Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vaguebooking and Other Foibles of the Technological Age

Timing is everything.  Mere days after I relinquished my title of Queen of Passive-Aggressiveness,  I found the ultimate PA tool: vaguebooking.

I discovered it, as I discover all beauty and truth, on Facebook.  (For the uninitiated, Facebook is a website in which you can acquire "friends" and see what they are up to via "status updates" which are posted to their "wall."  You can also play about 10,000 games, which only cost you your time and dignity.)

Status updates can be trivial ("On my way to get pizza, hope the wait isn't long!") or thought-provoking ("Wondering what clouds think we look like?") or snarky and judgmental ("Just saw a woman on the subway in lime-green stretch pants.  Hello, 1987 calling!")  None of these qualifies as vaguebooking.  These updates are all examples of completely appropriate Facebooking.

Vaguebooking, on the other hand, is the posting of a deliberately vague message to create, reignite, or escalate drama.  Some examples:

"Wonders why all men are such jerks."

"Is very upset at something a so-called friend said today."

"Thinks someone needs to get over herself and just have it lanced."

"Wonders, why me?"

"Has had enough and is just going to give up."

"Thinks that was hilarious!"

"Knows that the rest of the world will just have to grow up.  I give up.  You win."

If the responses are all, "Who?"  "What happened?"  "Oh, no, what are you talking about?" then you have a vaguebook.  Vaguebooking is odious, awful, and should be punishable by death.

I admit my reaction to vaguebooking might be a little extreme.  I have been guilty before of innocently vaguebooking; I was not trying to send a message to anyone, I was legitimately saying something about society at large, but it could have been interpreted as vaguebooking, and the drama that followed has made me extremely leery of ever posting a vague status update again.

Facebook, Twitter, and (I imagine) MySpace have opened our lives to so much additional drama, it's ridiculous.  Whatever happened to the old days, of "dignity" (secrecy) and "decorum" (shame)?  Nowadays, it isn't unusual to learn on Facebook about your teenage niece's unplanned pregnancy, your former student's new tattoo, or your uncle's new boyfriend (surprise!).

The purpose of vaguebooking is usually one of two things: to provoke a response in a desperate plea for attention, or to provide some sort of "clique-ey" feeling to one's wall.  One of those might look like this:

Mildred is "still laughing about last night!"

Jose comments: "OMGoodness, chica, I bet you are!"

Sue comments: "Do you still have the balloon?"

Mildred comments: "It popped!"

Jose comments: "LOL!"

Sue comments: "ROTFLOL!"

Mike comments: "What are you talking about?"

Mildred comments: "You had to be there!"

And I haven't even gotten to the political status updates.

So, my friends, my new rules of Facebook:

1. Never, ever post a status update that could ever be interpreted as anything other than a completely factual statement.

2. Never, ever comment on someone else's status if I don't know exactly what it is about.

3. Never, ever, ever comment on a political status unless I agree with it.  (Which means, of course, that I almost never comment on them.  I live in Texas.)

By following these three rules, I have learned to get along just fine on Facebook.  It's just like going to a party.

I'm in the back room playing video games.


Kristina P. said...

Yes, yes, yes! I had a friend who was NOTORIOUS for this. Drove me crazy!

Denise said...

Oh, I HATE this! It drives me crazy! I deliberately don't reply, just as my own form of passive-aggressive behavior.

Jane Doe: "wishes some people would just grow up."

Crickets: "chirp"

I refuse to rise to the bait.