July 1, 2013

99 Reasons Everyone Hates Facebook by Emmet Purcell

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher via NetGalley. 

Description: Writer Emmet Purcell is a simple man with simple tastes. He likes keeping things short and simple, which is why Facebook appealed to him when it first surfaced. However, as it inevitably transformed from being a well-loved social outlet for friends and family into an egotistical, duck pose-laden, virtual farming-centric nightmare, he decided to take a humorous tongue-in-cheek ‘poke’ at the social website in his new release 99 Reasons Everyone Hates Facebook.

“With over one billion worldwide users, Facebook has become a part of our social identity…for good or ill. Mostly ill,” says Purcell. “But rather than wag a disapproving finger at the website itself, I decided to point out such inanities as creating a Facebook page for your pets, giving out WAY too much personal information, Face-Bragging and being one of the 48,000 people who have been suckered into clicking on ‘Join if you love your dad/mom/Jesus.”

99 Reasons Everyone Hates Facebook consists of nine chapters that contain 10-12 'Reasons' each, with each chapter focusing on some of the biggest Facebook offenders around. For example:

Reason #1 - Huge numbers of people gather together on Facebook to form the most pointless of groups
Reason #23 - Posting song lyrics as a status message
Reason #33 – Spending real money on virtual goods
Reason #64 - The plight of Facebook’s only other Mark Zuckerberg
Reason #70 - Facebook was mean to a really, really old woman
Reason #95 - Don't like Timeline? Tough luck

My Review: I still remember the day I first signed up for Facebook. I was studying abroad in England with several fellow Americans students (our school also has a British campus and about 100 students go there each semester). The day before finals, my friend and I decided we didn't want to stress about studying anymore, so we hopped on a train and spent a lovely spring afternoon in London visiting a park and museum and then later seeing a musical. When we returned to campus that evening, we found everyone in the computer lab, glued to their screens and gushing about how our university now had access to this website called Facebook and how we just HAD to sign up. Needless to say, not much studying was done that night since everyone was busy setting up their profiles and adding "friends." 

For the first few years, I loved Facebook and logged on often to share status updates, post pictures, and talk with friends. But over time, I've slowly moved most my online activities to other social media sites. (I think Matt Haughey sums up how I feel pretty well in his post "Why I love Twitter and barely tolerate Facebook".) I still log in to Facebook once a day to see if I have any messages, but I don't post quite as often to my personal account as I used to. I post more often on my blog and work pages, and I mostly check on updates from my close friends and family. 

When I saw this book, I knew it was one I'd enjoy. It was fun to read, and it really made me laugh! The 99 reasons are grouped into thematic chapters, and each reason is discussed in detail. I especially enjoyed the chapters on "Attention Seekers" and "Too Much Information." I have been guilty of some of these annoying Facebook behaviors in the past, but now I can look back and laugh at them and avoid repeating them. If you're looking for a quick, humorous read, 99 Reasons Everyone Hates Facebook does not disappoint. 


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