Saving Face: The Rules of Social Media – a commentary By Caleb Chandler


There is a set of rules that govern the digital social lives of the generation dubbed “millennial.” Attempts were made to codify these guidelines, but sadly the original manuscripts were lost. Fragments have been discovered scattered across the internet, but many experts believe them to be faked, noting that the vocabulary used was too expansive and there was a disconcerting lack of misspelled words. Councils are being held to establish orthodoxy.

In the absence of clear guidance, the social media novice is left with a trial by fire. He will learn the laws as he breaks them. At best, he may only find himself guilty of writing insufferably long posts. Such transgressions are considered venial. His punishment will be no greater than that of the girl who shared an old photo on a Tuesday.

He may, however, do something worse. He could like his own post. It is easy to see how one could fall into this error. He does not know the finer points of self-affirmation. To brag in a Facebook status is one thing. When this happens it is then the job of his friends to tell him that they are pleased as punch that he did not skip leg day. The same applies to pictures. One may know perfectly well that he or she is the most beautiful creature to walk the earth and that this fact is yet unrecognized by peers. This must be remedied. The key lies in how this is done. As the old poem goes:

The world deserves to see

The beauty that is me

So they can all agree

A beauty’s what I be

Note that there is no mention of the one who posts the photo being included in the people who agree. All the best translations render the word after “so” as “they.” The penance required of those who violate this standard scarcely bears thinking about.

For many, the story is still more tragic. In one case, a fellow read one of his online acquaintances’ “about me” pages. Needless to say, it did not end well. He argued that things on Facebook were written to be read – a bold, if foolish statement. The judge was not amused. The man is now being detained with other such creeps.

Though there is general consensus regarding “about me” cases, the council has been divided over secondary matters, such as grammar. More progressive members of the council have dismissed capitalization as archaic and discriminatory. Either every letter should be capitalized, or none. Capitalizing one word and not another or separating ideas with punctuation is looked upon as cruel – the vestiges of patriarchal oppression.

One must admire their persistence. They have continued to attend the council in spite of being declared anathema. Upon receiving a notice of excommunication, they answered with a defiant “tl;dr,” but I digress.

As stated earlier, there is as of yet no official stance on many of the most important issues. What matters most is what the courts are doing in the interim. What is to be told to the poor soul who has confessed to attempting an online conversation with one of his female friends? Can we turn a blind eye to such travesties? The man is clearly obsessed. Will the council stand for this? I, for one, cannot. One day, we allow the messaging reprobate to walk free, the next he’s sending game requests, liking eight year old photos, and setting fire to schools. We will reap the whirlwind.

While the lost millennial sheep wander without a lamp, the risk becomes greater that they will give up altogether. Such a thought brings to mind images of quotes not retweeted, selfies not liked, memes not shared. No one will know where her friend had coffee in the morning or what shoes she was wearing. Friendships will die – society will collapse. We will have to live with the knowledge that this was our doing. This was completely preventable. All we had to do was repost to prove we didn’t hate each other. How will we know that without rules? A social media guidebook is needed now more than ever.

By Caleb Chandler

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