When social media gets awkward
It’s brutal out there
Messages that go un-replied, ignored attempts at tinder flirting, accidentally ‘pinging’ your crush on BBM back in 2008 or whatever. All examples of awkward social media encounters. And all horribly obvious and clichéd.
Social media awkwardness is so, so much more than this. It rears its ugly head on a daily basis, in the most commonplace and apparently innocent of situations, and it’s only appropriate that someone finally broke convention and started talking about it. These are all the times when social media gets awkward.
Someone leaves a ‘thumbs up’ on a Facebook conversation. It might be an easy way to acknowledge that you’ve read a message, or even to remind the recipient that you’re still alive, but nothing has ever said ‘I don’t give less of a fuck’ than one of those foreboding blue thumbs.
Facebook doesn’t let the awkwardness end there however, allowing us to actually choose the size of the ridiculous hand signal. A small thumbs up is simply a cruel dismissal. Alternatively, a really huge thumbs up says either a) I’m drunk or b) that was a total accident and actually really embarrassing given the context and that we don’t really know each other.
Someone leaves the conversation. You know the drill – it’s a happy, fun and frivolous Facebook conversation but there’s that one person who has either been suspiciously quiet for a while, or has got angry about something recently on the chat. They then leave the conversation.
You know they’ve left the conversation because Facebook goes out of its way to notify you. It’s the social media equivalent of a door slam, and you can safely deduce that in that moment, shit just got awkward. Is usually followed by a sheepish silence on behalf of the other conversation participants.
Someone uses an exclamation mark non-ironically. I’m all for keenness, I really am, but it is honestly quite remarkable how a punctuation mark manages to be so staggeringly insincere, hollow and irritating all at once. They have no place in conversation that isn’t a piss-take, a quote, or a parody of something else. Don’t do it! (See. That was awkward.)
Someone makes an indirect tweet. Ah Twitter, the aggression outlet for today’s youth/celebrities/lonely middle-aged people. People rarely say explicitly what they think on Twitter because that would be boring – you might as well send a text.
It’s far more effective to tweet about a startlingly specific situation, knowing full well that the subject will come across this unsubtle display of passive aggression. This is amplified if they are a celebrity, or alternatively if they end the tweet with the line “you know who you are.”
Someone changes their relationship status. Invariably more so if they go from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’. People finding love is boring, but the Facebook manifestation of people breaking up is officially the second most awkward social media activity. The first most awkward is of course the setting of relationship status to ‘it’s complicated’. Once the tool of year 8s attempting to look meaningful and complex, its use now simply screams ‘I’m in denial.’
There you have it. If you didn’t think these things were awkward before, you probably will now. Sorry. To alleviate said social media awkwardness, employ a sticker of your choice. Some safe bets include pusheens, or the fat yellow rabbit. Steer clear of the wrestler and the fish in a suit. They will probably only increase tension.