How To Evaluate An Individual’s Relative Normalcy Using Their Facebook Page

Facebook is a ‘primary platform’ for social behavior and self-representation. It is a rapidly-emergent web 2.0 framework where you can share, create, network and interface for personal and professional reasons, and it is also the subject of a new film called The Social Network. The film is apparently about some college bros who became social media millionaires by inventing Facebook.

If one were to examine my ‘page’ on Facebook, one would see that I have not yet seen The Social Network or any movie [in a theater] since Twilight: New Moon. It is common practice now to meet someone at a bar, band show, etc. and as you do not want to be inappropriately ‘forward’ by asking for a phone number, if you like them you might say something to the effect of ‘are you on Facebook’ and the person will be like ‘yeah’ and then theoretically you go home and type their name into Facebook and find them and then you wait like 2-3 days so that you don’t seem ‘too eager’ and then you ‘friend’ them.

Then you probably look at their Facebook page a few more times, you click on their ‘photos,’ you probably show a few people, you ‘like’ most of their ‘statuses’ for about a week and that is the end of your courtship.

But it’s not necessary to vaguely watch one’s list of who is ‘online’ on Facebook Chat for a week so that one can kind of stare at someone’s name when the ‘dot’ beside it turns green vaguely considering messaging them but not doing it so that one never appear interested in this person in whom one is interested.

In fact, one can tell a lot about an individual by a careful and nuanced study of their Facebook page. Examine each area of someone’s Facebook page in the order herein recommended to see if they are normal/have a life/should possibly be avoided.


This is the most important section. Not only does looking at someone’s photos tell you whether they are actually attractive versus ‘you were just kind of drunk when you met them and it was dark’, but it tends to be a better indicator than their ‘friends list’ of whether they have a life.

Good Signs: Person appears to have numerous photos smiling with friends, is ‘tagged’ in images of parties, is photographed at a brunch table [indicating they get up in the morning + can afford food], appears in photos in ‘vacation spots’ or with members of their family [indicating relative emotional normalcy].

Bad Signs: Person has available only photos they have taken of themselves, has a disproportionate number of photos of themselves versus others [indicating geocentricism/’thinking they are so hot’] has numerous album covers or cat pictures that have substituted for ‘profile pics’ [indicating borrowed identity, unstable sense of self or ‘something to hide’], person is rarely or never photographed by others in a ‘party setting’, or person appears with excessive frequency in a ‘party setting’ [slumped on street, critical mass of ‘drunk photos’, coated in food and/or nebulous substances] , is photographed repeatedly in intimate congress with the same person suggesting they are ‘in a relationship’ despite no indication thereof in their ‘profile.’

Other bad signs: The person has photoshopped themselves into numerous art collages.


After evaluating the individual’s ‘Photos’ tab it is time to perform an analysis of their daily life by examining their Facebook ‘Wall.’

Good Signs: The individual has reasonably frequent and legible ‘status updates’ [indicating facility with social networking, a quality correlated with intelligence and relevance], and a healthy combination of ‘posts’ made by themselves versus posts made by friends. Acceptable topics for wall posts include discussion of social activity or work, favorite lyrics or quotations, approval or disapproval of bands or television shows, and ‘status updates’ such as ‘[x] is attending [an event].’

Bad Signs: The person posted something at 4 AM sometime to the extent of ‘think I might be dying’, the person posts ‘WE ARE ALL VERY SMALL MOTHERFUCKER’ or other bizarre statements in all caps, the person rarely appears to ‘rsvp’ to event invitations/attend soial events, there are posts from friends that say ‘are you alive,’ the person posts on Facebook ‘can anyone help me find a job,’ there are multiple ‘looking for a new apt again HELP’ posts within 1-3 months of each other, the person only posts what they ate on a daily basis.

Other bad signs: the person ‘likes’ successions of alarming ‘pages’ on Facebook, e.g. ‘[x] likes CHEAT ON ME AGAIN AND ILL CUT YR BALZ OFF LOLZ, i know where u were last nite!!!!, if 1000 ppl join this u get a free iPad 4 REAL!, Crying and 6 other pages’; or e.g. ‘[x] likes dumpster diving, The Cleveland Show, dextromethorphan, Bitches and 4 other pages’.

Further bad signs: The person plays a lot of ‘Farmville,’ has frequent ‘Wall Posts’ indicating how many ‘White Mystery Eggs’ the person has bothered to collect.


The rarely-explored ‘info’ section should be a valuable place to obtain important facts about the person via their Facebook page.

Good Signs:The person has included relevant information about their current city, employment, favorite quotes and some information about their tastes in media consumption. Possibly they have suggested some personal facts in their ‘Bio’ section. Perhaps they have ‘jokingly’ listed a best friend as someone to whom they are married [indicating absence of preoccupation with relationship status + close human bonds.]

Bad Signs: The person is inappropriately interested in ‘Twilight.’ The person lists 10 close friends as their ‘siblings;’  the person has written more than 200 words in their ‘Bio’ explicating in detail all the things that can and cannot occur should one theoretically get close to them, threatening those who ‘get on their bad side’ and concluding with a declaration of their excellent, sweet and spiritual qualities; the person has included something in their ‘Bio’ to the effect of ‘still figuring out this facebook thing lol,’ the person has typed ‘lol’ anywhere in their ‘Info’ section.


A friends list can provide a ‘partial snapshot’ of a person’s social relationships.

Good Signs: 200-600 ‘Friends,’ possibly some ‘Mutual Friends’ that you were not previously aware you had in common

Bad Signs: The person has fewer than 100 ‘Friends,’ the ‘Friends’ seem lame, the person has over 1000 ‘Friends’ without a reasonable explanation for having cultivated that many connections [suggests they are indiscriminate or overly socially aggressive, ‘Friending’ everyone.]


Hopefully after perusing this useful guide you will now know if the person you met but will probably never actually talk to is ‘normal,’ and you also know how normal you appear to the person who you met and you are hoping they will accept your friend request but as of yet you don’t have any information on how frequently they actually use Facebook. If it takes them more than 2 weeks to accept your friend request they probably aren’t ‘worth it’ anyway. TC mark

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  • Adamhump

    enjoyed this

  • Matt

    I would venture to say that this is perhaps guidelines for using facebook in one particular way. I personally do not particularly enjoy giving facebook any more of my personal information than I absolutely must. (Though my wife is hardly helping me remain anonymous. :) I only use facebook as a way of contacting distant relatives and/or good friends who have moved away from my area.

    In this regard, my page is more of a “joke” with my profession being on Mars and my “profile” picture being custom artwork. I have no desire to “friend” strangers I meet unless they are business contacts, in which case I use linkedin…

    Regardless, if one wants to use facebook in the manner in which you do, these would be decent guidelines. I am merely suggesting that to some people, how “normal” they appear on facebook does not even register on their priority list.

  • Jazz English

    I usually like your writing, but I have to say, this is bull shit. I have a facebook because it is a necessary evil at times. I haven't posted a picture for a year. I update maybe once every two days. I only friend people that I talk to absolutely every week. And I am weary of how much information I put online about myself.

    This amounts to me having 30 friends, few pictures, an uncontested wall, and a light info section. According to you, I'm someone that should be avoided?

    Some people don't have FBs. Those of us that do, use it to different degrees. If I'm one of the people that don't use it very much at all, that isn't a bad thing. It's just a thing. Facebook is NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

    And just for irony sake, I will post this by loging in with my Facebook page.

    • Dane

      Find yourself a chillwave, & ride it.

    • a polar bear

      i disagree with your use of 'FBs' as the plural of 'facebook', preferring 'facesbook'


    While the occasional use of ' ' is okay, spare us on the constant visual of someone talking using his 'bunny ears' on 'every' 'single' 'word'. This reads like the comment section of an HRO post.

    Something in the similar vein of facebook cool was funny (, but this just reads like one of Carles' loyal fans.

    • a polar bear

      'this reads like the comment section of an HRO post' is the rejection note muumuu house gave me for my first novel, ''life seems bleak''. [one pair of those 'bunny ears' belongs in the title, the other is to 'draw attention' to your 'misunderstanding' of 'bunny ears'.]

      • Weary


        I can't tell if are you joking. Is that really what they said?

      • James R Fleenor

        honestly, i agree, thats so funny.

  • a polar bear

    i feel 'late to the party'.
    things: i wonder if 'alexander leigh' is going to become 'the female tao lin' (is that a thing?)
    wonder if as time increases toward 12/12/12 when time stops and we all die, alexander leigh is going to 'approach the limit' of tao lin / make some kind of 'asymptote' if time does start again after 12/12/12, beginning again from the bottom, like the inverse of a tan function.
    the third paragraph seems 'resonant'.
    i 'laffed loud' at the [x] likes 'the cleveland show' etc thing sentence, seemed 'verified'.
    realize i do not fit into either 'good' nor 'bad' re: friends, but am closer to 'good,' felt 'reassured'.
    i liked this article, i think i might have 'creeped' leigh alexander's facebook after she wrote 'videogame consoles i've played in chronological order part n,' pretty sure she had the picture of her at [number approximating the number she put as the number in the aforementioned article] as her 'default,' pretty sure it didn't have a 'link-through'.
    when i am 'perusing' someone's profile, in addition to what is mentioned in the article, i also judge them on their privacy settings, preferring [word meaning 'stringent'] to [word contrasting 'stringent'].
    'Matt,' i am confused as to whether, in your bracketed clause, the :) denotes a 'smiley face' or is a colon and an end bracket.
    i think this might be my longest ever comment.

    • Matt

      My :) was both a smiley and my closing bracket! Even my parents have to multi-task occasionally.

    • Leigh

      in your hypothetical, 'alexander leigh' would become the female 'lin tao'

      tried to see if there were any 'lin tao's on google to see what this would be like, but i received only results for 'tao lin'. also tried to find out who 'alexander leigh' is, received only results for an autism centre

  • poncho peligroso

    i'd really appreciate it if every single person who read this article would mindlessly friend me whether they know me/want my company/give a shit/care or not

    this way i will get to look at more red-highlighted numbers and watch a number go pleasingly upward

    ignore that my profile picture is a cat and that by most of the measures on this article i am a crazy person

    okya thank you for your help in getting me more famous as i treat the internet like a videogame wherein i reduce entire human lives to individual points to be quantified on a screen

  • Jordancastroisthepresident


  • stephen

    also enjoyed this

  • Ryan O'Connell

    This sounds a lot like my FB article but whatevs. This one is super funny and well-written.

  • Tao Lin


  • kristin

    according to the criteria presented in this post i am screwed and fated to die alone.

    • a polar bear

      maybe your blog 'sucks' but your twitter is ''sweet' – tao lin'

  • Bob

    200 to 300 friends is usually a warning sign that the person likes attention far too much and finds little value in close personal friendships.

    At least, that's how I see it.

    • Cooper

      Agreed. I score well on all points but this. Simply because of my attitude to Facebook. I use it to keep in contact with people I give a damn about who I tend not to be in regular contact with otherwise.

      But, then again, I tend not to add anyone I've just met at a gig or in a bar. I'll just give em my number.

  • Stanley Kramer

    Very Well written, but I don't feel it's very accurate. While sure, the bad signs are pretty useful, I don't feel that the “good signs” are very good at determining the normalcy of a person. Most if not all my friends, and myself and my wife, all fail multiple parts of this “criteria”. However, the majority of my friends are healthy, happy people with robust social lives. More and more Facebook is becoming nothing more than a flash game site, so I'm not inclined to put much value in what happens on that site.

    • a polar bear

      i feel that if you feel like facebook is a 'flash game site,' you don't really understand how 'young people' [read: hipsters] 'use' facebook.

  • 2010

    Not only is the article a good funny read but a great launching point for the big face debate so thanks to all the commentators too…! Now… back to work.

  • Guestropod

    I am lord of facebook

  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on Beauty Preservation Balance.

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