It’s almost the end of January, and you’ve already broken whatever resolutions you vowed to keep this year. That’s because most of them require you to do something like eat better, exercise more or electrocute yourself every time you want a cigarette.
If you really want to improve your behavior or habits, you have to start small. Prove to yourself that you can tackle the big problems in your life by starting with more manageable ones. Instead of trying to bench press double your body weight or only eat foods that taste like they were fermented in a compost heap, take on some resolutions that tackle your social media habits instead.
Since my resolutions have already failed (thanks for nothing, Shake Weight), I’ve decided to adopt some of the following for my Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts instead. Maybe you’ll want to follow my lead.
1. Be less vague.
Social media lets anyone share innermost thoughts and questions with the world and get answers from real people that showcase the true spirit of human philosophy. How are you going to solve life’s mysteries when you pose questions on Facebook and Twitter like “What’s up?” Twitter doesn’t just need a maximum character limit. It needs a minimum character limit so people don’t sound like drooling lobotomy patients.
I rarely have this problem. If anything (and I’m sure my editors will back me up on this) my posts are way too long. Thank goodness Facebook has an automatic cutoff on published posts. Otherwise my friends’ feeds would look like the opening scroll of a Star Wars movie that talks about the latest reason I’m mad at my Starbucks barista.
2. Stop posting pictures from live shows.
One of the greatest shutdowns I’ve ever witnessed happened while watching comedian Dylan Moran of “Black Books” and “Shaun of the Dead” perform live. He spotted someone in the crowd taking a picture of him with their phone, and looked right at them. “Don’t do that,” he said. “Just live in the moment.”
For people using every ounce of their energy to entertain a crowd, it’s annoying to be hit with blinding camera flashes. Plus, posting those pictures just makes people who aren’t at the show jealous they don’t have the money and patience to deal with Ticketmaster.
I admit that I’ve committed this social sin on more than one occasion. However, I’m happy to say I’ve kept this resolution since the start of 2016. I haven’t been to a show yet this year, but it still counts.
3. Don’t post old stories and make them sound like they just happened.
A lot of people get their news from social media, and it’s easy to trip someone up by giving them false information. If you come across a story that happened months ago, there’s no reason to share it as if it’s breaking news. It makes you look like Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb & Dumber.” Remember when he looked at a framed newspaper from 1969 that reads “Man walks on moon” and then loudly announced “Hey everybody! We’ve landed on the moon!”? You don’t want to be that guy.
Part of my job is keeping people informed, so posting a link to a story that’s way past its prime would be counterproductive. That being said, feel free to check out the past stories I’ve written for CNET on my author page.
4. If you have to use #TMI, don’t post it.
Some people seem to think the hashtag #TMI magically erases the awkwardness of whatever they are about to write.
- Etiquette guide to Apple’s new emojis: Don’t hug the middle finger!
- Will you heart Facebook’s new emojis?
- Donald Trump to skip Fox debate after consulting Twitter
If you find yourself wondering if a post requires a #TMI, chances are good you shouldn’t post it. There’s no important knowledge that can be gained from describing how your feet smell after a long walk or how long it’s been since you’ve washed your bathtub.
I can’t recall a time when I’ve used the #TMI hashtag except in jest. I’m already a very shy person who worries about being judged. Posting pictures of odd skin blemishes or announcing that I’m unable to find the source of a strange odor in my apartment would only add to that heavy psychological burden.
5. No more pictures of food. EVER!
No one needs to keep an official photo record of what they eat unless they’re in danger of being poisoned by a jealous king. Plus, have mercy on us dieters. If you’re trying to watch what your weight, the last thing you want to see is a picture of a nice juicy steak or a mountainous ice cream sundae. These food posters might as well post an update that says, “Ha ha! I have better metabolism than you!”
I’m bad about doing this, especially when I go back home to New Orleans. While I have posted the occasional picture of a giant, juicy roast beef po-boy from Guy’s or Frankie and Johnnie’s, it’s never became a habit. That’s probably because I don’t use Instagram.
Got any social media resolutions to add to the list? Tell us in the comments, but remember, no #TMI.