Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 05/19/13 1:02 PM

Humour: Social Media Etiquette


Sheila Kumar stumbles upon a Word file where the Wired and the Anguished ask,  and Emily Post, a.k.a Em Dot Post, answers.


Q Wassup, Em. I gotta know this: must I click ‘like’ on each and every post a friend puts up, regardless of the fact that it’s mostly semi-literate and always singularly unfunny drivel?

Yes. You must. It’s social media etiquette. And you don’t want to go online without knowing your cyber pees and queues. Or you’ll lose all your 99,999 friends and followers.

Q Respected Messrs Post, social media, I have realised, is El Dorado for advertising one’s product. But I just can’t seem to understand the weekly updates. 11 – 4 new likes, it said this week, 12 + 140 per cent were talking about my business and the weekly reach was 143 + 58.3 per cent. How on earth will I manage what I cannot understand?

You expect me to do the math for you? Okay, but it will cost you. Something on the lines of 662 + 12 per cent.

Q Emily, I’m one of those unsung geniuses, even if I say so myself. My book was rejected by publishers ad nauseaum (and ad nauseous) till I self-published. Now I want to hawk it on social media. Help.

Unsung Genius, carpet all the social media platforms with teasers; post the most random photographs and link them cleverly to your book; sweet tweet once every two days about the magnum opus; keep telling people where they can buy your masterpiece; oh, and keep at it. For at least a year. Or until your next book comes out.

Q I don’t care what my shrink says, I love social media. It gives me a chance to vent my spleen on unsuspecting ‘friends,’ people I actually loathe. And there’s a lot of them: at last count, I was linked-in to 430, had 682 followers and 2,189 friends, including my shrink. While on this, may I be permitted to tell you what a smug, stupid woman you are, dispensing social media etiquette advice to all and sundry, pretending to be some sort of an etiquette guru? Who let you out?

You certified troll, I am reporting you immediately.

Q Mess Post, I be loving this social media. I have such importance type frands on it, peoples like CM of this and that state, Tatta, Beerla, Baracks, Karenna Kapoor and Shah Rook Khan, too. When I am online, I am feeling very importance.

Okay. So what exactly is your question again?

Q Emily, every1 sems to have a bttr liffe than me. My frnds post pix of there exotic vacays, their grand wedds, the blk-tie dnnrs they attnd, n coments from VIPs. Help me upgrde my liff.

A Easy. Go get yourself some technology. Better still, go get yourself some spelling. And some grammar, while you are at it.

Q Em-Dash, people say I spend all my time on social media sites. I say it’s my time. So okay, my wife has left me, my kids have gone with her, but I plan to build bridges afresh, starting with sharing a Pinterest board with them. My dog did NOT die because I forgot to feed it. As for the browned plants, that’s how I like my potted plants, brown and wilting. And I don’t care that no one visits, I have 6,723 cyber friends and my hourly blogpost updates are read by at least 4,234 of these. So why is the mental hospital van standing outside my door?

A It’s Em Dot, actually. I’d suggest you go along. Quietly. Just take your smartphone and your ultrabook so you can post updates ‘from there.’

Q We are such a wired family, Emily girl! We chat online from the same room, we text each other across the same sofa, we befriend each other’s followers and friends, we order food online, we buy our clothes online, we immortalise our family milestones on YouTube. Why then do people look at us and laugh whenever we venture forth from our front door?

A Good for you fellas! When you guys do venture forth, do so without looking up from your gadgets. QED, huh?

Q I set up an account for my dog Router. Now Router has more friends and followers than I do. Should I deactivate his account or give him away?

A Simple. Get yourself another pet (a cat? a goldfinch? a goldfish?) and open an account in that one’s name. That’ll learn Router.

Q Amitabh Bachchan is my Facebook friend. As of today, I have sent him 6,444 messages; this includes the 779 photos I have tagged him in. And I know that many of his posted replies are meant for me personally. Why then won’t he meet me?

A Okay. Let me break this to you gently. Amitabh Bachchan is your Facebook friend only in the broadest sense possible. Truth to tell, ALL your Facebook friends are your friends only in the broadest sense possible.

Q Hi how are you. Am also from Bangalore, a good natured, free, frank, openminded add me as your friend u r sooooooooooo lovely want to be ur lovely friend i love shopping and longdrives. have a lovely day. you are superb.

A Gerroff my Inbox or I’ll report you. Forthwith.

Q It took me a year to set up a Facebook account. I don’t know how to use Twitter. I have a Kindle but prefer to read books made from paper. I have a DVD player but prefer to go see movies in the cinema theatre. A tumbler is what I drink from. Is this why I have a smile on my lips and a song in my heart all the time?

A I pondered on this a long time. The answer is: I don’t know.

This ran in DECCAN HERALD of 19 May 2013.


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Sheila Kumar • May 19, 2013

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