Social sins to avoid for fun and profit (1/2)

Saturday 1 September 2012, 12.30am HKT

RULES of social intercourse change constantly, not just for social networking sites but in real life too. Whatever the rules, they rest on one longstanding property.

In a word, sociability.

In two words, sociability wins.

In three words, sociability wins friends.

In four, sociability gets jobs now.

Go on, sabotage your money-earning, career-advancing capabilities.

So you’re in it for the moolah — yes, we can relate to that too. But no moolah for you if you’re unsociable. We spend our time and buck for the maximum bang. True fact, that.

Common social gaffes online and in real life to avoid, boys and girls:—



GAFFE:— Invisibility.

WHY:— Are you deliberately stupid or were you born this dumb? To remain invisible in social intercourse or networking is the greatest sin of all.

MESSAGE:— “I’m defensive and unsociable.” It’s nothing to do with privacy, no matter which way you explain it away. On a social-networking site, you’re saying you couldn’t make up your mind. Worse, you’re telling the world you’re just another nosey parker, prying into the affairs of others. That’s just not appealing to most people, man. Srsly.

RED FLAGS (online):— Not in any particular order:—

  • no email address anywhere on the personal homepage
  • no profile picture
  • won’t put up one measly photo of a blank wall once in a while
  • practically no updates ever since you’ve ‘friended’ them a couple of years ago
  • practically all interactive functions disabled (i.e. everything set to ‘private’)
  • online presence nearly always set to ‘invisible’
  • the fusspot is regularly online despite the above
  • almost every communication is through private messages
  • dozens or even hundreds of friends but only a handful of mutual friends with you

RED FLAGS (real life):— Not in any particular order:—

  • refusal to dress up or even just to wear anything appropriate for the occasion
  • arguments with others on inconsequential matters
  • not keeping things ‘light’
  • “soloing techniques”
  • listening in total silence (so there’s absolutely no visual or auditory feedback if you’re actually talking to a wall)

Listening to someone in total silence is stark raving reality to any of you who’ve had some dealing with Far Easterners, who don’t seem to realise they have this highly unlovely habit. They can excuse themselves, but it’s plain passive-aggressiveness any which way we look at it.

FIX YOURSELF:— It’s no big deal to just write a few words or put up a photo. It makes the whole process a little more human and warm. If someone’s going to discriminate against you because of what you say or show, you probably wouldn’t want to be with them anyway. Likewise, if you’re the type who thinks others will discriminate, they wouldn’t want to be with you, period. Lurk, and you’re just confirming to others what they suspect already — another nosey parker.

FACT:— Facebook monitors accounts with high privacy settings for contraband trading (drugs, etc), human trafficking, terrorism, paedophilia and other criminal activities. You don’t honestly think a website that can handle 600 million users and all their crap doesn’t have the capability to do that, do you?



GAFFE:— Being stiff.

WHY:— This far too frequently goes hand in hand with invisibility. It automatically puts you in the category of an irrelephant: like someone turning up for a casual weekend ‘do’ in businesswear. Some people are naturally stiffer than others — we get that, truly. We want to protect our privacy (who doesn’t?) and don’t want all and sundry t0 hang out and spread over a wide area like it’s a plane crash. But no one wants to see your minimum info shut off or hear you rehash the same line after line parrot-fashion either.

MESSAGE:— Stiffness = unresourcefulness. Can you imagine a stiff person who’s resourceful? We live in changing times where change happens a million times a second. Can you dovetail to that? Stiffness really shows a person has a lethargic outlook to life in that the person can’t be bothered to keep up with things, preferring others to accede to his own preferences. Enough said.

RED FLAGS:— 100% online, 100% real life:—

  1. not changing the subject and not changing your mind (fanaticism, inflexibility)
  2. correcting other people’s grammar, even in social or casual settings (unadaptability)
  3. turning up in businesswear for casual functions, and vice versa (lack of judgment)
  4. using your own field’s lingo regardless of audience (inconsideration)
  5. “soloing techniques” (stupidity)
  6. “let’s define this” (haughtiness, subjectivity, refusal to accept alternatives)
  7. not showing anything “until I get better at it first” (and that day might never come)
  8. agreeing with someone and then disagreeing on the same thing with the next person (inability to learn from experience)
  9. tendency to look for ‘correct’ answers (turgidity, timidness, lacking foresight)

FIX YOURSELF:— A few well-chosen morsels of information about your interests make it easier for other likeminded persons to appreciate you — such as prospective employers. If you’re looking for a job or trying to advance your career, being stiff kills your career dead in its tracks. The world is full of young people who didn’t grow up regarding being stiff as a virtue. True fact.

FACT:— Lots of recruitment companies surf Facebook, LinkedIn and other social-networking sites for interesting candidates to handle various types of projects that would be a good fit for their clients. They cold-call candidates to suss them out. If you’re stiff, you’re ignored and left behind.

If you’re still young but stiff, you cause people to stay clear of you because they think you have some sort of mental problem. Which you do, honestly speaking.

“Anti-stiff: strengthens the muscles. Works on the social muscles.

REMARK:— “Stiff gets you stiffed.” Nobody’s asking you to hang loose like a rockstar. But you just can’t risk being compared to Frankenstein or a zombie either (and still lose out to them on the human-warmth scale). If you can’t (or won’t) meet us half way, you’re not the type we’re interested in.



GAFFE:— Driving in circles and mucking about.

WHY:— We get one life and one life is all we get. Get to the point! Don’t muck about in what you do or say. The professionals see you’re being unprofessional, and the unprofessionals think you’re taking the piss (making fun of them).

MESSAGE:— “You’re all here for my entertainment.” That’s what you’re ultimately saying. Muddling through (to improvise, basically) isn’t the same as mucking about. It’s even more entertaining for us to see YOU being left behind.

RED FLAGS:— 40% online, 60% in real life:—

  1. sending goofy stuff to others (online and in real life) especially in business settings
  2. ‘poking’ people on Facebook, etc (“go poke yourself somewhere else”)
  3. re-explaining things back to people who explained it to you first
  4. latching on to the other person’s words and reusing them back
  5. ignoring advice (“counsel is to be taken, not congratulated”)
  6. “soloing techniques”
  7. using swollen language regardless of situation
  8. “speaking the truth is bad because it’s blunt(O rly? You think so, do you?)
  9. you talk about things that everybody is concerned about but in a way as if nobody else does (“But privacy is a concern!”: yeah, right)

It’s one thing not to take advice after balancing it with other advice you’ve got, but ignoring advice is quite another.

FIX YOURSELF:— Get to the point. Stick to directness and everydayness.



GAFFE:— Not letting your online networks cross over into the real world.

WHY:— It’s amazing the numbers of individuals who rack up literally hundreds of online friends and then leaving them there to freeze and die. Out of your 3,875 Facebook friends, you’ve only met a grand total of three — and they’re from your schooldays who you’ve not seen for 15 years.

MESSAGE:— “I’m too good for you.” “You don’t measure up.” Enough said.

RED FLAGS:— 50% online, 50% in real life, 100% counterproductive:—

  1. Iceman never calls
  2. Iceman never return calls
  3. Iceman leaves events midway because “it’s late,” “past your bedtime,” “work tomorrow,” etc
  4. Iceman always break off the conversation midway
  5. Iceman makes us wait for stupid responses for more than 2 minutes
  6. Iceman gives one-line responses when we’ve given 20
  7. Iceman keeps making excuses for everything
  8. Iceman shows little or no interest in anyone’s interests
  9. Iceman maintain his own interests are cheaper, stronger, faster, better, etc, than anyone else’s

FIX YOURSELF:— Quid pro quo. Help others and they’ll help you. Set up real-life get-togethers with your online friends or contacts. Bond with them (even if it’s pretence). Ring them up. Comment online on their interests. Congratulate them. You are in a relationship with these people — realise that, for pete’s sakes! Get involved.

PROTIP:— It depends on what each friend is like, but I ring them up whenever I’m in the neighbourhood, especially when I’ve not been in their area for some time. “Just ringing to say I’m in your area and to see how things are going with you.”

REMARK:— My Facebook gets roughly 10 to 15 friend requests a month, and many of those are from people I’ve actually met in real life. On Facebook, my friends there include one internationally famous dancer, one supermodel, one famous actress, one world-famous DJ, one Pulitzer-winning writer, one documentary filmmaker and one famous photographer — all of them ‘friended’ me first. And I’m not even a fan of Facebook! How’s that for snob appeal?


Coming up in Part 2 tomorrow:

You bore, you won’t score



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. (B12273)

Images: Invisibility conversation from this blog post | Anti-Stiff via The Quack Doctor | Circular road via Awareness of the Heart | Han Solo in Carbonite via The Right Rant.

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