I'm usually a pretty good prognosticator of all things trendy. I predicted years ago that newspapers had better take evasive action because how people get their news would soon change dramatically. I was right.
I shook my head as Kodak and other companies poo-pooed digital photography as a fad and assumed film would never, ever be replaced. How’d that work out for you?
I should have been a consultant.
I did miss one, however. In 2004 (I think) I told a group of leaders of local nonprofit organizations that I thought people would get bored with Facebook in a few of years. Oops. Facebook has evolved from a college bulletin board/chat room to a place reserved to only young people to — well, whatever it is today.
And Facebook is going strong. I believe that's how most people get their news nowadays. Sometimes it's even accurate.
Usually, though, the stuff is pretty goofy.
"In which state should you reside?" You can find out by taking one simple quiz! And "Which president are you?" Really?
Here is my short list of silly stuff on Facebook.:
• Politics. Both sides lie. Both sides skew the facts. Both sides take video/audio snippets out of context to make their opponents look silly. Just stop it.
• All posts that try to guilt you. "Repost if you love Jesus. Scroll past if not." Please.
• Photos of your food. OK, I did this once. It was years ago and I promise to never do it again.
• Angry animal rights activists who would kill people to save a puppy. I love animals more than most people and sacrifice much for my “babies,” but some of these people are simply over the top. If you value a pet's life over a person's, your priorities are in need of alignment.
• Urban legends. People will repost anything — and I mean ANYTHING — without verifying. I admit I've been caught a time or two, but I try to not push “SHARE” too quickly. Verify, people!
• Almost any "redneck" video. Somebody with a strong Kentucky accent usually tries something really dumb and ends up crashing a motorized vehicle. There's typically an ambulance involved, or at least a groin grab.
• My least favorite is any vague post. "In the hospital." DO NOT post a statement like this without details. You're just begging for people to ask, so just go ahead and say you're having a hernia operation or being treated for an STD. If you want privacy, don't post it!
• Equally irritating are those posts about your health that aren't so vague. Some people complain to the world about every headache, backache, toothache, earache and heartache. It gets old.
That's my list of Facebook follies — at least the ones I could remember quickly. On the other hand, there are many, many good things, too, like:
• News. I get lots of feeds from various sources, nationally, regionally and locally. I even post breaking news.
• Education, from silly to actually useful. You can learn to fold a fitted sheet or T-shirt. You can get a recipe. You can even learn to make an air conditioner. out of a plastic bucket, a few plumbing parts and a discarded fan.
• Facebook is by far my best marketing tool. And it's free. I can publicize my business just by saying "Good morning." Use what you can.
If I've figured out anything over the Facebook years, I've learned to think twice before sharing or commenting on posts that are political, or simply someone's drama. It's easy; just don't do it. By the way, I found this image on Facebook. Repost if you dare.
Writer James Mulcahy
spent 35 years as a newspaper journalist at small and large papers. He is currently a freelance photographer/writer/graphics designer, and he drives a school bus.