Digital Communication: What’s Weird, What’s Fine
In days of yore, if you wanted to rise to the top of the social stratosphere, all you needed was good penmanship and a horse to ride to on house calls. But alas, times have changed, and the world of socialization is so much more confusing. Horses have been replaced with tweeting birds (which, when malfunctioning, are substituted for a single whale), and penmanship has been replaced by finger-tapping (and a resignation to the tyranny of autocorrect). Here’s a brief guide to how to navigate the ever-shifting landscape of digital communication.
1. Weird: Getting A Crush’s Number Off Of Facebook
Fine: Looking up who your mutual friends are, contacting one of them, and asking that person for the crush’s number. What? If your crush asks, this person forced you to call them because they think you’d be really cute together. So embarrassing, right?
2. Weird: Asking Someone Out On His/Her Wall
Fine: Obsessively checking their gChat status to see when they sign off to go home from work/class and sending an opportunely timed text just before they start their car, so as to make it less awkward by giving them the option to send a written “no.” Or, if they do want to say “yes,” they’ll have to call to work out the details, since they can’t have an extended text volley while driving. And at this point, you’ll have the upper hand, ‘cause THEY called YOU.
3. Weird: Emailing Someone To Break Up
Fine: Just not contacting them. People do it all the time, so it must be fine, right? Clearly you don’t want to do this in person, a text is rude, and the phone would be awkward, so…
4. Weird: Friending A One-Night-Stand
Fine: Carrying their child to term without their knowledge. Seriously, though, friending would be so invasive; it’s not a natural next step to a hookup. And if you don’t have any other info on them, well, I hope you have a strong parental support system, Single Mama.
5. Weird: Double-Texting
Fine: Dwelling on the Last Text Sent for days on end. You can keep checking your texts to make sure you didn’t miss that new message notification, or just wait until you see them again to passive aggressively remark how they never responded to your text (remember the girl in the Verizon Commercial?). But dear God, don’t be that annoying person who initiates a text volley twice.
6. Weird: Emo-Status Posting
Fine: Posting pictures of your food. I don’t know why, but making people view photos of the béarnaise sauce you made last night is so much more palatable than telling them you feel alone and unloved.
7. Weird: Responding To A Question-Less Email
Fine: Switching to another medium as the next communication with this person. It’s perfectly acceptable to start an IM conversation about a new topic, but have some respect for the satisfaction they’d received upon clearing your thread from their inbox. In this context, your “thanks!” just became a “LOOK AT ME, GIVE ME MORE OF YOUR TIME!”
8. Weird: Calling Someone. Ever.
Fine: Stalking them on Twitter and Four Square, monitoring their Facebook check-ins, and staring down their Google+ feed until you have an idea of who they are, what they do, where they go. Under no circumstances are you to have an actual conversation with another human being, or you might accidentally say something spontaneous, betraying your true, poorly worded feelings. Besides, you don’t get good service.
What do you guys think? Does this stuff come naturally to you? What else is “weird” when it comes to digital communication? Let us know in the comments section!