Social media giveth and taketh away in so many glorious ways. For every clever joke or genuinely interesting insight into someone’s life, there are many more posts that clutter, annoy and even infuriate our brains. So why can’t we make a better online community, free of manipulation, insecurity and passive-aggressive warfare, not to mention terrible grammar?
Well, we can start by not being among the following 10 people:
1. The Vaguebooker
You are an easy target, to be sure, but that’s only because you won’t go away. When you post “Today was the worst” or “I have never been so hurt,” we get that you want attention—rather, you are dying for attention—but how about just a little context? What, exactly, made today so bad? And when someone asks for details, don’t you dare post, “I will tell you later,” because at that point the entire planet hates you.
2. The Serial Crowdsourcer
Sure, Facebook is a great place to find a recommendation about a reliable plumber or new dentist, but why are you asking what time the school play starts tonight? Here’s a crazy suggestion: Call the school! Also, there’s this new, amazing thing called Google …
3. Mr. & Mrs. Happy
We get it, you love each other. A lot! That’s super. No, really, it is. In fact, the rest of us are kinda jealous. But there is no way your relationship is all rainbows and unicorns. Besides, trying too hard to convince people how in love you are is a reliable sign that things aren’t so perfect. In poker jargon, it’s called a tell.
4. The Humble Bragger
Ah, you are the passive-aggressive savant who complains about how tough your son’s AP class is or gripes about how difficult it is to find replacement parts for your Porsche. It would be refreshing if you just came out and said how proud you are of your smart kid or how your sports car is so much fun to drive. Trying to look humble actually makes you look, well, not so humble.
5. The Formalizer
I love you, but only in that sarcastic I-don’t-really-love-you kind of way because, frankly, you drive me nuts. You try to make everything A Major Event. That haircut most kids just get? Well, it’s a near-religious ritual at your house and you will post about it: “Getting our summer haircuts today.” Or, “Filling out our college applications. Big day!” Why are these statuses?
6. The Multi-Level Sales Guru
It’s hard enough to have to politely dodge all the regular businesses on social media (oh, hello, real estate friends), so why do I have to deal with you, too? I respect your zeal and wish you success, but I’m just not into your product and its (cough) pyramidal (cough) sales format. You also seem inordinately obsessed with convincing me your business is legitimate. (See “trying too hard” with Mr. & Mrs. Happy)
7. The Politically Obsessed
Yes, politics are important. Goodness knows, people need to be more informed. But perhaps somewhere in your near-hourly rants you could also include something else—a photo of a meal, a cat video or a funny meme—to break up the manifesto vibe you are putting out there. Get outside the cabin, find some daylight and enjoy life.
8. The Rumor Merchant
You could also be called “The Fake Newser.” You like sharing incredible stories (often involving celebrities, crime or politics) without first checking into the authenticity of the murky links you are posting. Look, there is this site called Snopes that is excellent for sorting fact from rumor. Please go there the next time you are tempted to post that link about how wearing cargo shorts is a secret gang sign. P.S. If you do get called out for posting a fake story, please delete it! Don’t leave the link there for some other sucker to share.
9. The Grammar Goof
Look, no one is expecting Shakespeare on social media, but how about at least fixing the easy stuff? You know, spelling words correctly, figuring out the difference between “they’re” and “there,” and stop putting spaces between words and punctuation (who started that, anyway?). And for the love of all that is holy, stop using apostrophes to make last names plural!
10. The Grammar Nazi
Yes, The Grammar Goof needs help, but there is no need to constantly slap him across the wrist. Besides, we are really only expecting baby-step improvements in this grammatical minefield. Expecting posters to know the difference between “further” and “farther” might be too ambitious. Relax, pal.
– by Felicia Gibbons, contributor