First of all, let me say that I view Facebook as a tale of two extremes. You can either bore people with the mundane aspects of your day or you can brag incessantly until your "friends" want to unfriend you. Personally, I find neither option appealing.
Your working friends, meanwhile, want to say something, anything, but what should they say? Aye, there's the rhetorical rub! If you're like the rest of us, then you might occasionally find yourself on the receiving end thinking: What in the world is this working person thinking? In some cases, you might start to wonder when some of your online working friends actually have time for working. As promised, here are the 10 most irritating kinds of workplace-related Facebook status updates.
1. The Foodbooker. Your working friend is at a working lunch and the food is SO GOOD that he or she must share it with the world. Since we can't send bites of our food across the Internet (yet), the Foodbooker decides to post a photo of her lunch plate on Facebook. A half-eaten plate of chicken enchiladas? Mmm, yummy. Not. We're sorry to say it, but your food looks putrid in pixels. We like you, but we don't want to see a photo of your half-eaten food. Ever. Please enjoy your food without feeling the need to share it with the rest of us. We'll take your word for it.
2. The Traveler. Your working friend is gearing up for a business trip. In five days. But she's already updating everyone on the hour. Only four and a half days before I'm off to [insert name of location]. Can't wait! Get ready for the flood of photos and the parade of photo changes over the next few weeks as the Traveler decides which new photo to use as a background banner and profile picture. We wish you a safe and prosperous journey, but before that happens we'll brace ourselves for all of your Foursquare check-ins. Update: We'll get to that shortly.
3. The Busybody. This is the friend who uses Facebook every day -- sometimes multiple times per day -- for trumpeting how "busy" he or she is with projects, meetings, calls, work assignments and general dashing to and fro. Another busy day, just sitting here trying to catch my breath! About to call so-and-so on the phone, then I'm off to... Okay, okay. Enough already. We get it. You have a job, good for you, and you're busy doing it. So busy, in fact, that you have to tell us how busy you are five times per day, minimum. Please stop. Please?
4. The Promoter. He or she views Facebook as more of a promotional opportunity than as a personal medium. That's fine, until it's not. One or two posts per day promoting yourself is okay, but more than that can quickly go overboard. And please refrain from sending us so many invitations regarding your product or service, because it makes us feel awkward -- not unlike the feeling we get when a real-life friend invites us to a Pampered Chef get-together or Amway presentation. Promote yourself in moderation, and never, ever put us on the spot.
5. The Foursquarer. I've checked in at the airport. I'm checking into security. I'm getting on the plane now. I'm... Thanks for letting us know, we'll alert the media. Yes, we all know the Foursquarer these days, don't we? We're glad to see that you've checked in at that upscale restaurant and we hope that you enjoy the food (please do not upload a photo of it), but announcing your arrival at every checkpoint gets really old, really fast. Have a great flight. We're sure you'll let us know when you land.
6. The Whiner. This friend whines about his or her work day. The hours, what so-and-so said, how he or she doesn't feel like being at work today, blah, blah, blah. The workplace columnist in me wants to reach through the Internet and grab the Whiner by the shoulders to yell, "Don't you realize how lucky you are to be employed in this job market? Stop it!" Not to mention how the Whiner might be risking his or her own job security. A little less tunnel and a little more light would be greatly appreciated, especially by the ghostly lurkers who might be actively job hunting. We all have bad days. Just don't go overboard by griping too much about being gainfully employed in this tepid economy, and all is well.
7. The Philosopher. Oh look, it's another partial Bob Dylan song lyric or a quote from Deepak Chopra! Some days, this friend might offer up four or five philosophical musings or trite corporate quotes of the "You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible" variety. The cynic in us goes to our happy place and envisions the Philosopher sitting on a computer at work frantically looking for another quote to post. But why is he or she doing this? Is it an effort to remain visible or a strategy for looking pensive and thoughtful? Or both? We'll ponder these questions as we scroll past the fifth quotation of the day.
8. The Meteorologist. Today's weather is cloudy, then sunny, then partly cloudy by 5 p.m. Maybe this Facebook friend regularly uploads his or her iPhone screen containing the local, seven-day forecast. At certain times of the year it can feel like the Meteorologists are bragging, especially if they live in a warmer climate. It's so cold today, highs only in the 60s and partly sunny. Bummer. How about I trade you for my highs in the 30s with wind chill that makes it feel like 15 degrees outside? It's the same weather we've been having for the last month. If we want to know your seven-day outlook every week, then we'll look it up ourselves as we sit inside shivering in our fleece jackets.
9. The Dealmaker. This superstar has scored three new deals, and it's only noon. And that's just today. We cheer the Dealmaker on from the sidelines and feel fantastic that he or she is our Facebook friend. Until this person turns into too much of an insipid, in-your-face Promoter, that is. The economy has left our psyches rather fragile, after all, and the Dealmaker's "look at me and how awesome I am!" status updates could eventually start to feel like they're crossing a line somehow. In the meantime, we look, we admire, and we decide not to post our own update because it sounds so boring in comparison.
10. The Inviter. This friend wants to invite you to something work-related. Maybe it's a game, an online presentation, a conference, a product sample, a birthday calendar, whatever. Does it matter what it is? Not really, because you probably can't make it for a variety of reasons. A note to all of the Inviters in our lives: please stop inviting us to so many things all the time. It's nice of you to ask, but we're already swamped and stressed out and having to tell you "no" and hoping you're okay with it -- or ignoring your invitation -- only adds to our general stress level. Please let us know how it went, though!
Status: It's complicated, and I'm sure that this list is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Feel free to describe the various online characters in your work life, if only because you need to vent. Just don't post a photo of your half-eaten food, and we're good.