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.

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