5 Ways to Improve Facebook

374000_478887408799802_1759092935_nFacebook needs to be put in a timeout. No, it hasn’t done anything that naughty. Well, there is that whole privacy issue thing. But, this timeout is so FB can listen to some advice from a mother. After all, I’m it’s fastest growing demographic – women way over 35. So, Facebook sit up straight, put down your smart phone, quit fidgeting and don’t interrupt me. I’ve got a to do list for you. Trust me, like any mother, I’m here to help.

Mother-in-Law Page – Facebook was ruined for me on July 27, 2010. That’s when my mother-in-law joined. No longer could I make any less than perfect family comments as a status update.  No honest sharing that “I was still recovering from my crippling sofa bed injury.” Why? Because it was my mother-in-law’s sofa bed that had rendered me with partial nerve paralysis in my 3rd and 4th vertebrae. My suggestion is to make a mother-in-law page. This would be a “ghost page” set up that only a mother-in-law could see whenever she clicked on her daughter-in-law. On this page you would post happy comments about her son as in: “Thank goodness for my awesome hubby. After all these years of marriage I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Everyday I wake up and know that I’m just not good enough for this man.” Or cheery facts about the grandkids like: “My children are so gifted you can tell they take after their Nana. Everyone knows they didn’t get their brains from my side of the family.” Not only would this brighten a M.I.L.’s day, but even more importantly, much more importantly, it would keep her out of your business because she would be so busy reposting all your comments to her friends.

Filters – This would be easy to do and save so many of us from so much annoyance. FB should design a Filter system where you could type in words or phrases that you don’t want to appear in your newsfeed. Such as: six figure bonus, my kid is a genius and new boobs. This would edit out all those obnoxious status updates that clutter up your newsfeed. Yes, please, I know that you can “hide” people, but what if you have friends that are only partially annoying that you don’t want to hide all the time? The Filter system would totally take care of that problem.

Status & Photo Enhancers – You really need to get on this immediately. Summer is right around the corner and I don’t think I can bear 3 months of looking at everyone’s “incredible” vacation pictorials. Let’s call this the “Create A Happy Family” tool that would be located in the “edit profile” section of your personal page. All you would need to do is upload some family photos and pick which stunning locale you would like to place your family in. You could also chose the photoshop option and click on adding in blinding white smiles, flowing hair, and slender thighs. I know from personal experience that there is a crucial need for the Create A Happy Family tool and it would bring joy to millions of FB users.

Last summer I finally hit the wall after one Texas “friend” entered the “over posted zone.” Yes, everything is bigger in Texas and apparently that applies to FB postings as well. I was okay with abundant photos of her five amazing children who always look like they were plucked fresh from a Ralph Lauren ad. You know the ads I’m talking about where everybody is blonde, subtly tanned and looks like the young Nazis from The Sound of Music. It wasn’t even her incredible summer family photos that did me in. It was her daily pictorial of “Fun Family Things We Did Today.” You would have thought a Family Fun magazine tsunami had blown through her living room. (For those of you not acquainted with Family Fun magazine it’s a monthly reminder that you suck as a mom because you don’t have the talent, time or patience to take a paper towel roll and turn it into 1,001 different toys, craft projects and clever costumes. Really, Jesus and the whole fishes and loaves thing he did to feed the multitudes has nothing on Family Fun. Family Fun would have taken the fish and concocted 235 different recipes out it and then sliced the crust off the bread into cubes, carved different fish species into each hunk, used the left over fish juice as ink and made stamps and stencils for the now non hungry crowd to decorate the thank you notes they would soon be writing to Jesus.) I’m telling you it was absolute soul crushing torture to read and see. On Monday they had a sand castle competition with homemade first place ribbons and a sand bucket cake with crumbled graham cracker frosting. Tuesday it was the Water Balloon Olympics, On Wednesday it was a backyard Carnival with a hopscotch cake made from Rice Krispy squares and on and on she went. I get it. All your FB friends get it. You’re an amazing, creative, high energy mom that is putting all the rest of us to shame. We surrender to your superiority. We’re all posting white flags as our new FB profile picture. Well, I liked to say I went the white flag route. But, I never like to give up or give in with any kind of grace, whatsoever, so I kind of created my own fake Facebook family to taunt her with.

Sure, I could have clicked on “hide,” but that would be a chicken move. I would have won the battle and lost the war. I needed her to feel pain, to bear witnesses to my mom awesomeness. (okay, fake awesomeness, but let’s not get bogged down by the truth) I did it not just for myself, but for all the moms having to partake of her daily dose of family perfection. One super hot July day I assembled my troops (my two kids) and explained my plan. (Fortunately, my children are used to my plans, schemes, and other idiotic ideas. At a very young age they were told that their mommy was “different,” even “special” and that I would do things that other mommies might not ever consider doing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them very, very, much.) The two greeted my plan with lot less enthusiasm than I expected. Which surprised me. My plan was a stunner and bonus – family bonding time. I was going to have my son – Mr. Computer Guru, take ads from travel magazines etc and photoshop our faces on them. He was also going to put pictures of us in a stunning kitchen doing crafts, in a backyard having a Summer fair etc. My daughter was going to be our model and change clothes about a hundred times so we could photoshop her in a million different places. My son gripped about the time commitment and how we needed to shoot with a green screen to make it look “decent” and my daughter thought the whole plan would require some shopping to fill in the gaps in her photo shoot wardrobe. I told them it was 100 degrees in the shade and if they didn’t’ want to do this they could enjoy yardwork for the remainder of the day. In a surprise to no one they suddenly got behind my idea. It took all day to pull it off and included a trip to Best Buy to get something my son said he “needed” and a frozen yogurt run. But, by that night I had my own phenomenal family pictorial and my very own “Fun Family Things We Did Today.” It was enough faux fun that I could post my fakeys for a week.

I know you’re thinking, “Hey crazy, what about all your other friends and family on Facebook wouldn’t they being going huh? when you posted this crap.” I had that covered. The overzealous posting mom had a schedule. She always posted at 7 a.m. right after their family run, where they’re all “training for a triathlon in Bermuda (sigh). So, I would post my fauxness at 7:02. I knew her competitive spirit would have her looking at her newsfeed and mine would be at the top of her “most recent” home page. I let the post rattle her cage until about 7:15 and then I would delete it. Yes, other people saw it. But, not that many and before you could say WTH it was gone. Talk about fun, you could tell I had hit a nerve. The over-posting mom really got upset when my “Fun Family Things We Did Today” was a “Save the Seals” swimming pool party we had in my fake backyard. The picture showed my daughter hugging a seal (So easy to do. We put her in a swimsuit and had her hug a large inflatable pool dolphin then my son photoshopped out the dolphin and added a seal) in front of a huge pool in an amazing backyard – (Thank you Coastal Living Magazine for the incredible pool picture.) She messaged me and asked, “Where did you get a seal and asked if that was my backyard?” Since I didn’t want to lie with words – (only pictures – I have standards people) I would always answer around her questions with one of my own as in – OMG – Aren’t seals the best?!!!!!

I knew I had won after day 5 when she de-friended me. Victory was mine! She couldn’t take my awesome (okay, fake awesome) anymore or she knew I was a filthy liar that had resorted to using my children as agents in my serial fibbing adventure. Whatever, I still won.

Mombook – That long-winded story brings me to the most spectacular idea I have. Facebook would give birth to Mombook. This would be a very elite social media network for surly mothers. Here is where you could go to do the anti-status update. For instance on regular FB you would post: “Wow, can’t wait till summer. You can tell the kids are ready for a break!” On Mombook you would post: “What’s with the 5 freaking school projects due in May?!!! I don’t think I have the energy left to nag, cajole and threaten my kid to get them all done. Can a school district make a child repeat a grade for not turning in a book report?”

It would be a safe, haven for the worn out mother. No cheery status updates, no know-it-all, full of themselves parents. Oh sure, they are mom networks a plenty already out there. But they’re infested with super mommy sharks that swim round and round looking for the blood of other mothers to feed on. Any mom who admits to not being perfect is prey for their vicious attacks. Mombook would be supermom free. Any boosting, show offy status update would get you terminated from the site. Ditto for any non helpful comment that showed a superior attitude or demonstrated a complete lack of a sense of humor. Mombook could market itself as the “Facebook site to visit when you’re having a maternally challenged day.”

The site could also sponsor cool social media events like M.O.M.’s. That stands for Moms On Missions. I can’t not even begin to share how much I love this idea. When a mom is taking a kid free trip it opens her up to gossip and superior statements as in: “Good for her, but I could never leave my kids. Not even for an overnight. I just love my children too much.” Well, with this mission trip you get to escape you family, free yourself of the judgamommy and do it all on a budget. Because if you tell other mothers that you’re leaving your family for a mission trip you’ve hit a trifecta of virtue. First, you’re not leaving your family for your own selfish pleasure, you’re going to help others. Secondly, you’re doing more than the other mothers, you’re not just taking care of your family, you’re going above and beyond and thirdly, by giving of yourself your also teaching your family about what’s important in life. The M.O.M’s trip would do all of this, but not the way you think. Your Mombook sponsored mission trip would be 3 days and 2 nights at a Fairfield Inn (home of the comfort deluxe bed) of your choice, conveniently located by a mall with a Barnes & Noble and at least one movie theatre. Here you can sleep in, lay around, read, eat, read some more, check out the mall, see a movie, and then take a nap. This mission trip on a budget is all about you, your sanity and addressing your sleep deprivation issues. Have no fear what you’re doing will still be virtuous. Is there any more important mission in your parenting journey than preserving your ability to experience the joy of family? What better way to experience that joy than to be away from them for a few days. Oh yes, I really think I’m on to something here.

Okay, Facebook did you get all this down? I’m serious, it’s time for some improvements. Don’t disappoint me. I know you want to make this Mama proud.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs. 

Facebook – Marriage Buster

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Facebook breaking up marriages?  C’mon, what an embarrassing reason to give for your marriage disintegrating. If my marriage was going south I would try to think up something a little better than Facebook to blame it on. Where’s the creativity and spite in blaming Facebook?  At least that’s what I thought yesterday. Today, I have changed my mind while standing in line at the post office. There I was waiting to mail a package.  I had number 145. Unfortunately for me when I walked in they were just on number 112. The line almost went out the door. What’s the problem, I thought. I look at the counter and one lone woman is working and she’s helping someone get their passport.  Talk about something that takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Then I look over to my left and get uber ticked off.  Two postal employees are chit chatting.  The line is heading out the door and two employees are gabbing. Ugh. (My apologies for any postal workers who reads this.  I know you work hard but perception is everything. If your employees are on break for self-preservation purposes alone, they shouldn’t be talking at the counter when there’s a line. At the very least get thee to the break room.) This is what worries me about any kind of national healthcare. If it’s going to be run like the postal service God help us all. After I choked down my anger and talk myself out of going to Fed-X I notice the guy in front of me – Mr. 144 is having a rather animated conversation on his cell phone. Having nothing better to occupy myself with and due to the fact that he is being rather loud I listen in on his call. Jackpot!  His call is fascinating. It seems Mr. 144’s wife has been having a Facebook affair.  What a shame I think.  Mr. 144 is awfully cute.  He seems to be in his late 20’s, well dressed with really good hair. I’m talking “soap opera” good hair. I shift my box to my other side and begin to listen in earnest.

Here’s what went down. His wife, apparently, made contact with a friend of a friend on Facebook. They noticed they were both commenting on the same posts and thought each other were hilarious. (Please, who doesn’t think they’re hilarious on FaceBook?) That lead to a FB relationship which lead to his wife thinking she found “true love.” Now, his wife wants a trial separation so she can see if she and her FB honey are “really meant to be.”  Yes, I got all that from his phone call. I was standing so close to Mr. 144 I could hear his wife’s voice spilling out of his phone. The poor guy hangs up and looks really sad. That’s my cue to do what I do best – offer unsolicited advice to strangers. You may think it’s rude or pushy. My husband is pretty sure it will someday get me killed. I like to think of it as doing the lord’s work. I make my move with the perfectly polite, “Excuse me sir, but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation.”   Mr. 144 looks embarrassed and apologizes. I tell him he has nothing to be embarrassed about and then I go for it.  I say, “I think you should tell your wife to go ahead and run off with her Facebook Fantasy.”  Now, in my vast experience of butting into people’s lives this could go either way – he could tell me to shut the @#%$ up or I’ve just made a new friend for the next ten minutes. It totally went the new friend route. He perks up and says, “Why do you say that?”

“Well, of course, I don’t know you at all and you could be a terrible husband or even a serial killer but I’m going guess you’re an okay guy and your wife on the phone sounded a little crazed. I say tell her she can have the trial separation. It will probably scare her straight”

“Really?” he says sounding all intrigued.

“Plus,she might start thinking maybe there’s someone you have your eye on during the whole trial separation thing. That,” I say, “will be a total bonus for you.”

By this time there’s four people now listening to my post office therapy session. In front of us one middle age married guy and an elderly woman with a sassy look about her. Behind us a pretty, 20-something woman and a mom who looks to be right about my age. Middle aged married man butts in agrees with my advice. But, he goes somewhat overboard. He tells Mr. 144, since he doesn’t have kids he should get out of the marriage sooner than later. He then asks him if he and his wife own a home or any property?  Mr. 144 says no.  That piece of information makes married middle-aged man break into a Cheshire cat grin.

“Oh yes,” he says, “Get out, get out now.  It will be a clean break.”

I interrupt before married, bitter, middle-aged man can get any more enthusiastic about matrimonial destruction. Time to go for the seasoned advice of the octogenarian.  Grandma, who decided she would channel Betty White and comes right out and asks Mr. 144 about his sex life.  Her wisdom – “if it’s good keep her, it’s average or below get rid of her.”  I can’t let this opportunity pass so I ask her “Why’d you go there?”

“I was married 62 years” she says. “ Believe me it’s always all about sex even when you’re my age.”

Hmm, didn’t know that. I don’t know whether to be delighted or disturbed by the information. The mom that looks like me chimes in.  She asks Mr. 144 if he’s sure his wife is talking about running off her a guy she met on Facebook or could it be a woman?

I immediately interrupt. “Really,” I say, “like this is helping.”

The look-alike mom says, “That’s what I did.”

“Did what?” I ask.

“Fell in love with a woman.”

“Oh, okay then.”  So, I ask Mr. 141, “Do you think it’s a man or a woman she’s thinking of running off with?”

He doesn’t answer right away and then says, “It’s a man. Definitely a man.”

My last “helper” is the cute twenty-something girl. She says, “You’re like so hot so I like for sure totally would so not put up with that. Seriously, I would like maybe go out with you.”

Now, Mr. 141 is looking a little less like a sad sack. I’m about to wrap up the community conversation when the grandma suggests that Mr. 141 calls his wife and tells her to take a hike right now.

I hurriedly say, “Um no, no, not a good idea. Hey, were just passing time in the post office. You should think all this through. Remember we’re all total strangers. What do we know.”   But, as I’m saying this he’s calling his wife and putting her on speaker phone. This could go down as my worst unsolicited advice session in my history of offering unsolicited advice.

The wife says hello, Mr. 144, begins telling his wife to go ahead and run off with her Facebook boyfriend. Then grandma leans into his phone and says, “I’m looking at a girl right now that’s ready to show your husband a good time.”

The “girl” (twenty-something) pipes up, “Yeah, that’s right I think your husband is hot.”

Then, the mom who looks like me says, “I do him if I weren’t gay.”

The middle-aged married man grabs the phone out of Mr. 144 hands and says “I’m a lawyer and I’ve already told him to dump you.”

I’m shushing everyone, but it’s not working. They’re having a great time. The wife on the other end of the phone sounds weird. Almost like her voice is echoing.  Oh shit!  His wife is here at the post office and she’s walking towards Mr. 144.

Sweet Alexander Graham Bell we’re all screwed. Mr. 144 looks pale. Since I started all this I stand right beside him. I do admit to holding my box very close to my chest and face as body armor. Mrs. 144 is ticked off. She starts in on Mr. 144.  “What’s going on?  How dare you let these people get involved in our personal life!”

Poor Mr. 144.  Then I have an idea. I introduce myself to Mrs. 144 and by introduce myself I mean say I’m a lady who was trying to offer some advice to your husband because I inadvertently heard some of their previous cell phone conversation. She calls be a “dirty eavesdropper” and she’s got a sort of point there so I don’t argue. But, is it really eavesdropping if you can hear someone’s cell phone conversation from six feet away?  I decided to go in for the kill, “Hey, you might want to get off your high horse and calm down. This is just Facebook in real life.”

She looks at my like she’s wants to punch me and screws up her face and says, “What?”

“Consider me and the rest of us as “comments.”  She’s still giving me the stink eye so I say, “Hey, your husband posted his “status” at the post office by having a cell phone conversation we all could hear and the rest of us just responded with our “comments.” As for this one (I lean my head towards twenty-something) she was just giving your husband a flirty “friend request” or perhaps a naughty “poke,” grandma over there was writing on your husband’s “wall” and this guy ( I look at the middle-aged married man) was just sharing a “link” about divorce with your husband.”

She still looks supremely ticked off, but lucky for me my number was called so I haul over to the safety of the postal counter to mail my package. I try to drag out the transaction and even considered updating my passport so Mr and Mrs. 144 would have left the post office before me. No such luck. There they are arguing by the stamp vending machine and P.O. box area. Why don’t they go home or at the very least to one of their cars to fight? I’m now considering my exit strategy from the post office when Mrs. 144 calls out to me. Oh goody. I walk over and say, “Yes.”  She tells me it’s none of my business, but they have decided to not have that trial separation.   “Congratulations,” I say, “that’s great” and continuing walking. My plan is to go across the street to the Quickie Mart, grab a Diet Coke and make sure the coast is clear before I get in my car. No way do I want to be followed home by Mrs. 144. I kill some time at the Quickie Mart and then go back to the post office parking lot. Yes, it looks like Mr. 144 is gone, but dang it his wife is still there.

She walks up to me and says, “Hey let’s friend each on Facebook.”

Unbelievable. Stunned for a second, I reply, “Awesome,” and then give her the name of  my archenemy. The PTA President at my daughter’s elementary school.

She taps on her phone, giggles and says, “ Okay, I just sent you a friend request. You’ll be my 3,873 friend!”

After that, thank you lord, she takes off in her car. Wow, I think she’s not in love with a friend of a friend she’s in love with Facebook all 3,873 friends and counting.  Mr. 144 doesn’t stand a chance against those numbers.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.