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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Why you should be on Twitter

I tend to get very defensive of Twitter. That’s partly because I spend so much time on it myself and get so much out of it, but it’s also because it’s annoying when people form judgments about things despite knowing nothing about them. And that’s just it – this is 2012, people! Twitter is now so much a part of society that there’s no excuse for knowing nothing about it in this day and age. I’ve seen quite a few people on Facebook recently asking ‘what’s the point of Twitter?’. So here are all the compelling reasons why you should join Twitter and why, if you get past your preconceived ideas and get properly involved, you’ll probably find yourself getting far more out of it than you do out of Facebook.

“I don’t have time for Twitter”, I hear you cry
Nonsense! The beauty of Twitter is that everything’s expressed in 140 characters (or fewer). It’s much faster to scan down your Twitter timeline for a quick update on what’s going on than it is to wade through the endless self-involved crap you get on Facebook. You don’t have to read every single tweet, that’s not the point (and if you follow a lot of people, that’s impossible anyway). You just dip in and out when you have a spare moment. And don’t try telling me that writing a tweet is time-consuming.

“But Twitter is just where people give you a boring running commentary of every miniscule aspect of their lives”
What, and Facebook isn’t? At least on Twitter you can easily and unoffensively unfollow people you find boring, while on Facebook, unfriending someone can literally mean a severed friendship. Not to mention that you might not want to unfriend someone just because their updates are boring!

“I already use Facebook for keeping in touch with people, why would I need Twitter as well?”
Facebook and Twitter serve two very different purposes, so if you think of Twitter as a means of keeping in touch with friends, you’re missing the point (although of course that doesn’t preclude following real-life friends on Twitter as well). Most people only accept Facebook friend requests from people they know in real life – their friends (although ‘friend’ is often used in the loosest possible sense). Twitter, on the other hand, is about following, and being followed by, a whole host of different people:  those who share your interests, or live locally, celebrities and loads more. Twitter is a far more varied – and consequently, more enriching – experience than the narrow confines of your set of Facebook friends. Facebook is a closed community, while Twitter is open – anyone can see your tweets unless you protect them. The upshot of that is that you’re exposed to a much broader spectrum of life.

‘Follow your interests’
In a recent rebrand, Twitter adopted the motto ‘follow your interests’, which I think is a great way of summarising what Twitter is all about. I follow people who are interested in travel, Rome, writing, SEO, Oxford, the Cotswolds, classical music – all the things I’m interested in. It means I get to keep up to date with what’s going on in Rome when I’m not there. I get to hear the latest Oxford news, events and special offers. I keep up to date with developments in the SEO industry. And much more. All in one place!

Making new friends
I’ve met the loveliest people on Twitter – people with whom I communicate on an almost daily basis. From a solicitor who, it turned out, lives literally just round the corner from me, to an adorable couple from Washington DC, the people I’ve met on Twitter have come from all walks of life and from all over the world. Twitter has taken away the barrier of distance and you can find kindred spirits most unexpectedly. And it’s not limited to online interaction – plenty of new friends I’ve made in real life have started off on Twitter. You get as much out of Twitter as you put into it; I put a lot of my personality into my Twitter account and love spending time chatting with people, and I’ve reaped the rewards. I might add that if I’m feeling down and I tweet about it, I get a lot more support from my Twitter community than I do from my real life ‘friends’ on Facebook.

Enhance your TV experience
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but on the rare occasions I do, I’ll usually be on Twitter while I’m watching – following and contributing to the hashtag for that show and taking part in the banter. A great example is Channel 4’s fantastic fly-on-the-wall documentary The Hotel. Following the hashtag #thehotel, you not only get to enjoy everyone else’s comments on what you’re watching, but you also get the owner of the Grosvenor Hotel himself tweeting along with you. For a start, you wouldn’t get that on Facebook, but can you imagine how annoying it would be for my Facebook friends if I updated my Facebook status multiple times an hour about a show that they weren’t even watching? I’d be unfriended or blocked from news feeds left, right and centre. (As an aside, that’s one of the reasons I think it’s very bad practice to link your Twitter account to your Facebook.)
 
Up-to-the-minute news
If you’re super busy like me, Twitter is a great way of keeping up with the news. And you get breaking news stories faster on Twitter than anywhere else. They’ll link to the full article, so you can simply click on the ones you think sound interesting and ignore the rest. During the August riots last year, we even had Thames Valley Police keeping Oxford residents up to date with the action (or lack thereof) in Oxford.

You can even get featured on BBC News!
I’m about to go off at a tangent, but I promise this story has a point. When I was at Oxford I often used to attend speakers and debates at the Oxford Union, and occasionally goings-on at the Union would attract media attention. Sometimes it was because it was someone controversial (they had riot police outside when Nick Griffin attended) and sometimes because it was someone whose public image seemed so extraordinarily at odds with the level of intelligence typically associated with the Union’s hallowed debating chamber. One such speaker was the ‘troubled’ former Atomic Kitten member Kerry Katona. My friend Patrick and I were up to our eyeballs in Finals revision and he suggested it would be a fun break from revision to go and see what Katona had to say for herself. As we took our seats in the chamber, merely feet away from where she was to address the Union members, I tweeted from my iPhone that I was at the Union to see Kerry Katona and made the slightly cutting remark that I was “only attending out of sheer morbid curiosity”. Following her speech I sent some further tweets, with a list of adjectives I’d use to describe her (not all bad!) and that my opinion of her had improved slightly. The next day, I was checking out the BBC News website when I spotted a report on the speech in the Entertainment section. And lo and behold, there were my tweets!

The moral of this story is that with Twitter, you can take an active role in the news. To take a more high profile example, what about the guy who live tweeted the US raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound?

I’m not saying that you should leave Facebook and just use Twitter – both add value in different ways. But don’t be so quick to dismiss Twitter or to judge those of us who use it a lot. If you use it properly, Twitter can be truly life-enhancing.