Facebook: Jeremy just can’t take vaguebooking anymore!

They’re out there right now, waiting for you. Just when you thought you would be getting through the digital part of your day in a cheerful and productive manner, that’s when they strike. No, we’re not talking about viruses or worms, this is more subtle and sinister. These are simple sentences that can reduce you to a dithering blob of irritation and anger in a matter of moments. Welcome to the wonderful world of ‘vaguebooking’.

  • ‘Jeanette is wondering how she can go on like this’
  • ‘Phumla thinks this day has just gone from bad to worse’

Got the picture? That’s ‘vaguebooking’, defined by the Urban Dictionary as: “An intentionally vague Facebook status update, which prompts friends to ask what’s going on.”

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These people are your ‘friends’, and posting a status like this must be enormously gratifying because it invariably produces a flurry of replies from friends, who will rally around you with soothing platitudes and offers of help and comfort.

But by responding and commenting with nurturing replies, all you are doing is encouraging further ‘vaguebooking’, which just clogs up your news feed with irritating irrelevance.

  • ‘Derek says life sucks….’
  • ‘Robin can’t believe what just happened!’

You shouldn’t be surprised. You’ve been nurturing these people for years and years.

The same people who relish in ‘vaguebooking’ are the same people who bombard your email inbox with those emails. At first it was fairly harmless, perhaps a couple of forwarded Chuck Norris emails three months after it had ceased being funny. When they finally realised you were over Chuck, they decided it was time to turn up the ‘guilt-o-meter’ by sending you tear-jerking emails that you had to forward on to at least twenty people you knew, otherwise that poor innocent kitten would pass away and it would be all your fault.

And then they discovered social networking, and all hell broke loose.

It began with things that you could avoid, like ‘Which ancient philosopher are you?’ and ‘Which Teletubby best describes your child?’. But when they realised that you had the option of avoiding these ridiculous quizzes and polls, they set their sights on the heart of Facebook: the status update. And so ‘vaguebooking’ was born.

It also takes the form of random song lyrics posted as a status with no reference to the fact that it is a song, and therefore someone else’s emotion.

  • ‘Don wants to dance with somebody who loves me….’ Oh really, Whitney?
  • ‘Vincent took the midnight train going anywhere….’ Good thing the train had wi-fi so you could annoy us by broadcasting it.

What do these people want?

Nothing more than your undivided attention. It is nothing more than a cry for help, a frantic waving of the arms, jumping up and down, shouting look at me, here I am! That’s it. Cute in a three-year-old, nauseating when it breaks up your workday.

Perhaps my next status update should be: ‘With friends like these, who needs enemies’.

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