There are any number of lessons that life teaches us – all the way from the one about not licking Canadian light poles in January to the business of how to dispose of a disgusting canapé at a cocktail party*. The recent advent of the social media has taught me a few new ones:
- If you are unhappy with yourself, you are unhappy with everyone else. If you can develop a mental scenario that focuses this distress upon someone specifically – Muslims, men, or Monsanto for instance – it means that you can relax somewhat – someone is stabbing your back for you…
- Personal unhappiness is portable. You can take it anywhere.
- Personal unhappiness can be because of personal faults or personal failure…but if you are wise you never admit to it. The world has billions of other people – at least one of them can be selected as the author of your troubles. And even if you are abject, you can afford to blame the rich and powerful – the famous and successful. You can aspire to own the enemy you always dreamed of.
- If you can’t quite figure out who your enemy is, you need not fret – one will be provided for you. And they need not be obviously evil – I’ve heard bad things about the Dalai Lama, and not just from a Chinese government spokesperson. Fortunately I am under no contractual obligation to believe it.
- Personal distress is distressing, but socially salable. If you are prepared to accept emojis and the word ” hugs ” as a substitute for thinking and actual assistance, you can be comforted 24 hours a day. Don’t be afraid to collect these as they cost nothing.
- ” Meme ” is a new word. It is newer than ” wisecrack “, ” vulgarity “, or ” propaganda “. One day it will be an old word, so use it now while it is fresh.
- Lists are read by everybody. I think they keep on to the end in the hopes that it will either get better or worse. It always does.
- The acquisition of a new contact on Facebook is pretty standard – either you or they accept a request. The disposal of the acquaintance is a more delicate matter – akin to disposing of the blood pudding canapé we mentioned before. You can ignore them entirely, but still continue to see their posts, hide their posts, unfollow them, or unfriend them – each of these a step further into disengagement. I like to imagine further steps – ones that allow us to actively insult and then physically assault the former Facebook friend. The trouble with this is that the social app is truly worldwide and it would be expensive to fly to foreign countries to beat people up. I think we need a reliable international service to do this for us – people on the ground in other parts of the world who are prepared to go and pummel our enemies for us. Perhaps it could be paid for by PayPoke.
- Social media is no substitute for actual social contact with actual people. Mind you, it means you do not have to shave every day…
- No social media platform is predicated upon observation of etiquette. It is the electronic version of Friday night down at the pub, and in some cases it’s the cheap pub. Do not expect kindness or polite behaviour. Indulge in it yourself, by all means, but be aware that only you will know that you are doing it. It is a measure of your character if you find that sufficient.
* The best alternative for ditching blood pudding on a cracker is to feed it to the host’s dog. It will cement the friendship and make you welcome in the future. If they don’t have a dog, see if they have a potted palm. Failing that, a velour sofa. If all else fails, balance the offending snack on the lightbulb of their bedside lamp and leave at the end of the evening knowing that your revenge is yet to come. You won’t be invited back but would you wish to visit people who serve blood pudding on Ritz crackers anyway?