Social etiquette keeps getting laxer as time goes on, and overall that's a good thing! I don't think we need a special little fork just for eating salad, but I do think we should all wear pants to Walmart.
You see, those are the two ends of the etiquette scale. As our rules for interacting with each other in public get more relaxed and new technology becomes more important in our daily lives, there are a few things we should keep in mind, such as ...
There's a distasteful trend of celebrities and social media influencers using Instagram thirst traps to let everyone know they've survived a natural disaster. "Hey guys, just wanted to tell you the tornado that tragically struck my hometown last week did not affect my pristine ass. My ass, which is nothing but flawless gluteal geometry, remains intact and is impervious to tornadoes. Here's a picture of my ass (just so you're aware). You see, many unfortunate asses were annihilated by the tornado, but as evidenced by this picture, my ass is made of pilates and rebar. In fact, my ass is perhaps even more powerful than ever before, due to all that sprint-screaming. Anyway, #blessedass."
Look, sometimes I want to say something terrible on Twitter like, "Tom Hanks seems just okay." If I don't tag Tom Hanks, I for sure don't want someone to reply "Lol @tomhanks what do you think?" If I wanted Tom Hanks to know my deepest, darkest thoughts on how I find him B- at best, I would have tagged him in the post myself like a normal person.
The above example is the very definition of snitch tagging. Some people think it's cute and impish to try and draw celebrities into mundane conversations about them. Some celebrities are even into that! If you say "Chrissy Teigen," three times into your timeline, she will appear like Bloody Mary.
Snitch tagging often becomes a problem when you mention that Wilford Brimley sucked in Cocoon, and one of your idiot friends tags Wilford Brimley. No one wants Wilford Brimley showing up at their house with a hearty can of sugar-free whoop-ass! We've all been there!
Vaguebooking is the practice of posting a vague, usually mean statement on Facebook (or some other social media platform) but not attaching it to any specific person. For example, if Batman were going to vaguebook about The Joker it would sound something like, "I just HATE when SOMEONE in a dumbshit clown outfit thinks it's cool to blow up Ace Chemicals on a Friday when the rest of us are out there trying to get LAID."
The only time it's acceptable to recline on airplane seats is if the ghoul in front of you has already done it. If the literal Babadook in front of you has reclined their seat and your only option is to lick their headrest for the remainder of your flight, you've got to do what you've got to do. You might recall last April there was a big fuss over a man punching the back of a woman's airplane seat after she reclined. Obviously, that behavior is completely unacceptable, but it became a heated public debate because everyone hates people who recline in airplane seats.
Or, if you do like old Instagram posts, please understand that it means you're horny. This is some complex social media etiquette, so just let me be The Emily Post of Horniness for a second.
There is a time when it's acceptable to go back and like old Instagram posts, and that time is 45 minutes after you first start following each other. Past that point, it's assumed that you've seen all of the hot selfies your new friend has to offer and you won't be randomly scrolling through their timeline on a Saturday unless it's for horny reasons.
If you don't believe me, just Google "liking old Instagram posts" and behold all of the teens screaming WHAT DOES THIS MEAN into the void. You're throwing the person whose selfie you've liked into an existential crisis because, while it's nigh universally acknowledged that This Is A Horny Thing, the innocent, doe-eyed ingenue of a liker might not know the rule. So then it becomes a game of "Are they horny?" or "Are they merely a time traveler from 1803?" And according to the rules of Horny Instagram, this is known as The Most Dangerous Game.
It's 2020, people take nude photos of themselves. Let's just be cool about it, you guys. I've never felt such horrible, cold, panic as the time I handed my Grandma my phone to show her a picture of my dog. She swiped like it was no big deal. I didn't have anything compromising on my phone at the time, but all of my blood still stopped circulating and my body became a solid mass of panic.
Not swiping is common decency. Cellphones are an extremely private thing now. Think of all of the personal information you have stored in your phone: passwords, credit card information, access to your email, and all of your social media accounts. When someone lets you hold their phone, it's the same level of intimacy as letting you into their house. (Scrolling on their phone, meanwhile, is like jumping through a glass sliding door and axe-kicking their sink.)
You know why this is bad. Dear John letters have always been shady, but a Dear John text is even worse. As a general life rule, you shouldn't dump someone using the same method a pizza place would use to deliver a coupon code.
I don't care how moving of a message you compose. You could write the modern version of "She Walks In Beauty," and you still should have at least called the person you're breaking up with. Sending a text is cold and impersonal, no matter what you say, the person receiving it is going to hear, "Thank you for the access to your orifices, but I've decided to go in another direction."
There are three levels of social media friendship I adhere to. If I follow someone of Twitter, I don't know them that well but think they're funny and am aware they exist. If I let them follow me on Instagram, I like them enough to see the carefully curated pictures of myself I'm willing to share with strangers I'm pretty sure won't kill me. If I let someone follow me on Facebook, it's the ultimate form of online friendship for me, because it means I'll let them see the godawful pictures I can't stop my family from putting online.
"Hey, maybe ask before you tag me" is not a realistic request for aunts on Facebook, so if you can make it onto my friends list you get to see all of the classics from "white dress I had no idea made me look like Moby Dick's long-lost sister" to "the worst haircut I ever had" (everyone said I looked like a rock star, but that rock star was 1981 Paul McCartney). All of these are out there now, not by my choice. Don't be like my family.
"Hey, it's me, the most important person on earth, hope you like Ginuwine, because you're listening to 'Pony' now, whether you like it or not" is what you're saying when you do this. And I can't even pretend to understand the people who do this! My only guess is that there's some kind of invisible Twilight Zone reality-horse-blinder device on them.
If you're aware that other people who maybe don't want to hear "Pony" exist, then why would you force it on them? You can buy earbuds online for six dollars now. Seriously, don't ruin "Pony" for anybody. What sort of monster are you?
Personally, I leave the read receipts on with the sole intention of being sassy. Sometimes I want to send a bold message that yes, I did read your text and my response is the echo of an empty auditorium.
Is this terrible? Yes. Is it fun? Also yes. This is one of the few instances where technology has created a way to be a jerk that I find extremely satisfying. There's no better response to a middling dad joke than the gutting pain of a "Read 11:17 AM" plus dead silence. It's a total asshole move. Use it wisely!
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