Doug LeMoine is puzzled that the construction of Facebook status updates requires me/him to refer to myself/himself in the third person. This format gives structure to the News Feed, but it also encourages the updater to craft the update as a sentence beginning with his/her full name. The forced third-person would seem to create myriad grammatical problems as people try to construct meaningful sentences, but pretty much everyone ignores grammatical correctness (not surprising). The surprising thing is, grammatically incorrect status updates don't really seem weird (to me) anymore.(It's possible that I'm taking this all far too seriously).When I first joined Facebook, I dutifully wrote all of my status updates in the third person, as the format dictates. Because I am both a grammar snob and a rule-follower.
Rule-abiding: Doug … his
This construction is appropriate for the feed, but it's also terribly awkward. Statuses are usually personal, "microblog-ish" bits of content, and it just sounds weird when personal stuff is written in the third person. Recently, I started to lapse into the first person in the body of the status, and while doing so, I cringed in anticipation of the inevitable condemnation.
Rule-bending? Rule-breaking? Rule-adapting: Doug … my
But so far, there has been no condemnation forthcoming. Why? Maybe we all quickly become blind to the totally obvious disagreement? Or maybe it just makes cognitive sense that the content of the status will be in the first person? If the latter is true, how soon will we be updating Fowler and Strunk & White to reflect this new kind of usage?