7 Highly Compelling Subplots On Your Facebook Newsfeed

Facebook, arguably, is nothing more than a series of a personalized reality shows–shows that we’re both willing to produce and consume, something made possible by (a. our willingness to share information that well probably regret in 18 months time, and (b. the fact that the older you get, Facebook becomes little more than socially acceptable stalking.

As a commentary on the absurd long-term storylines that tend to define our collective existence on social media, I wrote this article. But over the past year or so, it’s been fascinating to observe a new crop of emerging storylines.

Ranging from the somewhat sad to the downright hilarious, here are some great subplots that have dominated tha book over past year:

1. The Paradoxical Spotify Listener

He was the President of a pretty prestigious fraternity at Indiana, yet he listens to the likes of Vanessa Carlton, Jesse McCartney, and Icona Pop with a rather reckless abandon.

Is this a public admission that, deep below the layers of grunting and unnatural beer pong stoicism, he’s actually a 13 year-old girl itching to shout the lyrics of a Hillary Duff song from the top of a building? Is this a cry for help?

Key Storylines To Watch:

  • If called out, does he deflect with irony?
  • Is this a continual trend?
  • Does he listen to Enrique Iglesias with alarming frequency?

2. Music Festival/Cultural Event Bandwagoning

I write this on the day that the Gov. Ball lineup was released. If you don’t know what Gov. Ball is, it’s a place where 22-28 year olds congregate and listen to bands that they primarily like because the consequences of not liking these bands are way too steep.

What happens here is that the one friend who is genuinely excited about the festival (agent zero of hip) posts the lineup, and then tags all his or her other friends — effectively making them just as hip. The tradeoff of course, is that these friends are now obligated to attend a music festival that was fun the first time, but is ultimately an expensive and tiresome experience that doesn’t need to be repeated again.

That said, getting through the two days of festival does wonders for both the instagram feed and IRL credibility. So in the end, it’s worth it.

Key Storylines To Watch:

  • Is the bandwagoner going to all these crazy events now to overcompensate for the fact/make you forget that they were incredibly lame in high school?
  • Are you a terrible, wildly immature person for that being your first thought?

3. Cause Crusading

Much like how people in actual life dedicate their existence to finding the cure of a devastating disease, some people on Facebook devote their existence to lamenting the fact that Gray’s Papaya is now closed.

The Cause Crusader’s primary role is to tell you that what’s happening now is a disgusting, yet inevitable result of societal decline. Their secondary role is to “like” people’s comments when they support his or her opinion. Their tertiary role is to share three articles too many.

Key Storylines To Watch:

  • Have you become too scared to talk to this person in real life?
  • Would they spontaneously combust if you ever said anything negative about Obamacare?

4. Person You Don’t Know Being “Promoted” On Your Newsfeed

As of late, this scruffed up youtube guitarist has been really adamant about appearing in my newsfeed. Currently, he sits in between a girl instagramming the fact that she’s in somewhere in Europe (abroad! #makeitcount), and an article about a vine magician who only needs 6 seconds to melt my brain.

I don’t think I’ll ever check out his music, but I must admit his beanie game is rather phenomenal.

Key Storylines To Watch:

  • Where does this guy live? Who are his friends? Does he like Applebees?
  • How much profit is Facebook making off of people having ill-advised dreams?*
  • *Myself included.

5. The Continued Activity Of A Real Life Friend, Social Media Mystery

Given that the internet has devolved in a platform dedicated to people tweeting about Seamless, its sometimes very difficult to take anything anyone says on social media seriously. This is because in the social media world, the status-driven attention economy gives every single statement the same intrinsic value — I.e., a very genuine Facebook status about the passing of a loved one might be adjacent to a video about a skateboarding dog. Perhaps they were even posted on the same day.

When someone you get along with quite well in real life exhibits a Facebook persona that you innately dislike (or simply aren’t interpreting as intended – Lost In Translation should really be a movie about people interacting online), it’s cruelly disappointing. And in extreme circumstances, it can fundamentally alter your friendship.

Key Storylines To Watch:

  • Do they continue to post things that you feel “obligated” to like?
  • Do you feel like “you no longer know this person,” like a victimized spouse in a crumbling marriage?

6. Radical Moral Compassing

I’ve noticed that the older Facebook crowed–the 40-60 year-old family friends, and Facebook users who have effectively driven teenagers off of Facebook–often feel the need to publicly share the sorts of really inspiring videos and articles predicated on some sort of emotionally-charged impetus.

Moral compassing has not only become a major component of a viable business model (Upworthy), but one with a seemingly staggering potential. Because when sharing articles, moral compasses often insinuate that its your obligation to do everything in your power to spread the word about this particular flash in the pan. Because if you don’t, you’ll probably rot on the set of Little Nicky.

Key Storylines To Watch:

  • Is your local moral compass aware of how much money Upworthy is making off of him/her?

7. Collective Disillusionment Encouragement

Facebook has now become the de facto place to make major life announcements; be them marital engagements, new jobs, or the fact that you’re finally knacking up the courage to quit your job and start living the life that you’ve always wanted to.

All things considered, this is a very valuable and useful phenomenon. But like anything else that’s ever existed, it’s become abused. Specifically, it’s become compromised by the lethal combination of forcing the issue and sympathy likes.

Case in point: “Finally finding a studio to record dope tracks #actuallydoingthis” is nice, but if we treat every single minor step as a cause for celebration, do we even have anything to celebrate? Because in this case, we wouldn’t even have a proper playlist.

Key Storylines To Watch:

  • Does this particular storyline feature any mention of the phrases #grind and #hustle?
  • Is the creator of said hustle status still sad How To Make It In America got cancelled? Thought Catalog Logo Mark
image – Shutterstock

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