Loved this article from the Telegraph this week! So here it is (well most of it, some extracts have been removed). Written by Alex Proud. I am definitely guilty of some of these annoying things people do online, very funny!
Last week the French police warned parents not to post pictures of their kids on social media. France, you see, has very stringent privacy laws and when les enfants grow up, they could conceivably sue mama et papa for violating their privacy.
As often when you see social media filtering through another culture’s legal rubric, my reaction to this is simply that it’s interesting. Sure, taking your folks to court over baby pictures on Instagram might seem a bit silly, but you only have to look at how many pictures Kim Kardashian posts of her kids to see there might be something in it.
Anyway, all this got me thinking about the worst social media crimes people commit. Here I’m not going into areas like bullying and encouraging anorexia, which we know are nasty. Rather, I’m offering a list of the stupid, self-defeating, dumb-as-a-stump things people do online.
Naturally this comes with a caveat that I may have done many of these things myself. Because, like everyone else, if you look back far enough on my timeline, you’ll discover I’m a total hypocrite.
1. Ruining the Moment to Post the Moment
We’ve gone from participating in life to being photojournalists reporting on our own lives. We’re so busy recording life, we no longer experience it.
You go for a walk in the countryside. Then you take 50 posed photos of you and your friends standing next to trees before frantically climbing the nearest hill to find a signal so you can post the stupid things to TwitterFaceBookInstagram.
The reason you don’t feel relaxed afterwards is because you haven’t been for a walk. You’ve been for a two hour content creation session whose subject happens to be the countryside. And you. You. You. You.
Oh yes, and it’s dangerous: selfies killed more people than sharks in 2015.
2. Photos of food
You’re in a restaurant, possibly sitting opposite someone you might like to have sex with later. So why are you taking badly composed photos of your starter, with a view to tweeting them alongside insightful comments like, “Carpaccio. #NomNomNom”?
Your date hates you and your flash annoys everyone else in the restaurant. I hate you and I don’t even know you. Put your iPhone away. It’s dinner for two, not reportage.
3. Celebrity Death Tweets
Seriously, when did we become such a nation of emotional incontinents?
OK, it’s not fashionable to say this, but David Bowie didn’t really change your life. Harper Lee didn’t make you the person you were today. Terry Pratchett didn’t speak to you. The people who did all of these things were your parents and your close friends.
The journalist Camilla Long managed to cause a huge online ruckus when she told Bowie fans to “man the f*** up” and stop their horrible virtue-signalling-grief-posting. She’s right: we need to rediscover our stiff upper lips and save our tears for people who we actually know.
Je ne suis pas Charlie. Kony is not a product. Posting a video of the #icebucketchallenge doesn’t make you a philanthropist.
I have lost count of the number of good causes and movements that celebrities and my friends have tweeted about – and I don’t remember any of them. Seriously, if you want to change the world, go out and vote, work for a charity or attend a local bloody council meeting. If you want to participate meaningfully in democracy, you might have to put your smartphone away.
To be fair, a lot of celebrities who tweet about causes actually do this (including Leonardo DiCaprio and Emma Watson). So make like the nice celebrities and get up off your butt.
5. Offline familiarity
“Alex! Good to see you man, how you are you doing?” says the guy who I just can’t place. So I do that awful thing where I say, “Great – so, how are…YOU? How’ve you been….MATE?“
First I feel really bad that I can’t remember the person. Next I wonder if I have early-onset Alzheimer’s. Finally the penny drops. The person follows me on social media and if we’ve interacted at all, it’s literally four typed words.
Anyway, if the extent of our acquaintance is a short exchange on Twitter six months ago, please please, just introduce yourself. It’s a lot less awkward.
Interestingly this does give me a small insight into what it must be like to be a celebrity – and why most of them go mad.
6. Retweeting Libels
‘That Lord McAlpine? Looks like a bit of wrong ‘un, doesn’t he?’ This, combined with a Newsnight report which, wrongly as it turned out, linked “a senior Conservative” to abuse claims, was all it took for numerous imbeciles to label the Tory peer a paedo on Twitter.
The trouble is, he wasn’t. He was innocent and the Twitterati, many of whom really should have known better, gleefully repeated the horrible smears. McAlpine, to his great credit, didn’t shrug it off. He sued a number of the prominent Tweeters, notably Sally Bercow and Alan Davies, for libel and won. He then donated the money to Children In Need.
For once I found myself cheering a British libel verdict.
7. Oddball Views
We all know the reason that there are so many online trolls and bullies is that social media lifts the normal constraints that might stop you from telling me I deserve to die in a house fire if we disagreed on Brexit in a pub. But a milder version of this is discovering that your friends have all sorts of strange, fringey political views that they probably wouldn’t air over dinner.
It’s uncomfortable watching your mates post stuff by UKIP or Men’s Rights Activists or ultra-feminists or Donald Trump or whoever (it’s even uncomfortable watching Piers Morgan tweet about what a great bloke the Donald is). And it has made me realise how much I like the moderating effect of established social norms and the sense of shame physical proximity engenders.
8. Endless Sponsorship Requests
I’m pretty sure I’ve sponsored a lifetime’s worth of London Marathons and climbs of Kilimanjaro and cycle rides across Cuba over the last three years.
And you know what, if you want to climb a big mountain or go on a cool activity holiday, great, do it, but do it for yourself, not charity. Then, if you’re still feeling guilty and entitled, give some money to charity when you get home.
Endlessly asking your friends to sponsor your adventures on social media is just app-enabled middle-class chugging with a dash of smugness.
So, a new rule. Yes, I’ll consider sponsoring you. But only if you ask me to my face.
9. Pictures of kids
OK, OK, I get it. You’ve finally made peace with the fact that you’re not going to be a great novelist or tennis player or actor and so you’re going to be the best mum or dad in the world. Good for you. But I don’t want to see your kids on Instagram.
For starters, babies are ugly and all of them look the same, which is to say, like a cross between a newborn hamster and ET. So tweet a birth announcement and then wait five years. And then keep waiting.
Why? Well, remember how, back in the 90s, you used to laugh at people who sent round those awful Christmas letters with boastful pictures of their amazing kids? If you tweet about your kids, that’s what you’re making your timeline into. Every single day.
And, yes, I know celebrities like the Kardashians do it. But if Kim is your parenting guru, you have bigger problems than social media addiction.
10. Breaking Up on Social Media
Just because Chris Brown breaks up with his special ladies on Twitter doesn’t mean you should too. The same is true about falling in love. Or anything that involves bodily fluids and emotions.
In my research for this piece, I managed to find an Australian artist couple called Sally Mustang and Mitch Gobel who Instagram their entire sex lives along with “tasteful” erotic photos. They have 180,000 followers and seem to make a pretty good living as Bohemian artists. It’s terrifying. I’m no shrinking violet but it’s a level of exhibitionism I cannot comprehend. It makes me feel like an utterly uptight grown-up. It makes me feel like people who fought in World War II felt about the hippies.
And worst of all, it makes me feel totally OK about feeling these things.
The full article can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/the-ten-most-infuriating-things-people-do-online/