|A screenshot from Instagram (personal communication, February 2, 2016).|
I will emulate Jenn's format, because she did it oh-so-cleverly. As I started studying my Facebook timeline, it was difficult to find statuses that weren't shared links. That’s likely because I often unfollow "friends" who post effusive, highly personal status updates.
Most of my timeline posts are content from institutions or personalities I follow ie. The New York Times,
George Takei, Jezebel. Clearly, they’re looking to promote their own content or causes, so I’ve decided not to examine their narratives.
|A sample post on my Facebook timeline.|
I decided that I would only examine Facebook posts that were original content, native to Facebook. Like Jenn, out of concern for my friends’ privacy, I won't be sharing identifying information about my friends.
1) G. is a former work colleague of mine, who changed his profile picture to an image of himself and his wife looking pensive or skeptical. They're outside sitting on steps of a large public library. I think G. intended all of his friends to see this photo. Indeed, the profile photo is used as an avatar across the site and can come up in Google searches. From this, I’m guessing G. wants to show the importance of his relationship with his wife.
2) K. is a former high school classmate who I haven't spoken to in years. She writes that she thinks she's lost her wedding ring in a garbage bag filled with dirty diapers. It's accompanied by many anguished emojis.
The message is brief and powerful. I think the post is made to garner sympathy and words of encouragement. From this message, I'm imagining that she's a busy mom and wife with many responsibilities.
3. N. 's photo shows herself and young niece at a birthday party. The accompanying text says how N. loves and cherishes the niece, S. This "friend" often posts pictures of her family and friends. I'm a former colleague of N.'s and yet I can see this personal picture, so this photo is very public.
N. is quite pretty, and most of her FB posts are selfies with family and friends. This portrays that she has strong relationships with others and values her family and friends.
|A screenshot of B.'s Facebook post.|
4. The next post is a lengthy, esoteric post promoting a yoga retreat in Southeast Asia. It was posted by the organizer of the retreat, a high school acquaintance named B.
B. posted a picture alongside the text, showing her posing under a gorgeous, bougainvillea tree. The picture is washed in warm light, and B. is smiling invitingly while wearing a tummy-baring yoga outfit. The photo captions suggests B. is having "a midday frolic through Eden" (personal communication, February 2, 2016).
I think her post is to evoke emotion in the reader. Because B. is promoting her event, she's intending the post to be widely read and shared. The appealing image is meant to attract the reader and get them intrigued by the yoga retreat. Most of our mutual network would be in rural Alberta, suffering through the winter. The post is enticing and says "come join me in the sun in Southeast Asia".
5. S. is a high school friend who posted regarding the broken pilot light on her furnace. Three commenters gave S. advice, after which she responded that the furnace was fixed.
From this post, I’m gleaning that S. is a homeowner with responsibilities. She's trying to be pro-active and solution-oriented. Also, she’s living in Calgary and she’s still suffering through the brutal Alberta winter.
S. is quite prolific with Facebook postings, so I think she intends them for a wide audience. I don’t know her very well anymore, but I can still glean lots of information about her job, recreation activities and marriage.
Jezebel. (2016, February 2). Sarah Palin, February 1, 2016: "You ready for peace through strength and that Reagan-ous posture that would tell any enemy, 'Uh uh, we’re America, so we win, you lose!'" [Facebook status]. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/Jezebel/posts/10153166141642434.