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OPINION

12 most disingenuous things on social media

You don't really mean that 'Congrats!' you left on your engaged friend's Facebook

By Jessica Galliart, @jessicagalliart

RedEye

2:35 AM CDT, July 28, 2012

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Life is hard, man. Besides the daily struggles with paying those student loan

s, waking up on time for work and always missing that Red Line train by just a few seconds, we counterintuitively struggle with Internet and social media dependency while constantly side-eyeing each other over passive aggressive Facebook statuses and mixed message tweets. Is anything real these days?! Sigh.

OK, it’s not that bad. But it's definitely annoying. Social media allows us to let our freak flags fly 24/7, but it also gives us free reign to fake happiness for others, hide behind emoticons and straight up lie. And it’s turning a lot of us into paranoid, skeptical nerds. How? Allow me to explain. Here are a few of the most fake, disingenuous things you see every day on social media.

“Congrats!”
C’mon, you don’t really mean that. Stop letting Facebook pressure you into sending congratulatory messages to your engaged, married, or with child friends who you haven’t spoken to or seen in real life since that time you bumped into them in your pajamas and walk of shame hair at 7-Eleven. Live your life, save your words for when you really mean them.

The Facebook poke
Yep, that seriously still exists. What is this, 2006? Get with the program and act like you care enough to know what people are actually doing on the Internet these days.

;)
That seemingly precious emoticon is the Internet-speak version of saying “Just kidding!” after you’ve insulted someone. Typically used to cap off a passive aggressive dig at someone, crappy people on social media seem to think a winky face cancels out aforementioned dig. If you’re going to insult someone in public--I mean the Internet--then own that. Don’t back down before you’ve even finished, stupid.

Auto-DMs
Chances are *you’re* not guilty of this, but you know a lot of people and brands trying to climb the Twitter food chain who are. You follow someone you think might be good to have in your feed, then, 10 seconds later, you get an alert that you have a direct message. Exciting! Except not. It’s a bot that person set up to “personally” thank you for the follow. Such a tease.

Questions
Not all of them, but most. When someone tweets a question, it’s assumed she’s genuinely seeking your opinion, right? Right, but when she doesn’t respond back to any of your answers, it’s the Twitter equivalent of constantly giving dating advice to your friend who, in turn, adheres to none of it. And then continues asking for your advice.

Any response to any Facebook event invite
It’s not real! It’s the Internet! Nobody will be mad if I “join”/RSVP and then don’t show up! OR, I could not RSVP, even though I intend on going, so I can look aloof and mysterious...

“Like” this if...
...you’re so impulsive on Facebook that you’ll “like” a post just because someone tells you to.

Buzzwords
It’s safe to say that people who wake up one day and decide to call themselves social media ninjas/experts/consultants and use the word “buzzworthy” in everyday Tweets have no idea what they’re saying and don’t really care if you don’t either. They just want your follow and simply cannot be trusted.

Accepting Grandma’s Friend Request
Nobody really wants to do that. We’re all just trying to avoid a shitstorm of a voicemail from a confused and heartbroken Grandma.

“Trending” wishes from the ill or dying
Let me explain. I’m an incredible skeptic, and I also have a ton of compassion for anyone dealing with a serious illness. And that’s precisely why I find it hard to believe that someone struggling with something so real would be bothered to or care enough to try to get his or her name tweeted a bunch by strangers who are suddenly so philanthropic (enough to push a button, anyway). There are bigger things in life than a trending topic--these are the people who would know that the best, right?--so there’s a pretty good chance it’s fake. (Have you ever seen an original tweet from said person? It’s usually a retweet, right? Mhm.)

Mean tweets mentioning celebrities
There’s one reason you include a celebrity’s Twitter handle in a tweet insulting them: Because you want a tweet back. You want that 0.5 seconds of Twitter fame--not a real thing, by the way--and you’ll probably back down as soon as you get called out for being an idiot, jealous or just a mean person. Cool it, sister.

Those Spotify private sessions
You know when people insist they don’t use the Spotify “Private Session” feature because they don’t care if others see what they’ve been listening to on Spotify all day (usually really “cool” new music)? Sometimes I wonder if they set Spotify to mute, let it run and are really listening to a “Disney’s Greatest Hits” album on iTunes or something. Hey, you never know.

Jessica Galliart is RedEye’s Social Media Lady.

jgalliart@tribune.com | @jessicagalliart

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