This will help you become a better poster. Before you fire away with the latest comment, update, tweet, pic or whatever, here’s the 3 questions you should ask yourself:
1. Does anyone care? Answer: no.
2. Have I posted this before? (I’m looking at you, people who post about your workouts)
3. Did I spell everything correctly?
The answer to question 1 (no) is really the answer to the other two questions as well. It’s precisely because people don’t care – and I mean in general (yes, my mother cares) – that they’ll roll their eyes and consider hiding/unfollowing/unsubscribing to you when you post, again, that photo of your latest salad creation, or that today is legs day. It’s also because they don’t care that when you try to share something but spell it wrong they’ll troll you ad hominem instead of contribute to the conversation.
Hope this was helpful.
And yes, I know you don’t care either which is why we’re all going to look at cat videos now.
Most of you aren’t very creative when it comes to updating your status. I see some genuine attempts at being funny, clever, or a combination of the two. Many, I believe, could use a little help. The following are some of the most overused phrases (cliches we’ll call them) that creep into your status updates like mold in a bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Also, I just threw away a bag of moldy sharp cheddar cheese.
The first step in being more creative within the confines of social media is to stop saying exactly what every one else is saying. Let’s focus today on how you begin a status update (or rather, how you should stop beginning):
#1. “You know…” as in “You know, elephants aren’t really afraid of mice.”
The problem with “you know” is that you only use it when there is an underlying assumption that the person in fact doesn’t know and they are about to receive new information. If you know they don’t know then there’s no reason to start that way. Another variation is if you start with “Did you know…” You aren’t really asking them if they know, you are only getting them ready for your information. If they did know then the whole thing is disappointing since you don’t get the pleasure of giving new info and they don’t get to hear something new despite the fact that you set them up for it. This is over used to the point where it doesn’t really mean anything at all. “You know…”, “didn’t you know…”, “did you know…”, “you know what…”. don’t start your status updates this way.
#2. “<number> <span of time> ago today…” as in “5 years ago today, I married my beautiful hamster.”
I die a little inside when I see yet another status update remembering a day/event/life using these same tired words. Not every fairy tale must begin with “Once upon a time.” This is how I know you aren’t creative. I see this kind of thing almost daily on Facebook. Try mixing it up a little. Tell a story about that day you are remembering. Or start with a lovely description of the person you are so fond of. Using the same words that everyone else is using to remember something or someone is like buying the most popular card at the Hallmark store. Sure, it might be a good card but it shows your thoughtfulness doesn’t go far beyond your ability to pay for paper.
#3. “I just have to say…” as in “I just have to say, I love watching my ten cats play with yarn.”
You don’t. You don’t have to say that. To anyone. Ever. So instead of using that expression, tell us why you are saying it now, to everyone. “I love watching my ten cats play with yarn because I only let them out of the bomb shelter once a month.” See? Isn’t that much more fun?!
The thing about Facebook is that you don’t have to say any of it. So instead of lying (if we’re being literal) or regurgitating a worn-out phrase, just give more details that will be inevitably more interesting. If when you include the details, find that it isn’t more interesting then I believe you’ve found yourself in a situation that you certainly don’t “just have to say” anything at all.
#3. “Dear…” as in “Dear guy who just robbed my bank. Not cool man. You made me late to my intramural softball game.”
I’m sure this used to be a creative way to start a status update. But just like “vote for Pedro” it’s a matter of over-exposure. The rule should be this: if you are writing a status update addressing someone specific and the person will not or cannot ever see it, stop. Backspace until it’s gone and start over. Parents are huge violators of this rule. They write status updates addressed to their children who won’t see it not only because they can’t read, but because they don’t have Facebook accounts. Who is the “dear…” part a benefit for? The friends reading the update? Hardly, as it doesn’t seem addressed to us. The person to whom it is addressed? Nope, we’ve already established they can’t or won’t read it.
So that guy who cut you off in traffic, your not-yet-born baby, the rude people at the movie theater, or the person who invented Twinkies…none of them care or know to care about your status update. I realize that nobody is supposed to take that literal, but then you should also realize that the novelty of spinning a clever, personally addressed status update stopped being clever a long time ago.
The exception is that if you are starting a “dear…” status and you are actually posting it directly to a person who will see it and read it (and perhaps respond to it), as if you were writing a letter, then it is appropriate and even little bit fancy!
#4. “Ugh…” as in “ugh I have biology homework again lolz”
I don’t believe any of my current readers are still in middle school, but in case a few brave younglings have ventured into the blogsphere and landed on this kind website, here’s a tip. Don’t say “ugh.” Nobody is really going to believe that anything in your life is all that difficult and you will always sound like an entitled and lazy brat.
Adults. The same goes for you. Just kidding! I know life is difficult and sometimes you just don’t have good words to express (on facebook) what you are feeling. Actually, that’s not true. You are an adult, use your words. There are great words for describing life, so don’t waste your time and ours with things like “ugh.”
#5. “repost this if…” as in “Every girl deserves a man who will buy her flowers. Cook dinner when she’s tired. Rub her feet even when they are glistening with sock sweat…etc…repost this as your status blah blah blah.”
If you are looking to be more creative in your status updates, then one of the first things to purge from your posting habits is re-posting this kind of stuff. If you want to say something nice about your sister, or your father, or someone living with cancer, just do it. If you are inspired by one of the “repost this” posts the creative thing to do is not repost it but craft your own rendition.
You may not say it as eloquently as the “repost” post but what you’ll be doing will come from whatever it is that’s inside you (gas?). In the end, it is always more meaningful to get someone’s own thoughts rather than a quick copy/paste. So do us all a favor and
#6. Don’t use the word “ironic.” as in “I got snow in my shoe today. How ironic.”
90% of the time when you describe something as ironic, it isn’t actually ironic. The times you get it right are probably by accident. Just forget about irony. You don’t really understand it. Things are much more likely to be coincidence, terrible, lucky, incidental, or appropriate. Just pick which of those seems best and you’re set.
So there you have it! I’m looking forward to a more creative social media experience!
I’ve spent some considerable words on this [not so] humble blog complaining about the questionable things people do on everyone’s favorite social network, Facebook. It is no secret that despite my rabid use of social tools, they annoy me greatly. So I see it as a sort of gift that I was accidentally included in the following FB invite giving me something new to expose and make fun of. I had no idea it was this bad, and for all the sane women out there, my heart goes out to you:
READ READ READ THEN YOU WILL SEE IT’S NOT THAT KIND OF INVITE TO GO SOME WHERE IT’S… A INVITE TO SHOW YOU CARE!!!!
We are playing a game. Someone proposed that we GIRLS do something special on Facebook to help with Breast Cancer Awareness. Its easy, and Id like you to join us to help it spread. Last year it was about writing the color of the bra that your were wearing in your Fb status and it left men wondering for days why th…e girls had random colors as their status. This year it has to do with your relationship status. You will where you are, by posting one of the codes below. Remember DO NOT REPLY,JUST POST IN YOUR STATUS ON YOUR WALL TO CONFUSE THE GUYS. Then invite all your female friends to join this event
Blueberry: Im single
Pinapple: its complicated
Raspberry: Im a touch and go woman
Cherry: In a relationship
Banana: Im married
Avocado: Im the “other one”
Strawberry: Cant find the right one
Lemon: Wish i was single
Grape: wants to get married.
Passion fruit: Widowed
Peach:Same sex partnership/Domestic Partners
The bra game reached TV, lets get this one to do the same, and show everyone how powerful women are
That’s a straight copy & paste. Here are my comments to such ridiculousness.
1. First of all, LAME! Seriously, this is lame.
2. If you want to make people aware of something important (like breast cancer) don’t you think intentionally keeping 50% of the audience in the dark is a poor way to communicate? You are suggesting drawing attention to an issue by keeping a secret. Good thinking!
3. Hey do you want to make people aware of breast cancer, or do you want to show everyone how powerful women are? Or do you want to just confuse some guys?Or do you just like games? Or are you 10?
4. Bra colors connected to breast cancer makes sense because, you know, bras hold up those things. But fruit? Unless every single woman is going to write ‘melons’ as their FB status it just doesn’t fit (I really laughed while writing that one).
5. Some of the code is a little personal. I’m not sure I’d want to be an ‘avocado’ publicly, on Facebook, even if it’s true.
The main thing that I’d like to point out is that in the multiple years that I’ve been on Facebook, never has there ever been an invite like this from a guy for a bunch of guys to raise awareness for testicular cancer by putting the brand of your favorite jock strap as a status update (purely hypothetical). This leads me to conclude that if you GIRLS regularly get this kind of invite, Facebook must be a much, much, worse (read:annoying) place to be.
It’s time for a new post complaining about the absurdity of social networking.
Hiding people on Facebook just isn’t cutting it anymore. Everyone is getting so creative with ways to be super annoying. Here’s a proposed list of Facebook spin-offs that would help direct people to the proper portals for their posting tendencies.
1. facebook [baby] – this is where new mothers/fathers who’ve gone insane can blubber with their parents and inlaws about the latest COMPLETELY NORMAL and extremely boring thing their baby just did.
2. facebook [quotes] – can’t think of anything to say? Just copy what someone else said! Or maybe you are one of those people that when reading a book and a sentence pops out at you, you believe you might be the only person in the world to notice and that the rest of the world NEEDS to also read it (through you). This portal would be perfect for you. Oh, I almost forgot – you can straight up spam this portal with a lyric of each an every song you listen to.
3. facebook [hacked] – you can totally click here and see who has been viewing your page! I can’t quite figure out why you want to know who is looking at your page, but I think it’s dang funny that you wanted to know so badly that you now have a virus on your hard drive (and you still don’t know who is viewing your profile – other than the guy who is hacking you).
4. facebook [weather] – *sigh* Nobody, I mean nobody, cares what you think about this weather. Except on facebook [weather]! You can cry, criticize, complain, and celebrate whatever random weather pattern we have and you’ll find others doing the same. exact. thing.
5. facebook [terrible photos] – we all take them. we all post them. Wouldn’t it be great to have a single location to dump them all? The way it is now, you have to sift through 20 blurry iphone pics just to find the cute one of your nephew.
This is a small issue that Facebook users alike have been complaining about for some time. I’m typically ok with change. It’s always difficult to adjust, but it can be rather frustrating if change happens over night and without warning. I always “hear” that FB manages to announce upcoming changes, but the truth is they don’t have a good communication system with the users. A simple message to the inbox or an extra banner with links to info would be helpful. However, the biggest problem I have with it, is that people go bananas with status updates, fan pages, polls, and tests all centered around their problem with the “new” FB. Yeah, it’s annoying but seriously…find something else to do with your time besides making lame attempts to get the “old” FB back. Adapt and stop carrying on. Your words won’t change a thing (ironic statement for this particular blog post) and your life will go on. I promise.
8. The most amazing (and ambiguous) status ever (with a link to prove it).
Would you buy a newspaper in which every headline said something like this: “Best Article Ever. (see below)” or “This is Amazing (see page 13)” or perhaps “You Won’t Believe It!! (keep reading).” That would be a sucky newspaper. Likewise, status updates that contain similar exclamations (equipped with a link) are a waste of virtual space. If you really want people to click on the link you should put a small explanation next to it so they know what they are in for. If the “most amazing thing ever” is about a new sewing machine, I’m going to be upset that you tricked me. When you headline another article/movie/website, please describe it. It is very similar to someone who leaves a voice mail saying, “hey call me back I have something really important to talk to you about.” Lame.
7. Relentless baby updates
I’m all good with updates about children. They do and say funny/cute things and it’s great to hear about them. However, get a life! Seriously, whose status are we talking about here? When you do normal everyday things and it happens to include your kids (i.e. breakfast, sleeping, hanging out, going to school) it doesn’t make the status update less of a boring report on your boring life. If you really want your kids to sound awesome and cute and funny, only report the awesome, cute, and funny stuff. Otherwise, nobody cares. Besides, if I wanted to get your kids’ status update I’ll wait till they have their own FB account and be friends with them.
6. Commenting on the weather
Can you be any less original than commenting on the weather and how it makes you feel? I believe the ratio is that the more clever you (think you) are in commenting about the weather the fewer good ideas you have bouncing around in your head.
5. Twitter jibberish
People link their Facebook and Twitter so they only have to post once and the other updates automatically. I get it. I used to do that myself. But unless you are a tweirdo (get it?) it takes some deciphering to understand what exactly is going on. The problem is that 8 of 10 times I don’t really care and the fact that I have to spend extra time looking at your status update just to determine that I don’t care is insult to injury. Think of social networking as Star Trek. People who use social networking could be considered fans of Star Trek, but the people who get caught up in the #thisorthat, @lamefriend, and RT: blah blah blah are like the uber Trekkies that are learning to speak Klingon. Sure, it shows a greater understanding of the Star Trek universe but at the expense of looking like a dweeb. Keep that gibberish to the Twitter universe.
4. Song quotes
You know what’s not a status? A song lyric. Even if a song lyric resembles a status, it most certainly isn’t YOUR status. It was someone else’s (at one time) and you are merely stealing it. If you want a song lyric in your status, please clarify. “I’m listening to this song” or “I like this” or “…is how I feel.” Stop the plagiarism. You don’t appear artsy for stealing someone else’s art.
3. Causes, and games (via Lucas Motley)
Why did I not join your cause? Be “cause” I don’t care. This little feature was probably invented by the same person who continues to send e-mails claiming that the more you e-mail the more cancer is cured, the more children are fed, and the more African princesses are freed. Joining your cause means that it is just one more thing I have to “hide”. I say one more thing because I am also hiding your game that informs me each time you grow a head of lettuce or shoot a gun. Farming is not a fun thing… ask farmers. The last fifteen years has seen leaps in technology that brought us HD quality video games and your idea of fun is playing a new version of The Oregon Trail. Anyone who is a Facebook gamer might as well trade in their computer for an IBM486, tight roll your jeans, and play cool games on their 5×7 floppy drive while they listen to their record albums on the Victrola. This would also be fortunate because said computer would not be internet accessible and you could no longer send me invites. You would just have to tell me how cool your game is over your crackly rotary phone.
2. Being a ‘fan’
We’re getting into the real nasty stuff with the mention of causes and games. Next is becoming a fan of things. This little exercise seems so arbitrary that it makes me truly believe that people just click things because they are available to click. I know that making a fan page can be advantageous for an organization or team but why does anyone need to become a fan of pizza or the way rain sounds? Do you expect updates from the rain? Is pizza or sunshine going to change and notify you of those changes? Did you click on it because it was there to click on? Yes, yes I believe you did. The worst I’ve seen is people who became fans of “needing a vacation.” Really? You are a fan of being in an emotional/physical state where you need an extended break? You like being stressed? You do realize that it’s not the same as being a fan of going on vacation, right? No, you just click things to click. In fact, I’m almost glad you do. You run up my site visits as long as I post a link (and a non detailed headline) announcing that I’ve made a new blog entry. You just can’t help yourself can you…you monkey!
I could probably devote an entire post to the foolishness that is the Facebook quiz. Nothing makes me question the intelligence and self esteem of my friends more than these quizzes. What, exactly, is the appeal in determining which kitchen appliance best describes you? Why do you need to know how depressed you are? How can knowing which Transformer you most resemble aid you in self-discovery? It’s like our self-obsession has collided with a total lack of self-awareness. Either that or people simply have nothing better to do. I find it somewhat hilarious when someone will take a quiz (which Superhero are you? for example) and then in their comment they put, “this is so true.” Oh guess what…you are nothing like a superhero. That’s what makes them so awesome to read/watch. They are different (super) and most certainly stronger, smarter, and/or more interesting than….you. No matter how many quizzes I hide, people keep creating new ones. I really don’t care if people take the quizzes, but why they end up in my news feed is beyond me.
At least I can say I tried. Twitter, the massively popular [and growing] social utility allows you to tell your friends stuff. In 140 characters or less, people report random moments of their day, a website they enjoy, or even make a quick shout out to a friend, topic, organization or team. Twitter has all kinds of uses and once you learn the somewhat confusing language you can do quite a bit with it. Well, maybe YOU can, but for me, I’m switching it off…possibly for good. I could go on and on about the pitfalls of twitter, but I’m just going to focus on my personal experience. I’m done with this tool and here’s why:
1. It turns out that I just don’t care.
This pretty much goes for the majority of stuff that people post in social networking published statuses. So you just drove to McDonalds…or you are wearing your favorite shirt…or you drank to much…even friends don’t care too much about the small stuff. I feel like there should be a resounding “nobody cares” when you post stuff. It could be a helpful reminder that just because people are “following” you they aren’t really interested in your mundane everyday life. And really, that’s okay. But Tyler, (you might say) don’t you even care about what your close friends are doing? Yes, I do but most of my close friends don’t use Twitter. So all I’m left with is old friends, aquaintances, and people-I-know and although I find them, as people, cool and interesting I don’t really care about the normal day-to-day stuff.
2. Cardinal’s fans.
Of all my friends, in all areas of the country, being fans of all kinds of sports and sports teams, cheering for their team on social networking, none are as obnoxious as St. Louis Cardinals fans. Normally I would approach this issue with a passive aggressive statement but I’m just going to address it straight on. How many bragging posts do you think you can possibly make before you start to be flat out annoying? I mean, I understand rooting for your team, but the constant boasting and goading (remember I live near CHI) is stupid and irritating. RIVALRY right? Maybe if I was a baseball fan, but I’m not. The unfortunate thing is that I actually am interested in what many of my old STL friends are up to, but by the time I’ve cut through the stupid high amounts of posts bragging about every little thing the Cards have done I’m frustrated. Seriously, there are 162 games in the regular season. Save the praises for when something important happens.
3. I don’t need help finding websites.
This is actually one of the features that I like about Twitter. People come across a funny or helpful website and they share it. The problem is that when everyone does it it becomes overload and it defaults into the ‘I don’t care’ category. When I really think about it, I’m perfectly capable of using online tools to find good articles, funny pictures, or other helpful tools. Some people like to post links to their own blog/website and that’s cool. It helps others know that a new post is available to read. However, if you write a blog and I read it and find it interesting I’m probably subscribing to it. Since I’m aleady notified about the new post via Google Reader, I’m not usually relying on Twitter for this function. It’s not a criticism to those that tweet that they have a new blog, its just a statement that Twitter doesn’t help me find it.
4. It’s all on Facebook anyway.
So what if you tweet a blog that I’m NOT subscribed to? What if I really do enjoy following you and the witty posts you make? It’s all good, because nearly everyone I follow links Twitter to Facebook. So I won’t really miss much. Dropping Twitter just means less redundancy and less ‘I don’t care’ attitude.
5. I don’t worship celebrities.
Twitter has celebrities to thank for some of it’s widespread popularity. Most people like celebrities because of the characters they play in the movies (and TV) or because of the music they play. But people are people and just because you you like their work or tv personality doesn’t make their day-to-day mundane activities less mundane. I used to follow Rainn Wilson and after a few months I realized that I liked Dwight (his character on the Office) more than Rainn…only Dwight isn’t real and even if Rainn decided to post as ‘Dwight’ it would be lame. So what’s less interesting that following a celebrity? How about having to read the posts by someone who does and worships them via their own Twitter. Hey! If I wanted to follow someone that you are obsessed with, I will. You don’t have to re-tweet everything they post. It doesn’t make you more interesting.
Verdict: Twitter annoys me. So I’m quitting until things improve (either with Twitter or the people who use it).
What I’ll miss:
It was a pretty good time waster.
What I won’t miss:
Feeling annoyed by people that are my friends and then later feeling rotten for feeling annoyed by my own friends.