Tag Archives: Facebook

How to reject an apology

When you do something wrong, you’re taught to say sorry.

Screaming toddlers are forced into awkward handshakes, colleagues send grovelling emails to avoid mediation with HR and lovers who screw up – or around – keep florists in business all year round.

But what they don’t tell you about apologies – the big secret – is you don’t have to accept them.

homer-simpson-liza-i-never-apologize-lisa-i-am-sorry-but-that-just-the-way-i-am

Oh, sure, the done thing is to graciously smile and absolve your offender, both moving on with your lives as if it never happened. And most of the time, that’s the best thing for all concerned. But there are some misdemeanours that don’t deserve it. It may not be a very 2016 thing to do, but there are times when an apology could, and should, be met with a “fuck you”.

I feel awful having another pop at social media because it’s all anyone ever writes about these days, and it really is brilliant, but it doesn’t half come with some baggage. It keeps you in touch. Embers continue to burn. And, worst of all, it can reunite, long after you’d thought – hoped – you’d never see someone again. It can be grim.

One such subset of “My God it’s you!” that not everyone has to endure, thankfully, is the school bully. Everyone’s experiences at school differ wildly, and you can be sitting in the same form room as someone for five years and never know what’s going through their head, but, for me, there’s something quite distasteful about an old tormentor getting in touch, usually on Facebook. Continue reading How to reject an apology

We are all terrible on social media – we just won’t admit it

We are all very fond of gossiping about what everybody else is up to and how they live their lives. This isn’t new – nosey neighbours have been slagging off the colour of their nearest and not-so-dearest’s net curtains for decades, but now it is so much easier to stick your oar in.

Ever since the very first messageboard opened and newspapers appended that dreadful/amazing “Add comment” feature, we’ve been waxing loud and proud about what everyone else should be doing in a very vague, annoying way. And that’s fine, really.

Social media, however, is different because when it comes to people we know, we don’t really say what we mean. Sure, we will bitch to friends or on Twitter about the stupid stuff people do on social media – photographing lunches, posting endless inspirational quotes, ripping off old memes and passing them off as their own – but rarely do we tackle the offender head on.

Why? Well, it simply wouldn’t do. While commenting on things from a distance is fine, calling somebody out directly for curating their social media in an irritating manner would be bad form. And quite right too.

An anonymous group of mums in Australia have ripped up this unwritten rule book, however, putting poison pen to paper to tell a fellow young parent that her constant baby updates were getting on their nerves. The letter (pictured below) was very direct – they were Australians after all – and extremely unkind and left its recipient reeling. Especially thanks to the lack of signature at the end of this malicious missive.

facebook-sunrise-2

Continue reading We are all terrible on social media – we just won’t admit it

Yesbasicgays proves oversharers don’t care who’s watching – even the bullies

We all have that oversharing friend, don’t we? The one who posts millions of selfies or is always checking in on Facebook, drowning under the weight of their own humblebrags or passive-aggressive attention-seeking.

And only the very kindest of us wouldn’t have a quick sneer with other mutual friends – maybe fire off a bitchy text or a moany DM. “They’re at it again!” And that’s OK, that’s human nature. Unless you’re very careless or downright malicious, nobody finds out and nobody gets hurt.

One opportunistic person wanted to take this process one step further. And so, out of nowhere, appeared a brand new Tumblr – many an internet arsehole’s weapon of choice – dedicated to screenshotting these needy McReadys, and adding a pithy (in their head at least) caption under each one.

yesbasicgays, featured pic after pic of gay men – of all ages – posing in a mirror or at the business end of a selfie stick, all with the same twisted mouth expression as if to say “What? Me? Taking a selfie? Nah, mate!”

Perhaps it had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the creator didn’t have the comedy smarts to carry it off. His or her comments were mind-numbingly obvious and fatally witless, playground-quality jibes drafted in seconds just so the blog itself could quickly get enough pictures on there so the second prong of this fatuous attack could begin – a Twitter account!

Continue reading Yesbasicgays proves oversharers don’t care who’s watching – even the bullies

29 social media truths we’d never say out loud

We say so much on social media – over 500 million tweets are sent in one day alone – but what’s more interesting is what we don’t say.

There are some things we’d probably love to post on social media but, unless we’re feeling extra bitchy, never would. Nor would we admit we’d even think of such a thing.

But I’m on to you. And if you can’t recognise that at least 5 of these cross your mind as you scan your social media faves, you’re in denial. Aren’t we all?

1. “We’ve never met but we have a mutual friend on Facebook so I have been through all your profile pictures and dreamt of you kissing me.”

2. “I only like your drab status updates because I’d quite like to bone you.”

3. “I’m friends with you on Facebook to get to your boyfriend.”

4. “I follow you in case you post pictures of this better-looking boyfriend.”

5. “I post screenshots of the ridiculous things you say in a private group on Facebook and my friends and I laugh ourselves raw at how witless you are.”

6. “You don’t reply to me because you think you’re a rockstar. Newsflash: you tweet for a biscuit brand for a living; I’m only following you because you tweet shirtless selfies on a Saturday morning.”

7. “I like every picture you Instagram of your dinner so that I don’t look like a weirdo who only likes your topless pictures. Although I am that person.” Continue reading 29 social media truths we’d never say out loud

12 things you do that scream “thirsty”

Not sure whether you look like a desperate, cloying nightmare on social media?

Wondering if perhaps you may be going a little over the top when it comes to trying to impress someone on Twitter? We’ve all done it.

Fear not! Here’s the most common things we all do that leave us open to being exposed as massive attention-seekers, along with a thirst mark out of 10, so you can work out just how absolutely tragic you (we) are.

First, the thirst scale:
1. I could really do with a sip of water.
2. I’d probably lick a tomato for moisture.
3. That plastic cup from the vending machine looks like it might have a bit of water in the bottom of it.
4. Throat getting quite scratchy.
5. No, I’m just going to sit next to the watercooler if that’s OK.
6. It’s quite hot in here, isn’t it? Can we open a window?
7. If the air were any drier, it would be Joan Rivers’ diary.
8. I’d be able to sniff out a raindrop from 10 miles away.
9. Make it 100 miles.
10. All I can see, hear, smell and feel is sand and I would kill everyone I love for a dribble of stagnant water out of a verruca sock.

And now, the ‘actions’:

1. Tweeting how ugly you feel

If you’re actually ugly: 3
If you’re mildly unattractive: 4
If you’re quite good looking really, in the right light: 6
If you’re what Grandma would call handsome: 7.5
If you’re incredibly hot: 9.5
Horse-frightener, but with accommodating mates you know will big you up: 10
Jake Gyllenhaal: 11

ugly
Here, please, sip this – it will save us all.

Continue reading 12 things you do that scream “thirsty”

Social media: Form of self-help or enabler of self-doubt?

The 2010s are truly the age of the share, whether Instagramming pictures of your breakfast, Facebooking all your friends about your holiday or tweeting a link to your latest blog. Social media has turned us all into broadcasters, producing special-interest programming on every aspect of our lives and thoughts. We are all our own chat show.

But while we gently mock those who overshare or bore on about their children or their dull jobs or impart half-baked political opinions, social media has also given us a window into people’s lives that we’ve never had before. Total strangers upload pictures of themselves in new outfits, on nights out, in fabulous apartments and occasionally – on Naked Sunday, for example – undressed. And we observe, we judge, we aspire. We envy.

Looking at photos used to be restricted to close friends boring you to tears with glossy 5x4s of their holiday to Alicante (“Don’t get fingermarks on them!”) or your mum embarrassing you with childhood snaps, but now we are all willing autobiographers, snapping every moment and flooding the internet with selfies or snaps of our favourite puddings.

But these pictures are not for personal reminisces in our dotage –we know we have an audience out there, so must look our best. ‘Touching up’ is no longer restricted to those who know their way around Photoshop; all manner of apps and programs are now available to ensure we are always ready for our close-up. Blemishes, wrinkles, freckles and folds be gone – our public awaits!

Have you ever noticed that the most prolific snappers seem to have the most remarkable of everything, bodies especially? Six-packs and pert boobies don’t just belong to Hollywood superstars with home gyms at their disposal. Now we all have personal trainers and workout routines and love to post the results of our labours – followed by a sepia-tinted snap of a garish cocktail that we’re having as a reward, of course.

Sculpted pecs, toned arms and bellies you could bounce a nickel off are de rigueur. Whereas the body beautiful seemed only attainable by celebrities and sportsmen and the odd gym-nut who didn’t have a social life, Joe Public is getting in on the act too. But has it always been like this? Are we taking care of ourselves more because we know someone will be watching? Most of us want to look good on the beach or in the bedroom, but do we need to make sure we’re internet-ready too, all too aware that the next comment or retweet could be a cruel remark not a compliment? Keeping up with Joneses isn’t just about nosing over the neighbour’s fence – the world is our Mr and Mrs Jones.

For everyone else back on Planet Normal, balancing work and personal lives means there’s less time than we’d like to work on our hotness or to furnish that apartment to make sure we have the optimal background for all those pictures of us posing next to a colourful salad.

Musclebound gods clutching pornstar martinis in private members’ bars with a couple of models can both inspire and demotivate. Sharing on social media can very easily divide us into the haves and have-nots; the cans and the cannots. Some decide that if these otherwise utterly ordinary Joes can live the high life and look great, then they can do it too. Let’s hit the gym a little harder; let’s say no to those chips; let’s skip that last pint of ale and have a vodka shot instead. And the circle begins again. For others, however, it’s just another enabler to drive them further into despondency and reaching for that family pack of Doritos. Envy is a carbohydrate.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but that isn’t always the case. Mostly, a snap shared by social media tells only a small part of the story. It’s a freeze-frame, aesthetically buffed and primped, and shared only because the subject or the observer thinks it paints them in a positive light. They are sharing a look, not their minds. As the blemishes are airbrushed out of existence, it takes personality with it.

Before you look down at your own wobbly belly and become wistful or glance around your dingy hovel with charity shop furniture and feel inferior, think about what you don’t actually see – what aren’t they sharing? They look great, sure, but how do they feel? What do they think? Do they think anything at all?

Amid all their fabulousness, they still have a real life, a mass of insecurities, fears and doubts. Their snap-happy, brainless declarations of amazingness are just another form of comfort-eating, but the buzz is temporary and expensive – looks fade fast and martinis don’t come for free. Your mind and your personality, however, are yours alone and, if you’re lucky, will always be with you.

Don’t envy the oversharers their wonderful life; pity them that they have to brag about it to feel good.

Why I believe in internet anonymity – even when you’re calling me a ****

We hear a lot about trolls in the news these days. A sub-class of human previously restricted to the mysterious world of specialist messageboards and forums about dodgy TV shows nobody watches any more, the troll has now been brought front-and-centre, blinking uncertainly in the shimmering light that is Twitter.

The adoption of Twitter to the bosom of the mainstream has finally done for social media what Facebook could not and would not: it’s made it okay to talk to absolute strangers, even if you’re not an ‘internet geek’.

Those who partake in trolling — of which there are very many complex levels from ‘mild ribbing’ to ‘death threat’ with a whole sub-genre of sexism, homophobia and vague paedophilia in between — are often thought to ‘hide’ behind the anonymity the internet affords them. Although IP addresses are freely available to any body who can be bothered looking for them, the fact that it’s usernames and not full Sunday names which accompany each bilious entry allow a freedom that we are in turns proud of and disgusted by.

Every so often, there are calls for procedures to identify internet users to be more transparent and robust. Sites like Google and Facebook have ‘real name only’ policies, with the former recently mulling over whether to force their gaming and reviewing users to also ditch their usernames and display their full ‘Wait until I get you home’ monikers.

There has been applause and outcry in equal measures for this approach to posting on the internet. On one hand we remove the opportunity for trolls to post faceless vitriol with little worry about the effect it has on the object of their ire. I imagine menacing posts about cutting somebody’s throat lose their thrill for the poster if their name is easily retrievable, easing the path to retaliation and/or punishment.

Casual racism and homophobia would, perhaps, shuffle off elsewhere from its natural habitat at the bottom half of articles in the leading newspapers and all would be well again. There is nothing quite so powerful as a barrier to online nastiness as having your full name attached to it, take it from me.

But when crusading against the vicious, masked internet assassins, we forget the other side of anonymity: the ability to speak one’s mind without fear of recrimination. Internet posters don’t just spout random opinions and then take their leave — they engage, interact, reply. They try to bully those who don’t toe their line. People on the internet like to disagree with each other, and things can get very heated. An online pseudonym doesn’t just give you carte-blanche to be as unpleasant as you like; it protects you from those who are.

In a world where a name is instantly Google-able (I hate myself for using such a non-word, and no doubt the trolls will be after me for doing so) and almost everyone ‘has Facebook’, an invisibility cloak of some sorts gives the ‘good’ people of the internet the chance to speak frankly about what they believe in — be it attacking racism, talking about the positives of immigration or impassioned essays on horrifying real-life experiences.

Naysayers claim that as long as you don’t post vitriol on the internet and are totally truthful, you have nothing to worry over when it comes to a removal of internet anonymity. But I disagree. For all those who post on the internet, there are thousands, millions more just watching, like a coiled spring, awaiting outrage. Maybe your musings on the situation on Israel or gay marriage or women’s rights in Saudi Arabia may seem fairly balanced and innocuous, but there’s every chance someone out there doesn’t like what you’re saying, and wants you to know it. Remove your mutual veil of online facelessness and your detractor may find other ways to make life difficult for you. And how will they do that? Well, with your name freely available for all to see, he or she is spoiled for choice. A heavy-handed example, yes, but we shouldn’t encourage the opportunity. For every 100 people who just shrug and think ‘what an A-hole’, there’ll always be one twisted mind willing to go the extra mile in the name of internet justice.

So, internet warriors, do your worst. In some ways, it is almost flattering that someone would take the time out to log in (or in cases of extreme desire to express, sign up!) and type furiously away, their tongue no doubt hanging out of the side of their mouth, just to say that you suck. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I’m hard-pressed to take offence at what humm1ng8ird1876 has to say, even if they’re lobbing outright homophobia my way or calling me a… well, take your pick. After all, they don’t know my name either.

Anonymity is a gilded cage which protects us from each other. Let the key stay lost.