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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why You Should Fake It on Facebook

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM

I went out on a first date with a girl who is also a recently added Facebook friend. During dinner she kept bringing up things I had already read about on FB, but I lied and pretended like I didn't know because that's creepy, right? At what point am I allowed to admit I FB stalk her? A month? Longer? 

You were right to pretend like her life rituals were a mystery, especially on a first date. Admitting that you know a few tidbits is fine, especially if it's at the very top of her timeline. Smaller ticket items, like a song she played on Spotify, or how she "seriously loves grapefruit juice!!!" are acceptable conversational lead-ins. Particularly the one about the grapefruit juice. It's so spunky! Like there's a party in my mouth but not many people are invited because the sour gives me vacuum face! 

If you scrolled through several days (or I guess now "years") of her timeline/profile, you should probably keep that locked away in the dark corner that also houses your Olsen Twins fantasies and obsession with collecting labradoodle keychains. At least until it comes up organically, or sometime around date five. Be especially guarded of picture admissions. Remarking on a near stranger's Halloween photos from 2009 reveals one of two things: that you are way too invested or that you've been using them as masturbation fodder. 

On one level, Facebook functions as a kind of Life Spoilers phenomenon. It takes away the mystique, and the allure of getting to know someone's quirks and routines naturally, especially if they use FB with any kind of regularity. It also tends to take away the adherence to grammar, which we've talked about before. Of course, such information can be useful, especially if you've run out of first-date discussion topics or if you're screening for Ron Paul supporters (You bet your caboose I'm still on the Herman Cain Train!). But too much Facebooking also has the troublesome side effect of making what you actually say redundant, because your mouth hole can never keep up with the breakneck pace of the Facebook ticker bar. 

As a non-dating aside, you should also fake it when someone shares big news with you in person, like an engagement or pregnancy. Nothing takes the oomph out of thrilling news faster than the sentence, "Oh yeah, I already read about that." The thing is, they know you know, but one of the few courtesies still available to us as human beings is to share someone's excitement by acting like you care about their fetus (or equivalent). It takes only a few minutes, and it's the least you can do. 

I'm constantly surprised when confronted with the fact that people actually read my Facebook posts. Like I'll be at a bar with a third-tier acquaintance, and they'll be like, "I'm left-handed!" And I'll be like, [vacant stare]. Then they'll clarify, "That article you posted three weeks ago about how queer people have a 50 percent greater chance of being left-handed than straights. Remember?" I'm not against these surprises, by any means, (I LOVE talking about DNGAY theories!) but sometimes it's all too easy to forget how much information we reveal on Facebook until it smacks us in the, well, face.  

As someone who publicly shares lesbian sex haiku on Facebook with my 900 friends, I realize the grains of this post are very salty (it's like a grain ocean up in this hizzy!), but I stand by my conviction that we ALL benefit when you act totally surprised the next time I order grapefruit juice at a bar. 

P.S.: Bets on how many Ron Paul supporters are going to comment on this?

Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at 

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @ExhibitionistSF or Facebook

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