Facebook Friends and Voyeurism

facebook, sociopaths, serial killers, ted bundy

I’ve been reading a lot about serial killers lately, because I am trying to learn more about myself.  My fiancé insists that just because I killed a spider in our bathroom with a rolled up Time magazine, and said “Time to die, spider!” that I am not displaying any tendencies towards sociopathy.   Then what explains the bed wetting, hmm?  My cat is not that clever.

Sociopaths can be identified through several common traits, many of which are subtle, and some that are as subtle as Andy Dick in a Chuck E. Cheese.   As I read about them and intermittently surfed Facebook for bikini pictures of girls I hardly know, I realized that Facebook has created a socially acceptable way for the masses to display sociopathic tendencies.  In a way, Facebook has brought out the Ted Bundy in all of us.

 Common Traits of Sociopaths[1] and Facebook Based Evidence we are all Sociopaths

 Manipulative and Conning.  I have read so many ominous posts like, “At the hospital, might be sick…” that I am beginning to think that my network of “friends” is more moribund than Michael Douglas after performing fellatio.  The point of these posts is solely to garner sympathy and curiosity from others, and are therefore manipulative and conning.

Shallow Emotions.  Attempting to dive into the emotional depth of Facebook content is like a vaudeville stuntman diving into a cup of water, except instead of visual trickery you get poorly spelled ramblings tied to unflattering pictures of people who should only be photographed for National Geographic.  Facebook has become the primary social playground for a generation, and in the process has rendered them largely emotionally impotent.

Need for Stimulation.   Sociopaths have a need to live on the edge, and are prone to verbal outbursts and promiscuity.  I could replace the word “sociopath” in the prior sentence with “my 13 year old cousin” and it would be an apt description.  Facebook allows us to have poorly punctuated verbal outbursts without the social shaming we would experience should we have decided to perform our diatribe in a public space.  Facebook allows us to post immodest pictures of ourselves for the viewing of relative strangers and therefore allows us to be promiscuous in a socially acceptable way.  Looking at Facebook pictures is the modern equivalent of climbing a tree to peer into a neighbor’s window, except it is easier to masturbate.

Callousness/Lack of Empathy.  Two of the largest sites right now are Wikipedia and Facebook.  One offers you the timeline of important events you care about, the other a timeline about people you don’t care about.  Online interaction has fostered a callous attitude towards others.  The lack of empathy can be seen in the endless stream of tasteless, poorly crafted jokes about recently desist celebrities.  If I read one more James Gandolfini fat joke I am going to seriously reconsider my writing style; also, I am going to have to re-write a lot of James Gandolfini fat jokes.

I could go on but I have spiders to kill and beach photos to look at.  I am as guilty as everyone (but a little better, because I am better than everyone).  Facebook has integrated its way into every facet of our lives; there is even an app that will post a final update after you die. This is of course absurd, because when I die I don’t need a final status update.

I need someone to water my Farmville crops.

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[1] All traits taken from the checklist of H. Cleckley and R. Hare, actual experts in sociopaths.

About Mitchell Pauly

Mitchell Pauly is a humorist, financial professional and entrepreneur. Follow him @Snarkfinance, and be sure to check out his website- Snarkfinance.com. You can learn more about him by visiting his Google+ profile.


  1. I am definitely friends with some weirdos on Facebook. Hypochondriacs, people who always talk about their ex, people who write passive aggressive updates toward no one in particular. I mostly post pictures of my kids.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Buying a House: HOA Fees and Other ShenanigansMy Profile

    • I don’t post much on Facebook these days, but I am willing to admit I have taken a look through some of the photos of ex girlfriends to see how I stack up against the new-guys. I am vain and shallow like that.

  2. I can’t stand facebook for exactly the reasons you listed. I use my personal account maybe once a month, on my phone when I’m waiting for public transit and have already read all of my e-mails. It’s like people are fishing for compliments and concern. “Such a bad day at work.” Then a hundred “likes” and “me too” “hang in theres”.
    kk @ student debt survivor recently posted…Are Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Shares a Good Deal?My Profile