The twenty-first century has brought us so many modern marvels; 3D printing, augmented reality, the social credit system1, e-cigarettes, digital assistants2, e-readers, and social media. Now as I sit here an American Texan sipping on a hot cup of Earl Grey I realized that even though social media was given birth in the early 21st century and we have lived with it many years, there is not a definitive manual for how to be friends on social media.
How to be friends on social media4
I bet you are saying to your self, “But Aaron I already know how to be a friend on social media.” To which I say FOOL your very act of saying you know a thing only exposes your privilege5!
Know The Playing Field
To get a leg up on the current digital culture war you need first know what the weapons of war are. So let’s just go over a few of them before we get into how you can use them. I have provided below a handy dandy6 list.
- Memes: Memes are funny pictures and videos that server as inside jokes that everyone is in on.7
- The Photograph: Nothing really mysterious here.
- The Photograph with Caption: Now you got the makings of some good social posts.8
- Screenshots: Screenshots help provide anything you are talking about with legitimacy while keeping you from having to do the hard work of telling the truth.9
- Videos: They are super addicting LOOK AT THIS CAT SLEEPING.
- Gotcha Questions: I mean when did you stop beating your wife?
- Gotcha Metaphors: Did you hear someone ate an apple once and then years later they died. So I hear you are so irresponsible that you are feeding your kids apples.
- Share This or Else: These tend to be some combination of the above tools with an added message of if you don’t share or like this then you are somehow wrong or imbibing an unwanted characteristic11.
Know the battlegrounds
Now that we have an armory full of things that we can use to communicate13 with our “friends”. Now we just need to know where to do it14. The truth is that the rules are basically the same everywhere.
Imagine a place where you are suddenly hooked into every one of your acquaintances’ random thoughts. It’s like everyone became ADD and then it was broadcast out to everyone. Then when this very gaudy monument to the human condition16 goes the way you would expect a soup of every stray thought of the human race might go, you sprinkle in some fact-checkers17, community managers18, politicians19, and some very clear terms of service; what you end up with is a crafting website that occasionally pumps into your ocular nerve a therapeutic dose of nihilism. Which we all know we need.
Now imagine a party except the party is also a war where no one can die but everyone can feel pain. Like a WWII battleground set to dubstep. Now also imagine everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs. Now also imagine there is a man-baby who rules over this hellscape and is constantly whining bout people’s feelings getting hurt. Now also imagine that this same man-baby is drinking a goblet of entrails.21
The Art of The Online Friendship22
Now that we have tools for friendliness and a place to be friends we need to only know how to be friends. I bet you are thinking “Aaron, I already know how to be friendly Bambie taught me if I don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all!” Well, you would be wrong and Bambie was probably a racist23. Let’s go over a few standard interactions online.
Interaction One – The News Story
Scenario: Bobby has posted a news story casting his preferred political affiliation in a good light. You are slightly opposite of Bobby’s point of view. Sure there is somethings you agree on but you do find his political affiliation undesirable. You like Bobby he has always been nice to you at work. What do you do?
Answer: Bobby is the problem with this country. I mean how can half of the country think like him. We would be better off if he was converted and if he can’t be converted then death is the only option. The first step is to go to the competing news source and post the same article just spun to put Bobby’s article in a bad light. Then ask Bobby this “How can you think this? You have always been so nice in person.”
One of two things will happen. Bobby will fight back, which opens him up for the coup d’etat. See by fighting back Bobby has proven himself to be a non-person and as his friend, the only right thing to do is treat him as such. You are now free to vent your full rage at him because you are not hurting a person so it is okay. Then later you can try and get him fired at work. Maybe suggest his political views make you uncomfortable or something.
Bobby might recant. In which case you can never forgive him for his past political views. Demand that he kneel before your moral prowess castigateing him. Screenshot the conversation and use it as a post to further prove your political views and then try to get him fired at work. It is what friends would do for one another.
Interaction Two – The Supporter
Scenario: Bobby says he supports something normal like eating toast with cream cheese while watching Seinfeld. In another post, he puts forward an “opinion” that is not your opinion.
Answer: First off Sienfield has a history or racism and sexism and the fact that Bobby likes it says a lot about him. Secondly, toast is brown and cream cheese is white. You guessed it friend Bobby is a white supremacist. This means that in his other comment where he had “opinions” no matter how many facts or calm, respectful, enriching discussion you could have it is time to punch the nazi. Practice optimal friendship by sharing his post with your friends24 network and allowing them to pile on their friendship as well.
Once Bobby has been sufficiently silenced report him to Facebook or your chosen social network and dox25 him. That way he can be hunted and purified in the flames of your social justice. There is no actual blood to be had here but if there were you could most assuredly bathe in it while ruminating how good of a friend you are.
Interaction Three – Honest Discussion
Answer: I would give you some social media advice here but I think the proper course of action is clear. Bobby has to be canceled29. Honestly, he probably needs to die but if you do your friendliness the right way the mob might kill him for you[^suicide].
You Can Definitely Read Their Mind
Before I release30 you, I wanted to give you one last word of advice and encouragement. I know that often you have read an email or a text message and gotten the tone of that message completely wrong. However, online, on social media, you can read others’ minds. Infer, attribute, and be offended by whatever you feel you should be. You have no need to ever try and determine someone’s intent, tone, or to listen and try to understand their point of view. Giving people the benefit of a doubt is not friendliness it is violence, plain and simple. Their thoughts, feelings, and opinions assail your very being. Never you mind that they actually meant that statement as a compliment or even thought highly enough of you to state what they thought to you. If you feel even the slightest twinge of offense you are in the right!
This concludes this very helpful guide to being a friend on social media. Remember you only are a friend to someone if you are willing to pummel their very existence into dust.
- Digital SS.↩
- Buji government/corporate surveillance systems.↩
- Hey mom!↩
- Get your chicken blood ready we are probably going to need it for this one.↩
- or how you are a liberal, leftist, Trump supporter, science denier, grandmaw hatter, homophobic, gender fluid, baby killer, etc. Please enter whatever offensive generalization you need so that I sound like I know what I am talking about. I mean really we all kind of suck nowadays and I can’t be expected to write the whole article myself.↩
- They can also make you seem clever while really you are just very very very very very shallow. I mean very very very very very shallow and your ideas are shallow as well. Did I mention you are shallow?↩
- Whoops, that one should have been in a footnote.↩
- Maybe, probably, no doubt here, no sir. I love the news! They want what is best for me.↩
- One share = AMEN and always remember silence is violence↩
- Going to have to read up on this one yourself butter cup↩
- The killing ground with the freshest blood.↩
- A mental illness we can all enjoy.↩
- Monument to the human race’s ability to be just the worst. I mean if you ever needed any evidence to back up the Christian assertion that everyone has sinned and is inherently bad you need not look any further.↩
- Thought Police↩
- Marxist disintigrationists↩
- Powerful lairs↩
- There is no god here. Only PAINNNNNNNNNNNN bites lip↩
- Once again probably should have been a footnote but Twitter really is the worst place online.↩
- The first thing to know about online interaction is that now that everyone is online a few things are true. The first is that you can see into the hearts of men. Never you mind a person barely knows their own motivations you definitely know why someone is saying or doing things. Two everyone except you is a racist. Three everyone is wrong and has a point of view that is probably evil if they do not agree with yours.↩
- If that joke caused your brain to secrete the question “Is there a secret history to Bambi?” Then you are probably part of the problem.↩
- Echo Chamber↩
- Release all his personal information↩
- or some other dribble that has been spouted by mainstream media. Maybe Putin gave Trump herpes or Brian Stelter is sleeping with a body pillow of Glenn Beck or there are actually 57 genders (how dare they limit the number of genders to just 57) or they are science denier for not immediately buying into global warming or global cooling, or climate change (which sounds like weather) or that there are more than two genders or that everyone on the left is a Marxist (I know this one is a joke but sometimes I wonder) or that everyone on the right is an amoral capitalist (I know this one is a joke too but I wonder) or that .… you know what this footnote is depressing me and I do this for fun.↩
- That Mother $#^#@#!↩
- Stop writing this is too painful! I know it is just satire but PEOPLE ACTUALLY DO THIS!↩
- In the dystopia nightmare novel of 1984 (aspects of which are actually part of our society. For some reason this has not been a huge red flag for most people) they called it vaporizing. Before the “cancel” tag it was called good old character assassination.
[^suicide] or he might kill himself. Suicide is not funny, at all not even a little bit. Which is why in a rare moment when I am trying to weave something satirical I have to say. This canceling and character assassination our culture has come to revel in is true evil. Plain and simple. I will now return you to your regularly scheduled whimsy.↩
- my infernal child.↩