Facebook. It’s an undeniable force in our lives. It’s not just a social networking tool anymore; it’s an entire online universe, a hub where you present your identity to the world at large. It can help you land a job. It can improve family communication. And for a lot of people, it’s the only way you communicate with some of your friends. It’s like putting your relationships on steroids.

Without the shrinkage.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, deceptive practices also get a boost from it. A big one. And while friends tend to keep the lies from becoming too extravagant, some fabrications regularly slip by.

These are their stories.

1. “Random” Picture posting

Avatar. Profile Pic. User Image. They have different names but they all do the same thing — they represent you. Visually. And just like real life, people put a lot of care into how they look to everyone else. The haircuts, the wardrobe, the jewelry: all composes a careful construct aimed at drawing admiration from the public.

"It's all.... part of the plan."

The beautiful difference is, when you choose the photo that’s going to embody you to the rest of the online world, the wind won’t mess up your hair, you aren’t going to accidentally spill coffee on your jpeg, and people won’t judge you for constantly wearing those earrings that makes the green in your eyes really pop. Unfortunately, this power and control over your appearance, like every other power and control in the world, has been thoroughly abused.

Most people know it by its street name, the ‘Myspace angle’, in which the subject takes a self-portrait from an extreme angle to make certain things look smaller, other things look bigger, and hide others altogether. It became such a common practice that  everyone quickly became privy to its underhandedness; subsequently, blatant users were subjected to ridicule instead of the admiration they sought. And along with Myspace itself, the angle died.

Or so you thought.

Like a sex offender recently out of the clink, the angle didn’t disappear, it just started creeping below the radar. On occasion, someone you know might post what they call a “random” picture of themselves. Odds are, the person in question has a definite pose and there’s the slightest angle to it. You probably guessed it… it’s not random. Just like the sex offender’s “accidental” boob graze in the supermarket, there are definite intentions behind it. Luckily, the deceptive pictures can’t assault you.

Or can they?

2. Maybe I’ll Attend Your Event

You know what one of the great things about Facebook is? It makes getting word of your party out incredibly simple. All you do is create an event and send out invitations to all your friends and boom, they know everything they need to instantly. Time, place, availability of alcoholic beverages, if you want it known, it is.

The problem is, it also makes “I forgot” a completely invalid excuse in place of the reality you don’t want to share: “You’re kind of a creep and I don’t want to come to your party.” Fortunately, you can still make up something else like having class or visiting your cousins that weekend, post it on the event wall as you check the ‘Not Attending’ box, and you’re home free. No harm, no foul.

Buuuut being the geniuses they are, the Facebook people went the fourth grade trifling harlot route and added a ‘Maybe’ option to your note. Why? Because it means you don’t even have to make up an excuse. The ‘Maybe’ expresses your good intentions to be present at the event, but frees you from the responsibility of actually following through. People say they’ll ‘Maybe’ attend your event more often than simply not responding because of it’s emancipating properties.

The fact remains, it’s a big fat lie. Nine out of ten people who will ‘Maybe’ attend your party just don’t want to hurt your feelings by telling you they don’t want to come. Which would be considerate of them if it weren’t the equivalent of the “It’s not you, it’s me” break-up talk — there’s something/one else better than you out there.

3. David is so glad to be single.

Here’s the thing about Facebook statuses: if they aren’t explicitly talking about what you’re doing, then they’re probably talking about relationships. For example, one of my friends says, “Either you control your attitude or it controls you. Today is going to be a great day!” (actual status, btw) Odds are, she isn’t referring to recurring grocery store conflict. She’s talking about her recent break-up. Of course, there’s not actually any deception going on here. She’s starting out the day bound and determined to make it a positive one despite heartbreak.

On the other hand, when a completely different friend says, “i could care less…” (again, actual status) she’s also talking about fresh romantic misfortune. Only she’s lying. Could she really care less about what happened? No. Obviously whatever transpired affected her deeply enough to make a public declaration of apathy. If an old racist man insults me and I’m honestly not bothered by it, do I climb to the highest point of the city and shout from the rooftops, “THIS SAGGY BAG OF BONES DOES NOT INFLUENCE MY BEHAVIOR”? No. I just go on with my day like it never happened.

 

Or steal his car.

You know what Facebook statuses and Twitter updates are? They’re mass text messages to everyone you know without being obnoxious enough to actually send a text messages to everyone you know. But in this particular instance, they aren’t that at all. The, “I don’t give a rat’s ass” message is really intended for one person. Only they present it in a public forum so A) said person can’t retaliate without looking like a jerk and B) they can marshal the moral support of people who are aware of their emotional turmoil.

4. “We’ll keep your personal information private…”

“…. until we can sell it for profit.”

Enough said? Yeah, enough said.

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