Social media was invented for attention. Why would we sign on if not to see what other people are doing? However, some social media users take it to a ridiculous level, like that guy who marks himself as “safe from the (terrible natural disaster)” that happened 200 miles from where he lives. Or the woman who posts, “Anyone else notice how bad the smog is? Worried it will damage my new (model of sports car her friends can't afford).”
Used properly, social media can be great. Unfortunately, its users too often embarrass themselves or maybe even cause harm to others. Members of a popular online forum recently tackled the question “what screams ‘I want attention' on social media?” After scrolling through more than 1,600 comments, we identified 15 of the worst offenders.
1. Using Kids as Props
Social media is crammed with photos and videos of adorable youngsters wearing carefully curated outfits or enjoying a picture-perfect day at the beach. Well, as perfect as a day can be when a parent's phone is always in your face, or when the result is sometimes “embarrassing or inappropriate.”
2. “Grief” Posts
Whether mourning the end of a romance or the death of a relative, these social media pros look absolutely stunning. (Fake tears don't mess up your makeup, after all.) The camera angle is perfect, too. Nothing like monetizing your sorrow for clicks, huh? Another commenter said their sister does this when famous people pass away.
3. Public Generosity
One forum member snarled about people pretending to be charitable just to post their interactions on social media for likes. Another commenter knows someone who gives away money every Christmas, but only if the recipient consents to be filmed for social media. We agree: That's exploitation, not generosity.
4. Posting Yourself Crying
Why is the latest influencer on your newsfeed crying? Let us count the reasons! A relative is sick. Poverty exists. They didn't get that promotion. They're having a bad day – leading us to another annoying and attention-seeking trend…
5. Hospital Photos
The IV in the arm. The hospital wristband. The blurred shot of the medical chart. These photos usually have a cryptic caption but no explanation for what's going on.
You probably know someone whose Facebook feed includes posts such as “going through a lot” or “every time I try, I fail.” But when well-wishers ask what's wrong, they won't answer. One forum user recalled a co-worker who posted this way and, when called on it, told commenters “that she didn't feel comfortable sharing.” Then why bring it up?
7. “Prank” Videos
Pranks are getting out of hand these days, with many of them verging into “criminal activity” territory. And how about those jerks who disguise themselves as store mannequins or dress as killer clowns to frighten passersby? You don't know what the people you're pranking have been through, and you never know if your “harmless prank” could lead to a traumatic response.
8. Nonstop Selfies
Also annoying: Those perfectly filtered photos with captions like, “I look terrible today” or “Why can't anyone date me?” If you want to share, just drop your selfie and go.
9. Lying About a Relationship
A friend who privately complains about a significant other may tell a different story on social media. One forum member hates posts about how amazing people's significant others are when the relationships they're in are clearly toxic.
10. “Quitting” Social Media
One forum member does not want to read a post about how someone is tired of social media and is planning on quitting it forever. Except that they invariably come back and continue posting updates.
11. Capitalizing on Your Special-Needs Kids
In theory, online platforms can help parents to connect and share resources, and possibly educate non-parents. Unfortunately, way too many just seem to want those sweet, sweet social media “likes,” forum members say.
12. Virtue Signaling
Why should we care how much money you give, and wouldn't a true supporter just give without expecting any attention in return? Even worse is “claiming to be pro-everything-that's-trending, but not actually knowing anything about the topic,” another commenter said.
13. Complaining About Fatigue
One forum user can't stand those who constantly post about how tired they are. Bonus annoyance points for those who use hashtags like #busymomma or #girlboss or #stressedbutblessed. We get it: You're the hardest-working person who ever existed. Excuse us now while we plan your parade route.
14. Pictures of Food
Say it louder, for those in the back: Strangers don't care about your breakfast, your bento box, or your birthday dessert. Stop with the cupcake selfies, already. P.S. No one cares about your intermittent fasting, either.
15. “Body Positivity” Posts
You know that friend who always complains about how “fat” they are, or the gym buddy who complains about how much work his abs still need? Too many of these folks pull the same stuff online.
Donna Freedman spent 18 years as a newspaper reporter, despite her lack of a college degree, before quitting to go freelance. After leaving an abusive marriage, she went broke while supporting a disabled adult child during the protracted divorce. On the bright side, she was also earning a university degree on full scholarship; during that time her essay, “Surviving (And Thriving) On $12,000 a Year” went viral. Ultimately, MSN Money hired her to create their Smart Spending blog, which jump-started her personal finance career. Donna is a money generalist, but her favorite topic is how to have the best possible life on the money you currently have without losing your dignity or your hope for a more solvent future. She believes that Star Trek and Star Wars fans can coexist peacefully, that you shouldn't have to pick sides when it comes to Marvel or DC, and that some zombie apocalypse survival skills can also help those struggling in an inflationary economy. Donna found true love in midlife and lives with her fella in Anchorage, Alaska.