How to overcome facebook status anxiety

Facebook is like watching a car accident in slow motion in a bad dream. One cannot look away. One even feels like one should perhaps say something about it.

I am personally unable to come up with status updates. So I have tried to use statistics to help me with that important social task.

To do this, I summarized facebook status updates and photo uploads of my facebook friends in several handy categories, according to what I believe to be the main message that the poster wants to get across. For example

“Just had an awesome dinner at Ted & Stef’s! Nobody makes 5-cheese pizza like the two of you” translates into “I have friends.”

“Just had a disgusting sandwich at Atlanta airport” translates into “I am on a trip!”

Picture of child translates into “I have a child.”

Complaining about a problem with a programming language translates into “I have a job.”

“Exactly.” or “Wow. Just wow.” without any further information goes into the category of “Absolutely cryptic statement”

So here is the rundown:

“I am on a trip!” 32 %

“I have a job.”  11 %

“I have a child/partner/family” 8 %

“I have a comment about politics/society/the internet” 7 %

Absolutely cryptic statement 6 %

“I have attended an event” 5 %

“A mishap has occurred, but I take it lightly” 5 %

“I am beautiful” 4 %

“I/my partner cooked something” 4 %

Asking for help/advice/a buyer 4 %

“Somebody annoys me ” 3 %

” I have bought something/want to buy something” 3 %

“My pet just died” 0.5 %

“I don’t understand the buttons on my dishwasher” 0.5 %

“There is still leftover ice-cream” 0.5 %

From this I conclude that it is highly respected to talk about trips. I have observed that a trip usually calls for multiple status updates:

“I will go to Spain in 2 weeks!”

“Leaving for Spain tonight”

“Wow, Flamenco is beautiful”

“The tour of the Alhambra was fascinating! But a wasp stung me into the nose, and I lost my guide book”

“Spain: 200 pictures”

“Wow, so good to be back, and so many happy memories! Swelling on nose nearly gone!”

I also conclude that the ideal status update would be one combining the top 7 categories listed above, to maximize relevance:

“Hurt my ankle while attending a Madonna-concert in the Alhambra with my daughter, but cannot stop thinking about the problem with the accounting software. Realizing that our society is broken. Tango-Boxing anyone?”

I really need to cancel my facebook account.

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9 Responses to How to overcome facebook status anxiety

  1. Anonymous says:

    I loved your conclusion. That last status update is hilarious.

  2. LOL! I just use FB like an online phonebook… if somebody I’ve lost touch with wants to find me, there I am. And if I like(d) them, I’ll reply 😉 Works both ways of course!
    As for status updates – if anyone wants to know what I’m grappling with right now, just bloody email!

  3. Pingback: Using Social Media in Bursts. Is. Just. Normal. | Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything

  4. Vania Cao says:

    Hilarious and so true.

  5. Priyanka says:

    I’m very tempted to invite you to peek at my Facebook and tell me how you chart my social media life. As an introvert – the sort who feels physically tired after even an enjoyable social meeting and generally avoids meeting even with friends – I must say, I do a very good social butterfly act on my Facebook, but nothing could top a custom-made status that your algorithm might provide me with 🙂

    • zinemin says:

      From reading your blog, I know that your facebook conversations are taking place on an entirely different intellectual level than most of what happens on my facebook. 🙂 Funny, in contrast to you I am much more shy on facebook than in real life. I am even shy about “liking” a status because I feel like I might be overstepping a boundary if I don’t have much contact with the person otherwise. And I still can never think of anything that I would want my 100 facebook friends to read, so I never post anything.

  6. Phillip says:

    Just stumbled across this post – absolutely love it! And, my status update frequency on Facebook is about 1 per year (not kidding), so unfortunately my data set would be quite small, not even n=20 🙂

  7. rs says:

    Enjoyed this post. One more thing that facebook is damn addictive. Actually it is fun to make people jealous with your awesome family, kids, trips, intellectual taste etc etc 🙂

  8. ANNE TOWNSEND says:


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