Life + Arts

How to avoid social networking faux pas

People, know this: Social networking does not mean you can somehow forget to use English. Not a day goes by without people making a regular fool of themselves by saying, “just got back from the mall went 2 get some cute pumps lol hope their going to fit well” with no punctuation, commas or even capital letters. Don’t make yourself look like an even bigger idiot; it only takes another 30 seconds to make your updates borderline acceptable.

The biggest cardinal sin you can commit has to be misspelling names.  It’s social networking, people.  The name is — see if you can follow me here — right there on the screen.  You can literally copy and paste it right into whatever meaningless post you happen to be working on.

The next mistake is needless punctuation. If you don’t know how to use a comma, don’t use one.  It’s better to look like you’re rambling than to look like you’re trying to be smart. The quickest way to look stupid is to try and appear to be smart. In the same regard, don’t overuse exclamation marks. Unless you’re really that excited about that person’s birthday (no one is ever 20 exclamation marks of excitement).

Use the same tense throughout your message or update. Allow the things that happened in the past to stay in the past.  There’s not a lot to say about this one, unfortunately; it’s too situational to give a concrete set of instructions.  Just try to keep it in one tense.  Don’t hop around from the past to future tense.  You’re not Marty McFly; you’re just retarded.

And last, but under no circumstances least: homophones.  “They’re,” “their,” and “there” are all different words, people.  They all have completely different meanings. “They’re” means they are; “there” is a place; “their” is used to describe possession. When words are misused, it not only detracts from the original meaning, it makes you look stupid. Not the cute kind of stupid, but the “how did you pass fourth grade” kind of stupid.

A simple way to avoid this confusion is to look up song lyrics. While lyrics don’t use the best grammar, they can point you in the right direction for what word use.

Almost as bad as “there,” “their” and “they’re” is the misuse of “to,” “too” and “two.”  Using “two” is pretty obvious — it’s a number, so whenever you have more than one but less than three of something, use it.  When you’re trying to use “too,” think of it as the word “also.” If it doesn’t sound good when replaced by “also,” chances are you shouldn’t be using it. For almost everything else, use “to.” It’s used too often to really describe when to use it, but come on — you’re not retarded, figure it out.

Another quite obvious mistake is the misuse of the words “its” and “it’s.” It’s actually means it is; use it whenever you want to replace the two words.  Its, on the other hand, is the possessive form of it, so it’s used when describing a feature something possesses.

Most importantly, keep it simple. You’re not writing The Great Gatsby, so when you want to complement someone or make a joke think of the simplest way to say it.  And if you don’t know how to write it, don’t worry — just don’t post it on the Internet.

So, follow this handy guide to make your posts the highlight of your social network. And it’s not just for you; make sure to make your friends feel terrible about using bad grammar. That way you can teach them and make fun of them at the same time.


  • I especially hate it when people write "then" instead of "than". Bad thing is most people who do that don't know the difference between the words or even know that "than" exists.

  • "You can literally copy and paste it right into whatever meaningless post you happen to be working on."

    Literally? You mean electronically. And that "right" should've been cut.

    "You’re not Marty McFly; you’re just retarded."

    Manners. Cliche. And you've offended the disabled. And that semicolon should be a comma. Congratz!

    "You’re not writing The Great Gatsby"

    No comment necessary.

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