When it comes to Facebook friends, numbers are boring. These days, everybody who's anybody has lots of friends on the social network.
But no matter how extensive that list, the people on it tend to fall in a limited number of immutable categories. Some of these are annoying. Some are astonishing. None is going away.
Divas: They never have a bad day. Their defining characteristic is that they are not at all interested in what you have to say. Whether they're promoting a home-based business, a foreign-policy article they wrote or a lifestyle, Divas are just not that into you. You can respond to their updates, but they won't acknowledge you -- except for an occasional click of the "like" button on your status.
Birthers: Recognizable because their photo albums invariably include a professional, color-coordinated shot of the family -- usually in a sylvan setting with everyone wearing white or light blue. Their child's every move is noted and followed by exclamation marks: "Dylan had his first taste of Kobe beef today and he loved it!!" As they get older, "Annika scored two goals in the season opener!! So proud of you!" They use Facebook to communicate with a spouse sitting across the room. "My husband did the dishes!" or "Spent the day with my wife and son. Best. Birthday. Ever. Love you!"
Lurkers: You rarely see or hear them, but they're vigilant. Some are aggressive, seeking out photos or posts by past paramours. When you see them in person, they will ask about something you posted three months ago.
Dullards: Can't be interesting and have no idea how boring they are. You want to hide them in your privacy settings, but you don't because you feel sorry for them. You keep hoping they will break through. Examples: "Our daughter Hannah is packing for her semester abroad in Barcelona. Only six days and three hours before she leaves." Or "Grandma is bringing her special potato salad to the picnic."
Scolds: They feel the need to rein in the fun by spanking anybody who posts anything slightly inappropriate. What killjoys don't know is that months later when you gather with friends, someone will invariably ask, "Who was that guy who posted that scolding comment to your update?" You will respond, "Nobody."
Grandstanders: These aren't people who post photos of college mascots or comment on the outcome of games. Instead, they go to the games and post photos of the field with the caption, "We're at the game!"
Yakkers: You've left your Facebook window open but you're elsewhere. Then you hear the blip, a signal that somebody wants to chat directly. You feel a frisson before you realize that you already know who it is and it isn't your future boss offering a dream job in London or that hot guy from your high school reunion. Never. It's always someone with the limp salutation, "Hi. How are you?"
Olympians: They have their status updates synced to their running shoes so everyone can see their daily mileage. At 6 a.m., you will be taking your first sip of coffee as you ponder the day ahead, and an Olympian will have a 10-minute-old status update that reads, "Refreshing 8-mile run this morning. Off to teach back-to-back Pilates classes!" A variation of Divas, Olympians don't have time or energy to read what you have to say.
Jetsons: They aim to paint themselves as the jet-setting leisure class or high-powered business travelers. The vacation types generally brag with pictures of beaches or talking about the trips every day for months before they leave or simply from the airplane: "On the runway in San Francisco, can't wait to get to Napa." The business travelers tend to grumble as a means to let you know where they are: "Another work trip to Los Angeles. Staying at the Standard again. Sigh."
Gamers and politicians: These are lumped together because they're too banal to separate. Gamers just want to play "Mob Wars" or whatever, and politicians just want us to know how much fun they had talking to voters at the 17th annual Logrolling Festival in Duddsville.
Feeders: They produce, consume and share information at enviable speed. They're smart enough to post only the great stuff you haven't already seen. Feeders ensure you don't miss a buzzworthy story in the New Yorker, Slate, Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times or Granta. They are strictly high brow. Their cousins, the Bottom Feeders, make sure celebrity junk food doesn't go unnoticed. They're both great.
Lost Friends: If not for Facebook, you wouldn't know what had become of these people. Attempts at letter writing fell off some time in college. They can never post enough. Hearing from them is like having a hot latte delivered to your doorstep before breakfast: delicious, cozy and delightful.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747