When Facebook Says Your Friends Are Hanging Out Without You

Navigating the intersection of etiquette and technology.
Jan. 17 2012 3:06 PM

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Transcript)

What to do when Facebook reveals your friends didn’t invite you to an event.

(Continued from Page 1)

But in fact it was problem and a lot of people did take offense. It’s mostly corrected itself with a further technology: texting. I agree Facebook is ubiquitous, but I think there need to be some rules. I also agree posting that you’re going out with Kelly is very boring, but aren’t 90%of Facebook posts very boring? The point is maybe if it’s boring, why are you doing it?

Farhad: Well, then why are you on Facebook at all? This is what Facebook is for. If not for telling the world what you’re doing tonight even if it’s boring, I don’t really understand what the point why anyone would be on these sites. I think if you join Facebook you should expect you’re going to see what you’re friends are doing and some of your friends might be doing things with others of your friends that make you feel left out. I think that if you cut this out from Facebook there’s really nothing else left other than pictures of your dog.

Emily: That’s sounds like a good thing to me. Do you disagree?


Farhad: I would love if Facebook were only that. I think we’ve passed that. I bet that most people who are on Facebook expect to see these kinds of messages, and it’s not offensive and not bothersome to most of them.

Emily: Again I hate to get into sexual politics, but bless you guys that think you’re more oblivious to that kind of thing. I do think the people who are going to be a little hurt or put off will tend more to be females. I disagree. I don’t think,” That’s it world, we post everything. I saw my podiatrist; you’re going to read about it.” I think that this is an evolving technology. Maybe we shouldn’t say what we had for lunch or post a picture of every social activity.

Farhad: I’m with you on people shouldn’t post every little thing that happens to them. It sounds like for these people, the situation they described is a big deal. This happens rarely that they get to go out on a triple date, and for them, it’s a highlight worth posting. It’s not something that happens every day.

I would agree with you if there was a friend of mine who was posting all the time about every dinner they have, that would get annoying. This post in this letter probably goes a little too far with all of the details, but in general if you have something big coming up, something you’re excited about, you should be able to post it.

Emily: Maybe this is also an age divide between us. I just think this constant self-promotion – “I put it on Facebook; therefore the experience exists” – it’s not a big deal to go out to dinner with friends. It’s likely if you’re in a very tight group with other friends… there’s nothing worth mentioning in passing when you run into people. It’s the self-congratulatory announcement of it that’s get people’s backs up. It’s not that it happened; it’s that you’re making the people who weren’t invited know about it.

Farhad: I think the disagreement between us boils down to I don’t consider Facebook such a big deal. Anything you post on there seems really small to me. So if you’re posting something about your dinner, I think it’s a few lines of texts that someone else is going to see for a few seconds as they scroll through their hundreds of other friends. It seems like it’s going to not be noticed by many people. I don’t think it’s this grand announcement that you’re making it out to be.

Emily: Well, that’s what manners are; it’s a collection of these small things. I think going out to dinner is small; it doesn’t deserve noting to 700 people you know. Who the hell cares? But once you do make this announcement then you do open yourself up to, “Have fun.”

Our bottom line is I’m an old, cranky anti-Facebooker and I think it’s ridiculous to note every little event in your life. And yes, when you make a big to-do about some silly social event, people who weren’t included, just like back in kindergarten, might get their feelings a little bit hurt.

Farhad: I think that we’re not in kindergarten anymore and you should feel free to tell the world what you’re doing with your friends on Facebook. Not that many people are going to feel bad about it.

Emily: Send us your questions about shifting etiquette in the online age. Our address is digitalmanners@slate.com

Farhad:  You can also join our Facebook page where we carry on the conversation throughout the week.  Go to www.Facebook.com/digitalmanners.

Emily:  And we’ll talk to you next time on Manners for the Digital Age.

Farhad Manjoo is a technology columnist for the New York Times and the author of True Enough.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column. 


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