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I have become a fairly heavy user of social networks. I’m on Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare, and Twitter daily and I still maintain Gowala, Myspace, and DIGG accounts. When you use these services as often as I do, you start to see the really great things about the services as well as the terrible things about them. I post a mix of updates about what I’m up too, articles I’ve written, and opinions I have about current events.  I also post new pictures when I have them and links to things on the web that I found interesting that I think some of my friends might also enjoy. There’s no right or wrong way to use these services really, but the ways I use them are pretty common to most users. On these services, I have friends that I really care about but don’t get to see as often as I would like so it’s great to be able to see what they are up to. I also enjoy getting links to projects my peers are working on whether it be a new article or a new film. The good of a service like facebook far outweighs the bad. With that said though here is a list of five extremely irritating obstacles to navigating the world of Facebook:

5. People complaining about the lack of privacy on the service.

Facebook is not e-mail, it’s not your mother’s family photo album. Facebook is a “social” network so by definition you’re on the site to share and it’s really naïve to think that a company is going to give you a free online blog and storage for tons of pictures and the ability to network with friends for free. Facebook has to make money so they will reveal some of what you have put on your facebook page. So, know that going in and don’t put anything vital on the site. It’s as simple as that. With that in mind, it’s still easy to keep up with friends and share pictures and information, just make sure it’s nothing you wouldn’t mind the public seeing. If it’s a conversation you’d have at a public restaurant, it’s probably ok for Facebook.

4. Random song lyrics in the news feed.

It’s actually ok some days if you just don’t have anything to say on Facebook. Maybe you just want to check in and see how your friends are doing. There’s nothing wrong with that, not at all. Some people it appears feel they must share something so if they have nothing happening ,they just put up some random song lyric that pops into their head. I’m looking at your updates curious about how your day is going but instead you’ve posted the entire first verse of Sunshine of Your Love. In fact it took so many posts to get your desperately nagging lyrics out to the world (Didn’t Eric Clapton already do a good enough job of getting those lines out to everyone?) that it pushed all of the other updates off the first page of my news feed.

3. Baiting people for compliments

So you’ve been on your diet and taken off a few pounds, you got your hair “did” and you slapped on a spiffy new dress. Do you take a nice picture and post it to facebook? What text do you post along with said pic though? “Damn I’m just looking horrible today. I really gotta take off a few pounds and maybe get a haircut.” Is this sincere feeling? Nope, not usually. More often than not this sort of posting is “compliment bait” and the person that posts this sort of comment often has a bevy of friends that take the bait and post replies like “No no you are just absolutely beautiful.” Now, it’s not just girls that post this sort of update, guys do it too. How about just posting a pic and saying “check it out damn I look good!” Sure it’s vain, but at least you are being honest about your enormous ego. Or just put in the text “Here is a recent pic of me”. Also it’s ok to be proud of a nice pic of yourself from time to time, so if you aren’t the type constantly commenting on yourself in that way, then it’s really not all that vain either. If you are that type, again at least you’re honest.

2. The purposefully vague post

The purposefully vague post is like an inside joke that only one or two of your hundreds of friends get. This can also be a sort of bait, also but more on that in a minute. Often these sorts of posts come from a user who really needs to say something to another individual but instead of doing so they decide to post to the world and hope that individual gets the point. The way this sort of post also works as bait is that it goes up and 25 friends post “What’s going on, what’s wrong?”. More often than not said poster will just continue to be vague with replies, usually because it’s none of the public’s concern, but the initial post went where? It went to the public so all of a sudden, we are all involved. At a minimum, it went to all of the friends so at least they are all now involved. At the same time, it’s ok to post that you’re sad about something because your closest friends can contact you and your acquaintances on facebook can sympathize but getting said sympathy via purposefully vague posts just makes the proceedings melodramatic. If you have to be that vague you should just probably talk to the person that the post is truly intended for.

1. Games, Games, Games, and more Games

There are those that literally do nothing but play every possible game in existence on the service. Nothing is more frustrating than to open your news feed and see nothing but game updates. Sure, there are ways to disable some of them in your news feed on your desktop computer many users, myself included, most often access facebook through a mobile device and the mobile facebook app doesn’t have an option for disabling well, anything in the news feed. So, not only are you scanning the news feed on a much smaller screen, but you have to dig through all of the game updates. I have yet to succumb to the facebook games and will not because I don’t want to add to the madness that’s already happening in news feeds all over the world.