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is it okay: to vaguebook?

“I knew things were too good to last”. It’s 11am on a Sunday morning. Everywhere that isn’t bed is far too cold, and the only thing I can reach is my phone. Facebook is alight with hangover regret and pictures of kittens. In between this and the severely under-liked political commentary lurks a serial vaguebooker, peppering the newsfeed with tales of woe and hard times.

Without specifics of course. Because specifics would be over-sharing.

Life gets on top of everyone from time to time. Relationships break down, academic failure happens; hey, sometimes you wake up and immediately stub your toe. So why then do a select few turn these emotions into statuses, and proclaim their feelings through the lyrics to ‘Lonely Day’ or generic-but-somehow-highly-dramatic statements?

I’m fairly certain that everyone has at least one person on their friends list who is guilty of this. While not sure what exactly goes through their minds, judging from the result, it seems to be something along the lines of “something has made me unhappy. I’ll sort of tell everyone about it.”

It’s pretty irritating for a number of reasons. I won’t lie – sometimes it’s simply because statements like “I can’t believe I let that happen again” or “you can’t stop me from being me” make me frustratingly curious. Did you arm wrestle a walrus last night? Did you have a Jet Li style battle to the death with your doppelganger? Are there pictures?

These grand statuses all attract the same response; a host of comments along the line of “ :( ” and “Honey! What’s wrong???”, a ‘like’ (from the poster’s resident douchebag friend), and then the inevitable: “Private Message me. I can’t talk about it here.”

Of course you can’t.

If these are truly private, deeply personal issues which need to be discussed in depth over personal messages, then you wouldn’t be splashing your lyric-filled feelings all over the internet. Instead you would try ‘speaking with friends’, ‘writing in a diary’ or even ‘seeking professional help’.

Vaguebooking falls into two categories; attention seeking  or passive aggression.

The attention seeking status I think is the result of the internal angsty fifteen year-old we all have somewhere buried deep within. Most of the time, it is suppressible. However, when it’s not, intense song lyrics result. I have feelings dammit! And I will demonstrate them thusly: “Bad day. Worst day. Couldn’t possibly get any worse.” or “Alone. Again. Sigh.”. If you’re not feeling loquacious, simply a “ :( ” will suffice. If no one responds, follow it up five minutes later with “:’(”.

The passive aggressive status is the one aimed towards a specific person or specific situation. Targeted revenge. It’s a way of letting the world (and certain people) know that someone has pissed you off. They have done you wrong. They are nasty and mean, and the only way to deal with the situation is to hit up your keyboard.  Say something like “Some people need to learn to keep their mouth shut” or “Wow. Really? I can’t believe I used to hold you in such high regard.” Done. Problem solved. Confrontation without the inconvenient face-to-face.

This kind of status walks a thin line. You wouldn’t want the casual reader to know what’s going on, but if you’re too thinly veiled in your criticism, the cause of your turmoil might not be vain enough to know this song lyric is about them. Sometimes however, you can be too general, and the wrong person will get offended. They then attempt to start a flame-war, you reassure them that “no babes, it’s not about that”, and then everything devolves into “lols” and emoticons.

Sometimes these statuses make me “SO ANGRY. I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.” Then I just have to tell everyone about it! Sort of.

PM me.

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6 thoughts on “is it okay: to vaguebook?

  1. I read this article yesterday and its been really bothering me. I couldn’t work out what exactly was the problem until I read it again today.
    Why oh why is this “vaguebooker” you hold so contemptuously so obviously female? I guess I drew this conclusion in several ways and I’ll tell you why I find it so damn troubling.

    “Vaguebooking falls into two categories; attention seeking or passive aggression.”

    Attention seeking. Passive aggression. Two very negative behaviours that women, from teenage girls to grown women, are saddled with in a variety of situations (offline and online) in order to discipline them and regulate them when maybe they’ve just got some *gasp* feelings like anger or disappointment to express. Girl feelings are just so yuck, aren’t they?

    “These grand statuses all attract the same response; a host of comments along the line of “Honey! What’s wrong???”…They then attempt to start a flame-war, you reassure them that “no babes, it’s not about that”, and then everything devolves into “lols” and emoticons.”

    Jesus. Aren’t women are so ridiculously juvenile and selfish? How dare they soil your newsfeed with such childish drivel. Using “grand statements” followed with lols and emoticons to manipulate you all into feeling like their lives are just so damn hard and dramatic. What self involved, narcissistic drama queens, right?

    The thing is, in my newsfeed at least, these type of sad, “forever alone” statuses are made in the large majority by men! I have seen several popping up just today. So why is your example so painful with the female stereotypes? Why do you seem to hate her that much?

  2. Jessie – thank you for your comment.

    I’d like to start by saying that this column is not actually about one specific person – it’s an amalgamation of all the Vaguebookers – both male and female – I’ve encountered over the course of using Facebook. I don’t “hate her” simply because there isn’t a “her” to hate – there’s a “them” to groan at.

    My criticism is of the behaviour, not the gender of the person perpetrating it.

    That being said, I find it interesting that one of the lines you picked to conclude that I was writing about a female was the one saying that this behaviour is either passive aggressive or attention seeking. At no point did I find these two things exclusive to females – male Vaguebookers are equally guilty of being passive aggressive and attention seeking. It is therefore somewhat hypocritical that you then go on to accuse me of being the one with the painful female stereotypes when actually you’re the one enforcing gender roles by assuming I’m talking about women in my examples.

    Overall I guess it seems you are accusing me of ridiculing women’s feelings and calling them narcissistic drama queens, but this isn’t a column about women Vaguebooking – it is about people Vaguebooking. So I stand by all my comments. This is attention seeking or passive aggressive behaviour. No matter what the gender of the poster.

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  6. I hate vaguebooking because it is commonly a form of emotional manipulation. You’re getting people to be concerned about you but not telling them why or what’s going on. Not a kind thing to do.

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