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Extra Virgin -  March 2010
EnvironmentThere is no online community quite like Facebook, the social networking site that has brought us hours upon hours of deeply satisfying voyeurism. What it has also done is invited into our lives an almost endless stream of inanities, the worst of which are almost always reserved for the dreaded "status updates". Here are a few of the culprits.

The random fact

The writing of "Julian is enjoying a milkshake" does not help anyone out. Of course, it's not an unpleasant thing to read (he's enjoying a milkshake, good for him) but it is a complete waste of time. If Julian was really enjoying the milkshake, he would probably be too absorbed to log on to his Facebook account and tell us about it.

The hint

Status updates that hint at something but give no further details are cruel. For example: "John is frustrated" hints at something but stops there, leading only to those who read it becoming frustrated themselves, which in turn makes them post suggestive status updates like "Mary is confused about John's frustration". This can continue ad nauseam.


The Running commentary

"On my way to the gig". "At the gig". "Bored at gig". "Home from the gig and eating cereal". This is not interesting. Nor is it useful, because the update is in the present tense, giving no one the opportunity to, say, join you at the gig or come over to your house for cereal, whomever that unfortunate friend may be.


People who tell everyone via their status that they are "home" are missing the point. Home is where you are when you're not somewhere else. You've done nothing to be at home. It's the same as saying "I'm not anywhere else" and that just sounds absurd. The only reason someone would tell us they were home is to imply that they have recently been on a trip somewhere else and this is just showing off.

The exclamation that isn't

These days, exclamation marks are used at the end of almost everything, even the most deadpan sentences! In status updates this happens all to often. "Kgomotso went to Rosebank to buy toothpaste but they didn't have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" That sort of observation should not be shouted - in fact, it's probably fair to say that it shouldn't be voiced at all. Ever!