Is across the room considered long-distance?

We, the people of Facebook, all share very similar issues with the website. More importantly, we all share very similar pet peeves about Facebook’s users. There is the selfie queen, the friend who seems in a dark place, the Spotify user, and that one person who hasn’t discovered Twitter yet. Oversharing is the main problem. However, my particular pet peeve is a whole different type of oversharing. There is nothing on my newsfeed that drives me crazier than people posting on each other’s Facebooks while they are in the same room.

We’ve all seen it. It can be anything: a quotation of what the other person literally just said, some sort of inside joke, or even just a “look up I’m watching you.” However, the reason always remains the same- whether you want to ~*subtly~* let someone know you are online or you are noti-hungry, this sort of behavior is a cry for attention. There is literally no reason to post to one another’s wall if you are next to each other. A link or an article can be sent to that someone via Facebook Chat. Actually, so can most messages that are on my newsfeed. So since there is no other possible reason as to why this is a trend going on in cyberspace, we are left to deduce that it is simply because they want people to see it.

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these two are roommates. they are literally writing this across the room from each other.

screenshot taken by Katie O’Neil

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^I know this, because I’m across from you at Bobst.

Screenshot taken by Katie O’Neil

The desired result for posts similar to those above is any sort of acknowledgment- a “like,” a comment, or even a message asking what in the world you crazy kids are talking about. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an “I don’t care” button created yet that truly reflects our thoughts.

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This strange habit of Facebook users all comes down to two things- social cues and reach. Both of these are included in Baym’s list of seven things for thinking about media. The funny thing is, I don’t think it is something we need to be reminded to consider. The millennial generation is very well aware that one of the best ways to get attention is to resort to the WorldWide Web. Nowadays, it seems as though reach is  a sixth sense for millennials—we are very aware of who will be seeing our Facebook posts. When people are posting across the room to each other, it is because they seek attention from the rest of the online community, cognizant that the reach for each post goes beyond the person whose wall they wrote one.

My pet peeve is also heavily dependent on social cues. Social cues, as described by Nancy Baym, are clues that give you the context to the post. For instance, these posts wouldn’t bother me if they were transcontinental, rather than across the table. As good as millennials are at identifying the reach of their post, they are also great with setting the scene, or social cues, for the post as well. For instance, in the first post, everyone is able to recognize that these two are both struggling to write a paper on a Sunday night.

In conclusion, yes I am aware that this social media pet peeve of mine might be awkwardly specific and perhaps a little too overanalyzed. But I can’t help myself, it truly drives me crazy. It is a bit of a stretch, but I think these types of wall-to-wall conversations are equally as narcissistic as selfies or the humble brag statuses. It all comes down to our desire for recognition. And if that recognition starts with a *like* from a friend, so be it.

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