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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A guide to successful Facebook status messages

Have you been updating your Facebook status regularly, with all kinds of stuff from Good Luck to Sanga and Co to What should I have for my next meal to I'm taking a crap, but not getting any worthwhile attention? Whatever you say, don't anybody give a crap and ignore you? Do you crave for some attention, and some comments? Fear not my friends, you've come to the right place. Here is a guide to How to write successful Facebook status updates, that is tried and tested, and guarantees positive results within a week. Of course this is for us the mere mortals who likes attention - not for those higher beings who are above us all and do not care for simple things like these. If you are one of them, forgive us for our silliness, but please do move on to 'bigger and better' things that you are destined to. All the others, pay attention.

The.Golden.Rule. People don't like to hear others whine, however good friends they are. It's not only you that have problems. Everyone does, and you problems are not any worse than theirs. Besides, what can - or rather, will - they do if they knew that you're going to keep whining no matter what they say? Other than ignoring you? At first you might get a few comments sympathizing with you but eventually they will die down. At least try to keep things non-negative if you can't keep them positive. Nobody likes a cry baby, except perhaps another one.

2. Try to be funny.
Everyone likes a laugh. And what better way to get your day started than seeing a laughable status message and laughing? Well of course there are many better ways, but this too is not a bad way. In case you have a sense of humor that won't stand a chance even against a troll - or worse yet, a gollum - worry not, still put up an update that you think is funny. At least people will laugh at the unlaughableness (is there such a word?) of your supposedly funny comment. Something is better than nothing, eh?

2. Don't boast.
People aren't really interested in your new ultra slim iMac or the new iPod Touch or the Ferrari you jut bought. Well, the latter only applies to Aravinda and in his case people are interested in it, but other than that, just don't boast. Who cares, really, what you have. This does not apply in the case of a new girlfriend/boyfriend though.

2. Instead, laugh at yourself.
A status message like I just realized how dumb I am is much more likely to attract attention than something like Wish I could improve on my IQ of 140. For one, anyone with an IQ higher than 140 wouldn't waste time on FB, and even if they did, they wouldn't put it on their walls. Also, in case you're dumb, people can always suggest ways of overcoming your dumbness, but what can they tell you to do with your IQ of 140?

2. Don't go with the trend.
What's the point of a status message like Good Luck Sri Lanka!!! on the eve of the World Cup Final? It's not likely that anybody in the team is going to read FB status updates hours before a WC Final. Besides, so many people put such messages so yours become only one of many. But be careful not to overdo this either. On the day LTTE was defeated you don't want to say something like I'm eagerly waiting for Ranjan Ramanayake's next movie. You are gonna look plain stupid and dumb, not to mention ignorant. Well, you will be all those and more if you're eagerly waiting for Ranjan Ramanayake's next movie any day, but still.

2. Be original and unique.
Reciting what other famous people said will bore the other not-so-famous people; ie, your friends. Hell, those sayings are widely known, analyzed, criticized, debated and accepted already. What more can you add? Rather, try to be original and say what you think of anything, something or nothing for that matter. While doing this, keep in mind all the above points.

2. Every once in a while, take a shot at a friend.
Who doesn't want to laugh at their friends? Everyone does. So take the initiative. Only, make sure that a) the said friend knows a joke when he/she sees one and b) don't try to be too frequent. Still, follow this step at your own risk.

2. Avoid, as much as possible, the use of big English words unless you're trying to be funny.
People-unfunnier-than-trolls should take special notice as they will end up looking they are being serious. Status message is not really the way to display your proficiency at English anyway. Plus you could also end up looking like you're boasting even if you're not. Rather, keep it simple or better yet say something in your mother tongue, at least from time to time. There is a little kick in saying something in Sinhala if you're a Sinhalese, or in Tamil if you're a Tamil, or whatever your mother tongue is. "Haiyoooo", "Mala keliyai", "Baduma thama" and any other such words helps you express yourself better. It adds to the fun factor as well.

2. Keep it short.
People who like to read novels, will buy and read them. 'Nuff said.

2. Keep your wall clear.
Make sure your status message is easily spotted. It's the status message on the wall that people normally notice, not the one next to your name on top of your page. Besides, it's a pain in the buttocks when everything you do on FB is posted on your wall is it not? So cleaning the wall is a good idea anyway.

2. Don't be too frequent.
Too much of anything, irrespective of how good it is, makes it less appreciated. Gems are worth because they are not found so easily. Obama made it to the top because he is black, which makes him rare. And if you saw white elephants everyday (no pun intended) they wouldn't be so cool as they are now. Your status messages are no exceptions, however good they are. Remember, overdoing kills even the best of things. Like SRK's acting.

2. Timing.
This is getting less and less important due to the two facts that your FB friends could be anywhere in the world and the world is a globe. Still, know your target audience and make sure your timing is convenient to them as well as you. Increases the chances of reaching your intended audience and getting a reply.

2. And at last, REPLY.
Unless it's an ass-pineapple whom you really want to get rid of. But in that case, you can always block the idiot and get it over with. Other than that, reply to everyone who comments which almost always guarantees more comments. A good practice is to express only half of what's on your mind on the status message and discuss the rest on comments. However, that runs the risk of nobody replying - due to various reasons including your dry humor, any other points above, or the simple fact that you are in fact an ass-pineapple and people don't really like you - and you end up looking like a fool. Either way, replying guarantees more responses.

That's about it, folks. Hope this act of unselfishly sharing valuable information will lead you all to more happier times on Facebook. All the positive acknowledgment will be appreciated while I'll be kind enough to let you keep the negative ones that you get should anything go wrong.

Happy Facebooking all!



  1. Wow.. excellent tips! You know some of them reminded me of Dale Carnegie's principles. Have you read his books?

    As for my status msg, it's usually kept blank except for special occasions. But ya, I could at least add something funny, once in a while ne.. =D

    oh and do post this on FB too, for the benefit of a majority.. =D

  2. Watch and read mohammed T-shirt art from Sweden at,

  3. Great advice, Sachintha! I'm still feeling my way on Facebook.

  4. Well said machang!!! "Never quote other people" that one was the best ;)

  5. What about posting old content? I wrote a piece on posting new content so you don't annoy your readers with tired memes and old videos that piggy-backs some of the good stuff you have here.


  6. Laurent, yes that too is a pretty good one. Thanks for sharing the link.