Friday, August 17, 2012
A Liberal's Guide to the language of social media
In the early days of my involvement with what has become known as social media I was on Y!360 and we had a Movie Monday, Poetry Wednesday and Word Thursday. There was also a Song Saturday and Art Sunday. I forget what Tuesday was. I obviously did not participate. Friday was for Fotos. But even though this is Friday this is a Word Thursday. And do not try to look any of what follows up in your Websters. This is social media language though some of it began with our parents.
First word is dear. Contrary to dictionary definitions I do not believe dear to be a term of endearment. When my mother used it I would have defined it as Stop it. Generally used just before my formal full, middle and last name was called into the conversation. As an adult I considered it a term of belittlement. On social media it is used to herald a comment which runs entirely contrary to yours. A polite form of the word idiot.
Another term in social media is the non-comment just before a link. In short the person posting the link has just dropped a bomb and does not want you to know if it is an a friendly or hostile bomb. Chances are hostile or at a minimum contrary to your stance on the issue.
Define is another very hostile word on Facebook. When I participated in debate it was a neutral term. And we used it often as in "could you please define that term." Okay, maybe not completely neutral. Define in the beginning of a comment on your status message is, however, a barbed hook designed to get you to fully commit yourself to what the commentator considers a stupid stance. Through these tough political and religious times I have seen the world Define, especially used in conjunction with the word Dear, as a sign I should check my audience. Surely I did not post that to public? Or delete the post in question. Or unfriend.
Unfriend - rude, crude, or otherwise unacceptable to remain on your friend list. Let's face it when in social media Friend means 200 to 3000 people that have passed briefly through your timeline. Unfriend is awful. Anyone you have to get off your Friend list is close to being a leper.
Acquaintance - Someone you do not want to know what your friends know about you. Facebook is allowing posts to friends less acquaintances so we can assume that Acquaintance is just above leper. In fact I have come to regard this list as a holding area for those I would like to unfriend but think it might get me stalked if I do.
Stalker - A leper you have unfriended after serving a period in acquaintance list. But you still have mutual friends (see 6 degrees of separation in Wiki). Enough that if you dare make a comment on one of those pages they will pounce on you with, "My dear, please define . . . ."
All this is just the tip of the ice berg but I do have a life outside social media (define that as I am fed up to my eyebrows with the stalkers).