I’m 26 years old. It is safe to assume that the majority of the people with whom I associate are of the same age and/or slightly older. We have had the pleasure of enjoying the internet for the majority of adolescence and young adulthood since Al Gore invented it way back in 1999. We have used it to apply to college, do research for term papers, shop for the perfect outfit, stalk anyone and everyone on facebook (act like you don’t do it, go ahead), apply for jobs and, now, keep in touch with those we hold near and dear to us while we slave away at said job which was originally found on the good ole net.
Now, as a result of all these years spent creeping around the interwebs, I feel as though a proper “Internet Decorum” has been established amongst myself and my peers. A set of understood rules for “acceptable” behaviors, made most useful since the onslaught of social networking. These should be obvious, but for some reason, people seem confused. I’d like to elaborate on some of my favorites out loud for those who have missed the memo:
1. “The Crowded Room” Test
I scroll through facebook and twitter and am really amazed by some of the things that people in their late twenties, early thirties (and higher) find acceptable to share with the entire world. Some examples:
“Ugh I am sooooo drunk right now!!! Hahahahahah”
“My boyfriend is SUCH AN A$$HOLE. WTF”
“Wah I hate my life.”
None of these would be acceptable to announce to a crowded room of people you barely know. When people trash their significant other/announce intoxication levels/whine incessantly, they come off as desperate and annoying. I feel embarrassed for the internet “over-sharers” out there. Before you hit “post,” ask yourself “Would I announce this in a crowded room? And would doing that be socially acceptable?” Think THEN act.
2. Trash Your Boss Dot Com
Everything on the internet is searchable. Everything. I pride myself on my ability to locate hilarious graphics and obscure movie references in mere seconds. What baffles me is the brazen behavior of those who think it’s a-okay to whine about their jobs, bosses, former jobs and co-workers online, forgetting that even my 65 year old mother knows how to google. I have seen this from teachers, corporate workers and generic food waitress.
I get it. Work sucks. No one inherently wants to do it, but we have to. Why do you think that crying about it will make it stop? And why do you think that your boss is such an idiot that he/she won’t find your hateful post-shift rant? Or that another co-worker doesn’t plan on throwing you under the bus? And if you ever plan on getting a positive reference from a former job, quit trashing that former employer.
If you’re a disgruntled worker, either quit your job and do something you love, or have some class and shut it.
3. SOMEONE TELL ME HOW AWESOME I AM
Social networking has now become a platform for those who want a massive, digital pat on the back. I can say that I truly am happy for those who are getting married, going to school, having a baby, applying for jobs, making money; generally living the dream. Good for you. I’m proud you put your Big Girl Pants on and started doing things. PLEASE STOP ANNOUNCING IT ONLINE.
“Wedding flowers are soooooo expensive. UGH!” Poor you. My apologies that you found the man of your dreams, he bought you a ring and now you have the AWFUL responsibility of planning a wedding. The horror. We get it. You’re engaged. Stop reminding us.
“Just ran four miles on the tredmill! SOOO Tired” Wow you’re like an OLYMPIAN. Nicely done! Omg you look SO SKINNY. Are you done fishing for compliments yet? Because I am super-tired of watching you cast your line.
If you’re awesome and you know it, please stop asking the internet for approval.
These are only a few of suggestions I have to reverse the degradation of social networking etiquette. Let’s pull it together and exude some positive energy onto the ‘net. If it doesn’t improve, I may be forced to delete my facebook profile. (Yeah , ok. )
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