militant: “Who cares! I choose to flamboyantly flaunt my two spaces! And I invite you to join me in this daring rebellion Pam Sievers.” (Similar to Defiant, but issued a challenge, no doubt pounding the table at Starbucks, making sure she never spilled a drop of her latte.)
Philosopher: “I am proudly a 2 space user. Age can bring wisdom, you know.” (Has mastered the art of BS and can sling it whenever required. Must be an attorney.)
Survivor: “I am open to the challenge.” (Approaches life with a can-do attitude.)
Competitor: “This changed with the ADVENT of WORD SOFTWARE PROCESSING. Think about it – how long ago was that – time for the one spacers to take down the double space oldies.” (Had to use caps as if we didn’t get the message. Could also be called the annihilator, because being right isn’t enough.)
Challenger: “What does the writer’s Bible, The Chicago Manual of Style, say on the matter?’ (Didn’t believe the article or the PR professional who cited AP guidelines; she still needed further proof.)
Humbler: All I need to do is click “like”. No one else needs to hear me say “I knew that.”
Dependent Justifier: “My i Phone auto places a period if I space twice.” (Which isn’t even quite the same. These people seem to look at the same folks who have them hooked on Candy Crush for direction in life. Note: Apple Inc does not include a pledge to maintain expertise in sentence spacing in their mission statement.)
Lifelong Student: “Learn something new every day,” as she quickly shared with her friends. (Not only is she happy to learn, but she wants to teach others along the way.)
Observer: They declared no response; maybe they didn’t read it, maybe they knew, maybe they didn’t, but we will never know. They probably run the world.
Impostor: The person who likes comments supporting both single and double spaced backers. Probably not to be trusted.
We learn so much about human behavior from Facebook. I’ve even determined there is a Facebook Trifecta, and if I want to ensure more likes, all I have to do is simply include any one of these three links to my post – a puppy playing in a lawn sprinkler, a kitten falling into and then trying to climb out of a box, or a favorite cheesy chicken casserole recipe. That’s it – pure gold to ensure a like, and my self-esteem will get a boost.
So tell me, what other personalities do you find lurking behind the Facebook curtain? I promise, I won’t make any assumptions about you based on your response. That data has been collected.
Kathy Bruno says
Your blog is just delightful, Pam. You will notice that I'm a two-spacer, mostly out of habit, since that's the way my fingers automatically work.
I've been running my own little FB experiment. I'm trying not to "like" very many posts, and seeing if it affects my news feed (although I'm not sure how I'll tell). Hmmmmm . . .
Keep writing, Pam. You truly have a talent.
Pam Sievers says
Thanks for your comment. I can't break the 2 space practice either but believe it or not, I am still a two fingered typist – never graduated to more fingers and never had a class. I love your experiment – let me know how it goes. And thanks for your support.
Melissa Congleton says
This blog is great and it really struck a cord with me so thank you, Pam. I personally use facebook as a big sociology experiment. I have said if I ever get a PhD, which I never will, my dissertation will be on the use of facebook. I know I would have to narrow it down from there, but hey, I'm only the holder of a master's degree. And there it starts, my first blog response. I am not quite sure where to start. I really think people perhaps project a different personality on facebook than in real life. Or, on a deeper note maybe facebook is limiting and less encompasing of a person as a whole. After all, you can put out there whatever you like in words, or shall we say clicks, which means you are missing the other 93% of communication other than words (and clicks). Keeping that in mind, I propose the following facebook personalities which are not all encompassing.
The LURKER: This is a person who trolls facebook often, but rarely comments or likes something. Only occasionally will he or she come out of their place in the wilderness.
WOE IS ME: This person has something go wrong in their life every day. And we hear about it, every single day. I'm starting to tear up just thinking about it.
MY CHILD JUST POOPED ON THE TOILET FOR THE FIRST TIME: These are the proud parents of children and pets that want to tell every single milestone their understudy has reached. They will stop at no detail to describe their story.
MY LIFE IS PERFECT: These people only post things about their life that are perfect. In fact, I would like to change places with one of these people right now. Is anyone willing? You know who you are. Inbox me.
EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME: These people are constantly vying for attention, likes, comments, etc. on their page. Oh, but wait, that's what facebook is about, isn't it?
And you will notice I left two spaces after each colon and because of that I think the APA goddess is extremely angry with me right now. I will have to cut this short so I can reconcile with her.
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Pam Sievers says
Thanks for your comments Melissa. There are lots of FB personalalities out there.