9 inane phrases people need to stop using on social media

I’m a big fan of Twitter, and I mostly tolerate Facebook, but lately I’ve been increasingly annoyed by some of the utterly inane words and phrases I’ve seen people using, presumably because they think it makes them look funny, or because they think it makes their boring status update marginally more socially acceptable because it’s phrased in a way that they think is cool. The words and phrases in the list I’ve compiled below are the ones currently irking the hell out of me on social media.

NB: before you say it, yes, I know that language evolves. And before you say it, yes, I know that oft-spouted fact about Shakespeare having made up all those new words. There’s nothing wrong with language evolving, except when it makes you look a total moron. As all these ones do.

1. “Dear [insert name of inanimate object here], blah blah blah blah blah, love me”

Example: “Dear Rain. It was really nice of you to come out and spoil my walk this afternoon and get me soaked. Regards, me.”

It isn’t funny or cute to write like this, it’s just idiotic. Can the rain actually hear you addressing your little letter to it? Is it going to make a blind bit of difference to the situation? And do your friends and followers even care that the rain came out to spoil your walk? No. No. And no. So just shut up.

2. “Oh hai”

Example: “Oh hai, brand new shiny iPad”

I understand that you’re pleased you’ve got a new iPad. I would be too. But why not just say “I’m so happy with my brand new shiny iPad?” Did that really need “Oh hai”? As if the iPad can hear you talking to it? And “hai” isn’t even a word. Variations include “Oh hello” or “Why hello”.

3. “[insert massive show-off object/holiday/whatever]? Don’t mind if I do”

Example: “An all-expenses-paid trip to Barbados by private jet? Don’t mind if I do”

This roundabout way of showing off has crept into the English language thanks to Facebook. People feel the need to show off on social media about what a great time they’re having, or how brilliant their life is, but it’s not very socially acceptable, so they’ve found a method of showing off in a way that, on the face of it, doesn’t look like overt showing off, just a harmless rhetorical question. People who use this phrase aren’t fooling anybody though – we all know that they’re just bragging, and it’s almost worse for the fact that they’ve tried to disguise it. Variations include replacing “Don’t mind if I do” with “As you do”, or “Oh, go on then”.

4. “YOLO”

Example: “Quick selfie #yolo”

Otherwise known as “carpe diem”, but for those who have no intellect, YOLO (“you only live once”) seems to have sprung up fairly recently and appears to be used mostly by daft teenagers who can’t get over how amusing they are. And in the example above – an actual example taken from a quick scan of the “YOLO” hashtag – the fact that one only lives once is NOT an excuse for your habitual vanity.

5. “So”

Example: “So today I was walking down the street and I saw someone walking their cat.”

I know that “So” is a perfectly innocuous word. But as the example above illustrates, for some reason EVERYONE has started beginning ALL their sentences with it. The example I’ve given is just one of pretty much every single other sentence that would work perfectly well without the “So” at the beginning, but this infuriating habit is now everywhere. I really don’t understand how these things start.

6. “I am in you”

Example: “Brighton, I am in you!”

I don’t think you need me to spell out how wrong this phrase sounds. But even leaving aside rude connotations of the phrase “in you”, and the fact that you’re once again addressing something that isn’t a person and therefore can’t hear you, this unfortunate phrase just makes you look an idiotic crowd-follower. You’re only using this phrase because everybody else does. Why don’t you say “Just arrived in Brighton” and accompany this fairly boring fact with something interesting that’s happened along the way?

7. “Totes”, and every single other ludicrous word shortening

Example: “It’s totes amazing”

It’s not “totes”, it’s “totally”. It’s not “ridic”, it’s “ridiculous”. If you’re pushed for characters, just find a shorter word for the same thing. And don’t even get me started on people who actually use these words in their real-life speech.

8. “Amazeballs”

Example: “OMG the new Breaking Bad was totes amazeballs”

I don’t know where this word originated, but there are no words for how horrible it is.

9. “Oh em gee”

Example: “Oh em gee have you heard about so and so?”

“OMG” is an abbreviation of “Oh My God”. That’s fine. BUT IT’S NOT AN ABBREVIATION ANYMORE IF YOU ACTUALLY WRITE IT OUT PHONETICALLY. It’s the same number of letters, you absolute imbecile. As for people who actually say it out loud in real-life speech, the less said about them, the better.

I’ll probably lose a load of followers for this post, but I don’t care. If you have any words or phrases you think should have been on this list, leave a comment below and I’ll add it if I agree with you.

UPDATE

Lots of you got in touch with even more inane phrases you’d like to see the back of, and I remembered a few too.

10. “Sleeps” (as in “10 sleeps til Christmas”. Only acceptable if you’re aged four or under)

11. “.com” (as in “I’m bored.com”. Adding .com to the end of something doesn’t make it any more interesting a sentiment, and it makes you look a fool)

12. “Just sayin'” (adding this to the end of an insult is not an excuse for being rude)

13. “Get your [whatever] on” (as in “get your geek on” – what does that even mean?)

14. “Chez [surname]” (not an acceptable way to describe your house unless you are French)

15. “Le sigh” (why? I just don’t get it)

16. “I’m not being funny, but…” (no, you’re right, you’re not being funny)

17. “BOOM” – is your name Basil Brush? No? Then stop it.

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Thoughts and emotions on upgrading to Facebook Timeline

Today I updated my Facebook profile to ‘Timeline’, the new-look profile which shows every single activity you’ve ever carried out on Facebook in chronological order. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to, but I think mine looks quite nice, as you can see below.

You can now list ‘life events’, which range from major things such as having a child, getting married, losing a loved one etc down to things like breaking a bone. Amusingly, the timeline starts at ‘Born’, then there’s a gap of 19 years until I joined Facebook back in 2005. The only events between my birth and joining Facebook were the birth of my sister and brother (my other sister isn’t on Facebook) – according to Facebook, anyway.

Unexpectedly, I actually found myself experiencing a range of different emotions as I looked back over the past few years and my comings and goings on Facebook. For a start, it freaked me out slightly that Facebook has so much information about me – but that’s a bit of a cliche so I’m not going to dwell on that point. Or on the fact that Facebook has become so integrated into our lives that it’s essentially a part of our 21st century identity.

It made me think about my life before Facebook, and the other significant life events I’ve had during the course of my life which weren’t recorded in Facebook. It made me think back to the carefree existence of childhood and a lifestyle free from the bonds of the internet. In my own living memory there was a time when I was unaware of the internet – when I found things out by looking in books, when I could wake up in the morning without checking phone, email, Facebook messages, Twitter messages – how stress-free life must have been!

I felt really sad seeing photos I’d uploaded over the years of our beautiful Dalmatian Dylan, who died in September last year. I miss that little guy so much.

But what got to me the most was looking back over my Facebook activity and seeing messages I’d exchanged over the years with my friend Jo, who was tragically killed in a road accident in Oxford at the end of October (this is the BBC News article). She was so young and seeing the messages she’d sent me – encouraging me when I felt down, when I was at uni trying to cope with a massive workload, exchanging funny quotes from our favourite Hugh Grant films, or from Lord of the Rings – brought back to me how even though I’d not seen her that often, it was so nice knowing she was there and she was always so kind and supportive. I still can’t believe she’s gone – even months later, I still sometimes see someone across the street, riding a bike, and think it’s her.

Facebook, for all its flaws, has recorded those memories of the banter we used to have online and I’m grateful for that. Online interaction is obviously no substitute for real life – and of course I have loads of lovely memories of the times I spent with Jo in real life too – but it was nice to see her messages to me and to remember how she could brighten my day with a thoughtful, funny wall post.

Used thoughtfully, Facebook doesn’t have to replace actual face-to-face interaction – it facilitates it and enhances it. Jo was really good at letting people know she cared, even if it was just posting something on a friend’s Facebook wall, and I think there’s a lesson to be learned from her random acts of kindness. She may be gone, but the memories of her thoughtfulness both online and offline live on – both online and offline.