Your online presence and social interactions shape people’s perception of you. Not a day goes by when I fail to be annoyed by someone I ACTUALLY LIKE posting crap I DO NOT LIKE on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever. It’s never been easier to alienate friends without even being in their presence. Here’s 12 Do’s and Don’ts of navigating social media without looking like a massive beezy.
DO: Enthuse about cool events or places you’ve gone to.
By cool, I don’t mean “generic restaurant” or “your cubicle.” I mean a fantastic concert or Mount Rushmore. Monuments are a yes. The dog park next to your apartment is a no. Think of it this way: only post about places or events that, were positions reversed, would give you major FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out.
DON’T: Document your food.
I’m only going to say this once and I’m really sorry to be the bearer of bad news: No one cares that much about what you eat. They’re pretending to, because they want to be nice, but really no one is terribly interested in what goes in and out of your intestines. If you MUST photograph food, only do it rarely and when there really is a truly STUPENDOUS offering to your palate. All pizza looks good. Enough of the pizza. And don’t even get me started on kale smoothies/the unfortunately ubiquitous #healthyissexy tag for gross health food you’re humble bragging about eating. No one enjoys wheat grass or flaxseeds that much. NO ONE.
DO: Support your friends.
If your friend wrote, created, or started anything interesting or worthwhile, by all means show love by publicly praising their productivity. Giving your biffle or even friendly acquaintance public snaps for success not only boosts their profile, but gives you an aura of selflessness. It’s a modern method of living by the golden rule.
DON’T: Cause whore.
Shoving disturbing images of starving dogs/children in the faces of your peers is a thinly veiled attempt to shock out a reaction. Using the suffering of strangers to manipulate your image and evoke a strong reaction is deeply unsavory. “Raising awareness” is not helping. Donating to charity or volunteering is helping. Unless you are personally involved in providing aid to those poor people, save the horror show.
DO: Make fun of yourself.
Self-depreciating humor never goes out of style. There are two kinds of people: Those who scramble to hide each and every minor flaw, and those who can acknowledge their shortcomings and laugh at them. When you make fun of yourself, you realize that those tiny shortcomings, weird quirks, or strange phobias are actually part of what makes you interesting and likable to others. No one likes a perfect bitch, but everyone loves a funny one.
DON’T: Document drug use.
No one likes a flamboyant druggie, even druggies. If you’re going to imbibe, fine, but don’t post evidence of illegal activity on the internet. That is just common sense. Weed might be legal in California, but posting pics of that blunt is impressing no one while offending or irritating other, blunt-less people. Odds are someone you wouldn’t do drugs around will see that picture and forever associate you with criminal activity. A couple “likes” from your homies just ain’t worth the potential for dramz and disapproval.
DO: Stand up for what’s right.
If you witness police brutality, homophobia, or just extraordinary rudeness, by all means vent about it online. HOWEVER, if you’re going to preach it, you better practice it. If you witness something wrong, do nothing, and then prattle virtuously on the inter-webs, your priorities are out of whack and should be examined stat. I’m not saying don’t talk about it, be about it; I’m saying, if you’re going to talk about it, you better be about it.
DON’T: Discuss politics, money, or religion.
“Never discuss politics, money, or religion at the dinner table” is an old Southern proverb my Father repeated regularly. In 2014, we spend more time in discussion online than at an actual table. Think of the internet as your dinner table and take this snippet of wisdom to heart. No matter how right you are (aren’t we all?), someone disagrees with you, someone else doesn’t know what you’re talking about, and someone else dislikes your phrasing. You will annoy and potentially alienate those people.
DO: Crowdsource suggestions.
Need a great web-designer or colorist? Want to shop for discount designer jeans? By all means, crowd source your social networks. Personal recommendations bear more weight than ADs, and we all know someone FANTASTIC at their job. Especially in LA, it’s all about who you know, so go ahead and make use of who you know! Acceptable crowdsourcing comes with a major caveat: only ask questions worthy and relevant to others. Should I go to the store? Should I go blonde? Should I get my cat shaved? Should I try eating vegan? These things are
a. of no interest to anyone but yourself
b. easy/best decided on your own
c. probably not decisions that will be affected by a status comment
If you’re craving human interaction, try leaving the house.
DON’T: Throw yourself a cyber pity party.
Sad? Devastated? Lonely? Rejected? Neglected? Welcome to the human race. Whining is never sexy, and all you’re accomplishing by describing woes and hardship to the world is reminding the world that you are no fun. What you share about your life shapes people’s perception of you. Endlessly moaning about the crap that is your life makes you look at best desperate and at worst tragic. Plus, why would anyone want to part of a crap life? We all have crap to deal with. Deal with it. Quietly.
DO: Show modest pride in your accomplishments.
Succeeding is super duper hard. Every day I slap on stilettos, pour myself into a pair of weathered designer jeans, and wistfully wonder if I might ever be re-incarnated as a pampered house cat. In the ever-wise words of Lily Allen’s latest modest single, “It’s Hard Out There For A Bitch.” So, bitch, if you’re winning, take a moment to savor the sensation and share that positivity with the world. Well-earned envy is, in my humble opinion, one of the sweetest sensations.