Should You Delete Annoying Facebook Comments?

YES. Embrace your tyranny. Also: Who asks whom on a first Gchat date? And Facebook chatting old crushes. posted on

Is it a dick move for someone to delete comments I make on their Facebook posts?

OK, bear with me for a second because I do NOT think you are going to like this analogy, but, ummm, I’m going to use it anyway: Let’s say you went over to seven or eight of your so-called friends’ houses every day and just threw up everywhere. You walk up to each house, press each doorbell, say “hey” to each friend, and then you walk into the kitchen and throw up, and then you throw up a little more in the hallway and bedroom. And then you leave. Is it OK if that person cleans up once you’re gone?

So yes, I am calling your comments throw-up. I realize that might sound accusatory or maybe even — in some crazy world — a little mean, but the fact of the matter is that however you meant your comments, whatever they were intended to deliver, they are being received like outsider puke in the hallway. Something about them is making the people you write them to want to get rid of them. If I were you, I’d be wondering more about why that is than whether or not the Facebook friends in question should delete them.

No, it’s not a dick move to remove something you don’t like from an area that (however loosely, in this futuristic space world) belongs to you. This doesn’t mean all your friends have perfectly sound reasons, or that they aren’t sometimes a little jerky, or that none of your comments were funny. It could, but it doesn’t necessarily. It just means that the only Facebook you can control — well, partly, anyway — is your own. I’m mad about it every day.

WHAT IF S/HE SAYS NO??

In any given pair of people who know they know each other and know they could/should be Gchatting, but who are not already on each other’s Chat “lists,” how do they/you “decide” (without saying anything out loud) who invites whom?

Just think, for a second, how much easier it would be to decide whether or not to click “Invite to Chat” or “Retweet” or “Like” if there were a corresponding real-life action that went along with it. Would you invite this guy to Gchat if the invitation were sent in a golden envelope on a platter and everyone in his office saw it being delivered? Would you still favorite a tweet if it meant the person who tweeted it got a kiss on the cheek to let them know you liked it? Would you add that girl as a friend if you had to ACTUALLY HANG OUT??

As it is, there are practically zero consequences of anything you do online. Haha! Just kidding, dooooo not quote me on that out of context. What I mean is that it doesn’t matter that much, in and of itself, who adds whom as a friend and who invites whom to Gchat. You are already friends with this person. All this decision comes down to is whether or not you’re trying to make some sort of annoying-ass power play. If so, get the H out of here, you knucklehead!

So how do you decide? The person who invites the other person to Gchat is the person who has something to talk to the other one about and who wants to do that talking by Gchat. It seems so simple when I say it like that, if I do say so myself. Another way to know? The friend who invites the other friend to Gchat is the one who is just better. Good job, you are approximating normal.

Just do it.

I just saw your post on Facebook chat, and thought to ask you a question I was wondering about. There’s this guy that I knew years ago, and I had a huge crush on him. We are Facebook friends and he recently moved near me — he’s a year out of college, I’m a senior — and I was wondering if it was weird to start Facebook chatting him. And if not, what should I say?

Oh THAT post? In which I dismissed Facebook chat as the dumbest thing on the planet, and said that anybody who is over the age of 18 shouldn’t use it? That went over really smoothly, and nobody had any qualms with that suggestion whatsoever! It’s so nice when we can all agree on something serious and important.

I’m confused, though, because you say you’ve read the post and you also say that you are older than 18, so you must know that I think you shouldn’t chat this person. You just don’t know him well enough. But because you are Facebook friends, there is this (widespread! popular!) tendency to think that chatting isn’t so great a leap from where you are now. It’s just a new box. And that, really, is why I hate that Facebook chat. It’s nothing personal, Facebook chat! (Well, not totally true. I also hate the way you look.) It’s just that starting a Facebook chat (and occasionally Gchat, for that matter!) with a stranger or an acquaintance is a bad idea because it’s overly familiar, and it doesn’t give the person an easy out if she or he isn’t interested in talking to you.

But this guy is (I’m assuming) suuuuuuper cute, so let’s come up with an alternative plan. The fact that he moved to your town is about as good a reason as you’ll ever get to send him a little message (private, not on his wall) saying hello. Keep it short and simple, something like, “Hi! I saw on my feed that you just moved to _______! Welcome! Let me know if you need a tour guide, I know all the good bars/restaurants/cemeteries/UFO hotspots/etc.” See how it goes from there. Maybe you two will make it to Facebook chat someday. But I really hope you’ll just say no.

FWD: Halp! is a weekly advice column on how to behave like a person when using technology. Would you like said advice? Email your questions to Katie.

Illustration by Cara Vandermey.

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