Chasing status; tripping up

Hannah Wilkinson

From cringe worthy to genuinely upsetting, the Facebook generation shares with hundreds of ‘friends’ they would never consider saying in public. Oxford students may show ‘advanced cognitive ability’ in some areas but seem to leave their common sense elsewhere when they log on line…

1

Mum’s the word

There was a time when parents communicated with their children by knocking on their door or simply barging into their rooms. However in social networksphere all your dirty little secrets can’t be hidden under the bed. Daddy’s little darling probably doesn’t want the whole family to be informed of “last nights great shag” or even the slightly less graphic description of the drunken mess you were in at Park End. Remember, even grandparents have Facebook these days.

2

Icky Sicky

No one would text everyone in their phone book about ingrown toenails, infected fingers or aches in their groin. However the avid Facebook user obviously has a sturdier constitution. I mean who wouldn’t want their love interest/ cool new best friend/ old dance teacher to be quite so enlightened.

3

Emoticon

The Facebook equivalent of the person who responds to a polite  “how are you?” with vivid details of their parents messy divorce and their feelings of hopelessness, is the emotionally revealing status updater. Cryptic messages invite questions and public dissection of the feelings at stake. Whilst the rest of us look on in horror, these Facebook fiends feed us with more information than the Mirror on Pippa Middletons ‘pert bottom.’

4

Money. Dosh, Wonga!

From sharing that they’re spending a grand on flights to a fabulously exotic location or bemoaning a dire financial situation, a certain breed of Facebook user loves to keep us informed. We hate to admit to feeling just a little bit of envy / relief (delete as appropriate) when realising others are living the highlife / as useless as we are. We may be told we spend too much time basing our lives on the regularly updated pages of our friends. But without them how would be know whether they could afford that cheeky trip to the Turf? Remember, sharing your secrets online is far less embarrassing than in person…but potentially far more dangerous.

5

Location, Location, Location

Maybe not quite as amusing as their emotionally revealing counterparts but detailing your exact location on your status may not be the best idea. Everyone has had the odd Facebook stalk over a fittie’s summers pics, your friend’s latest beau or just some randoms arty snaps. Indeed essay writing wouldn’t be quite the same without a look at a stranger’s life. But having people know exactly where you are might be taking it a bit far. A real life stalker is a bit more hassle and slightly less flattering than an online one. And who knows who’s watching us…

6

Drunken confessions

We’ve all been there. It’s 2am, you’ve stumbled back from Risa with your Hassans in hand…and had the brilliant idea of logging onto Facebook. Climbing over cars, falling out of bins and being pushed home in Tesco trollies, sound familiar? But probably best to keep schtum…at least until you work out how to use those privacy settings.

7

And one unique to Oxford…

So we spend more time in the library and less time in Camera than we might like you to believe. But there is no harm in being able to pretend that you’re somewhere other
than your room on a Saturday night. Facebook lasts forever. Unlike our parents, who can look back to their university days with fond memories, we risk being constantly reminded of where we really were at 11.42pm on the 4th May 2011…