As a few of you have noticed, I've recently rejoined the world of social networking. For those of you who haven't, you can check out my archive of self-nudes on Facebook here or my 140-character ASCII-rendered self-nudes on Twitter here (I use up ALL 140 characters, if you know what I'm saying, ladies.) As a formerly reluctant social networker, it's been a bit of an adventure for me, but in general, I have to say that everything has pretty much exceeded all of my (low) expectations. Everyone seems to love me, and even the people who love me way too much seem to be pretty cool about it. (Just the most thoughtful, sentimental death threats you can imagine.)
"Oh, that is the perfect rhyme for 'abattoir.' He's going to piss himself out of love."
It hasn't all been good news, though, as in the past few weeks I've managed to infuriate everyone who likes me several times over. Aside from my obvious personal and mental defects, which limit me wherever I tread, it turns out that there are a variety of rules specific to social networking that I've been putting my foot in. And because moral lessons derived from my asshattedness are always so popular around here, I present to you these cardinal rules of social networking that I've blundered through in the past weeks. Hopefully you can use this advice to avoid breaking the same rules yourself, or perhaps more likely, deliberately break them many times simply to troll people. Don't think I'm not on to you, monsters that I have forged.
There is a certain cadence people expect you to have when you social network, and when you exceed it, it can start to piss them off. The exact amount people will put up with you varies depending on how funny, important or full-bosomed you are, but in my experience, I haven't seen many people go above five tweets per day and look good doing it.
Important looking, but only modestly bosomed; I'd tolerate no more than three or four tweets a day from this gentleman.
And people mentally deduct tweets from your allowance when you talk about the same thing as everyone else. Last week, there was a presidential debate in America, and if you wanted to see several hundred people make the same five goddamned jokes about it, oh shit, son, Twitter was the place to be. Yes, there was Cracked's feed and its award-deserving observations, but buried as they were within a hundred other gerbil turds of nonsense, after a couple minutes I simply gave up and scrolled past all the debate spam, looking for my regular gerbil turds of delight.
How to Avoid This
Understand what people are following you for. If it's for your fun little insights, give them your best fun little insights, and not 1,800 jokes about the Emmys, or a rock-by-rock commentary of a curling match, or a 45-tweet series about the enema party you're throwing.
The 45 tweets was my biggest mistake, but not using dark-colored towels was a close second.
When someone sends you a message or tweet, or comments on something you've written, you're apparently supposed to write back to them. This might seem like common sense, or even just basic human decency, to those of you who possess such things, but it came as a bit of a surprise to me. I mean, I can see why it makes sense: If someone said something to you in real life, not responding and just staring back at them would be among the least acceptable responses available, the kind of behavior we normally associate with simpletons and maniacs.
Thinking: "Keep it together, Rick. Don't let them know you're a maniac. If they talk to you, just don't say anything. That should work. Yeah, Rick! Yeah! We're doing it! We're really figuring out this basic human behavior thing. Give yourself a nice stroke on the cock as a reward. Oh dammit."
And yet online, it's so, so easy to not reply. For me at least, it mostly came down to a desire to say just the right thing and the laziness of not wanting to take any time to figure out what that was. I'd see someone talking at me, and look at their message a bit, and not think of anything really clever to write back, so I'd just go back to whatever I was doing, whether it was working or screaming at clouds, and I'd forget about it. Until a few days later, when I'd receive a New Message Icon! and realize that I had 70 messages going back months in there, all waiting for replies, and that I am a terrible sham of a man.
Sometimes, of course, it isn't even my fault; on the new Android phone I got last year, I evidently got logged in to Gchat without knowing about it, and was made available to the world for hot chatting sessions. (I know no other way to chat.) I didn't find out about this until one morning when I woke up to find that someone had had a lengthy, somewhat one-sided conversation with my phone while it was charging, a conversation soon filled with threats and then increasingly desperate pleas for a response, any response. A response that was obviously never likely to be forthcoming, as my phone, much like its owner, has no pity.
How to Avoid This
Reply To Everything.
Obviously this gets harder as you get angrier or more popular, or at least that's what I've been telling myself about all those unanswered voice mails I've sent to Christian Bale. And so long as you're not angry or popular (according to our webstats, you're probably timid and unlikable), this should be no excuse for you -- so Reply To Everything.
I know I've certainly been trying to, even if none of my stupid idiot followers can even be Christian Bale the tiniest bit.