Lessons on social media

In today’s lesson, I am going to be showing you a neat trick to avoid being an asshole on the Internet.

Do not take this personally. Into every life a little asshole must fall. Everyone has a little asshole.

Anyway, don’t take it personally. This is meant to be helpful, not castigatory. I concede there is a fine line there.

So here’s the lesson: You don’t have to actually reply to every post.

I know; this seems obvious. But if it’s obvious, then how come so many people reply to posts like “What’s your favorite holiday song?” with “I don’t have a favorite holiday song”? Or “I don’t like holidays.” Or “I’m philosophically opposed to the concept of music,” or whatever.

Or maybe a friend is asking for advice on the best type of windows to buy for her house. You reply, “I don’t know anything about this, sorry.” Or, “I would know about this if I had a house, which I don’t.”

Some of you probably think I am being hyperbolic right now. I assure you I have seen these examples and worse. And having put some thought into it, because Lord knows there’s not much that I put more thought into than social media, I think it really comes down to people thinking they have to reply to every post. It’s something about the nature of the medium and how it feels like a one-on-one conversation between you and every friend who posts. I think for some people it just really feels almost rude not to reply to every question, even if the question clearly and obviously does not apply to them in the slightest.

So like, here’s an example of what you should not do:

Friend: What’s your favorite place to buy knee-high socks?
You: I only wear sandals, sorry.

But here is an example of what you should do:
Friend: What’s your favorite place to buy knee-high socks?
You:

It is really just that easy.