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Field guide to Facebook

Log on at your own peril! We take you on a surfing safari and break down the site's 19 most browser-busting bozos.
By KARA BASKIN  |  September 4, 2009


Recently, CNN ran a short piece listing common Facebook personas. CNN? After our collective jaws dropped, we asked the rhetorical question, "How instructive is the funeral-parlor-stopover of undead zombies like Lou Dobbs and Larry King going to be to the Facebookers of today?"

No, CNN really isn't representative of the Facebook generation at all. Do you think Christiane Amanpour's latest status update is "OMG! Iraq is sooo hottttt right now!"? Has Anderson Cooper ever un-tagged a drunken photo of himself semi-nude on a booze cruise? (Okay, er, bad example.)

We thus humbly offer our own definitive anthropological examination of the species you'll stumble upon in that catty cyber jungle — straight from the trenches, culled from hours of research. Brace yourself as we identify the cringe-worthy creatures of the Web's most prominent social-networking site.

The delusional fan
How to identify Posts oodles of awkward posed photos with the famous (and semi-famous) and tags them — often the same type of person who tweets at celebrities and expects them to respond.
What to do when you spot one This sad sack is fragile; offer kind affirmation. "Yes, Carrot Top does seem to be squeezing you very tightly." "Of course only a lucky few get an all-access pass to Lionel Richie's dressing room!"

The failed model
How to identify Poses repeatedly in front of a computer and pouts in emo fashion. She then doctors her profile photo to look Warholian or sepia-toned. Inebriated pastime? Tactic to disguise the ravages of age?
What to do when you spot one Scoff — then immediately doctor your own profile photo. Work, supermodel, work!

The vowel lover
How to identify Chronic overuse of vowels. "I had so much fun at the gameeeeeee!" "I can't wait to see yooooou!"
What to do when you spot one You shouldn't be spotting one in the first place — this phenomenon tends to afflict the under-16 set. Move along, you pedophile.

The grudge holder
How to identify Makes tortured, obtuse references to someone who wronged her, but will not mention the person by name. You know who you are.
What to do when you spot one Commiserate. Badmouth unknown individual. You don't want to get on this priss pot's bad side.

The archivist
How to identify Has a photo scanner and too much free time. Is there anything worse than sitting down to your morning coffee, cracking open your laptop, and coming face to jowl with a bloated photo of yourself circa 1996 in which you look like Kirstie Alley?
What to do when you spot one Un-tag yourself at once. Then follow up with an e-mail threatening legal action (with current svelte photo attached).

The Bridget Jones
How to identify A one-woman country tune. She's been burned by love and ain't afraid to post about it: "Cinderella changed her life, and so can I!" "Moving on — finding a good man!"
What to do when you spot one Make her a reservation at TGI Friday's and hope for the best.

The Erin Brockovich
How to identify This altruistic individual wants to save everything, from the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest to the canceled TV show According to Jim. She is currently taking donations for the Abused Ferret Society.
What to do when you spot one Wish her luck, but explain you're already stretched thin, what with your commitment to "Force Facebook to Re-Instate a Third Gender Option."

The linguistic acrobat
How to identify Answers Facebook quizzes ("What kind of toothbrush do you use?") as though he were interviewing at the New Yorker, complete with convoluted sentence structure and obscure pop-culture references.
What to do when you spot one One-upmanship. Or hire a surrogate to humble his pompous ass in Scrabble.

The existentialist
How to identify This person simply "is" . . . unable to operate a BlackBerry.
What to do when you spot one E-mail him a titillating Zen koan — replete with un-openable attachment.

The loose cannon
How to identify Becomes incensed by one of your posts and surfaces from the depths of obscurity to reprimand you. For instance, you write: "I just had a disappointing brunch, discovered a fly on my lox." This jerk responds with charges of anti-Semitism.
What to do when you spot one Nothing you could say or do will pacify him. Take solace in the fact that, from the look of his profile, he lives alone with overflowing litterboxes, writing unpublished letters to the National Review.

The nut job
How to identify Generally, someone who went insane since you last crossed paths. He's living in the forest, seeking peace and solace, and has simply reached out to wish you the best on your spiritual journey.
What to do when you spot one Wish him a blessed day, then pray that woodland creatures destroy his Internet connection.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Lionel Richie, Bridget Jones, Lou Dobbs,  More more >
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  •   FIELD GUIDE TO FACEBOOK  |  September 04, 2009
    Recently, CNN ran a short piece listing common Facebook personas. CNN ? After our collective jaws dropped, we asked the rhetorical question, "How instructive is the funeral-parlor-stopover of undead zombies like Lou Dobbs and Larry King going to be to the Facebookers of today?"
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    Let the current financial tsunami be a lesson to you, arrogant plebeian consumer: greed cometh before a fall.

 See all articles by: KARA BASKIN

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