What To Do When a Family Member Posts Something Stupid on Facebook

For more, see Racists Pig Racing?: Why Christians are Obligated to be Discerning on the Internet. Image: rogefer84 via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

Facebook used to be such a fun place for you. I remember those days, too. It was a nice place to find old friends from high school and maybe college, to check on old girlfriends and boyfriends to see if they’ve stayed fit and if they married somebody as cool as you, and to read fascinating updates of what everyone was up to in life. Good times!But then, your mom found Facebook. Then your crazy uncle got on there. And all your cousins. And your dad. Suddenly, it was like your little brother tagged along with you on your date at the movies. To make matters worse, your family cannot seem to tell the difference between The Onion and Yahoo! News. (There is a small difference.)

Your aunt sent this to me. She’s pretty sure it’s legit. Image: Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

All day long, your Facebook is updating with screeds against the President, Gun Confiscation, Gay Marriage, and the wicked, wicked Monsanto with its GMO foods. Instead of neat place to spy on people with permission, Facebook has become a place where people go to wear tin foil heads and complain about the government.

I understand your frustration, your embarrassment, and I’m here to help. I’ve been there. I remember when one of my dear family members discovered the internet. She was from a generation not hip to the lingo spawned in AOL chatrooms, and so she got the idea that LOL meant “Lots of Love”. So she posted on someone’s wall, “So sorry to hear that your Aunt is in the hospital! LOL!!!” That actually happened, in human history.

I have another relative that cannot go a day without some graphic claiming that President Obama is a Communist (or Nazi, somehow he is BOTH, which is amazing), born in Kenya, and quite possibly the anti-Christ of Revelation. If that isn’t enough, I am actually a pastor in real life (IRL). I am friends with all my church members so I can spy on them constantly. I have seen it all.

Once he shows this kid how to win this game, Ted is going to check the latest news on Infowars! Image: emilykreed via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

So what do you do? Should you unfriend your own father? Should you dump your aunt? Won’t that make Thanksgiving awkward? Of course it would, assuming they are savvy enough to know that they got unfriended. But that is a tactical error on your part. It is a terrible mistake. You have to think like the NSA here; you are gathering information to help them and keep them safe from themselves. If you see that your uncle is a paranoid conspiracy theorist, you know EXACTLY when to walk away when certain topics come up at Christmas. Plus, at extended family get togethers, you’ll know the normal, happy cousins to talk to.

Besides that great advice, I thought I’d make a short list of things to do when your family members post stupid things on Facebook. I hope this will help you survive the internet a little longer:

1) Use the scroll thing on your mouse or on the sidebar. Just roll past it and smirk.

2) You could message them and say, “Hey Uncle Crazyguy, I saw you posted that link about Paul Ryan having his devil tail secretly amputated. Did you know that was a satire from the Onion? Yeah, hahaha, I almost fell for that too. Try Snopes.com, they debunk hard stuff like that.”

3) Find a normal family member to be friends with and message them when your family posts something nuts. Be like, “Did you see what Joe posted today? LOL!” You can laugh together. Facebook can make happy families at the expense of other family members. It is a beautiful thing. Unless that family member thinks “LOL” means “lots of love.”

4) If they post something about how Monsanto is the devil and they are killing the honeybees and all of us with their genetically modified foods . . . like that post because that junk is true.

5) Finally, insist that they favorite Christ and Pop Culture and come here to read stuff everyday. We can help them.

We’re here for you. We understand. Hang in there, friends!

For more, see Racists Pig Racing?: Why Christians are Obligated to be Discerning on the Internet.

About Brad Williams

Brad is the pastor of a Baptist church in a small town in Alabama. Brad has a lovely wife, two children, two dogs, a cat, a turtle, and five bee hives. Besides the incredible fact that he managed to persuade his wife to marry him, he is proud that he served six years in the Army National Guard, managed to graduate college with an English Lit. degree, graduate seminary, and finish the original Bard's Tale as a youngster by making maps on graph paper.

  • http://derekzrishmawy.com/ Derek Rishmawy

    Two more suggestions:
    You can also hide their updates from your feed.
    If you don’t want them seeing YOUR crazy posts, you can create custom group that includes everybody except that person and have that be your update setting

  • Alice Daniels

    Love this. I’ve hidden so many people’s feeds because of this exact thing. Good to know you are here for us!

  • S. L. Whitesell

    I’ve been gradually mastering the art of the “disarming comment” – an precision strike at the absurdity of the post, usually with a warhead made of irony or too-cool-for-school.

  • http://www.christandpopculture.com/ Richard Clark

    Ya gotta Swoop ™

  • Ashley Tieman

    LOVED this article. Wish I could share it, but then how could I have awkward thanksgiving conversations about why I hate FOX News? It’d take all the fun out of it.

  • Brett

    6) Get the log off your own feed before hiding the speck in theirs.

  • Tom Chantry

    I can’t wait until one of my friends’ aunts gets sick so I can use that line…oh wait…that’s not very Christian of me, is it?

  • Susan_G1

    “4) If they post something about how Monsanto is the devil and they are
    killing the honeybees and all of us with their genetically modified
    foods . . . like that post because that junk is true.”

    lol! (true)

  • marymorrison

    Hey wait a minute. I was on Facebook a long time before my kids were, and I’m probably ‘way more liberal than they are. So I’m thinking that if they hide my posts, it’s probably because I’m more progressive than they are. It can work the other way around.

  • Joanna

    “Facebook can make happy families at the expense of other family members.” that made me laugh out loud. For real. :D


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