Miss Netiquette’s guide to dealing with your online frenemies

Miss Netiquette's guide to dealing with frenemies online

The Internet is a wonderful if confusing world – and that’s why you sometimes need to be pointed in the right direction. Lucky for you, some of us spend far too much time online and logged in – and that wealth of experience translates into some social networking know-how. Consider Miss Netiquette (who you can reach at netiquette@digitaltrends.com) your guide to Web manners, and this week, she’s going to give you some tips on how you can enjoy yourself on social media even when your friends are acting particularly evil.

You know the expression “make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver, the others gold?” It’s a really nice sentiment, but sometimes your old friends aren’t so much gold as gold diggers and your new friends are less silver and more just total knob jobs. And even people you really, genuinely like can still do something mean or mischievous to you online – anyone who came of age in the earlier days of Facebook probably has a few stories of good-hearted Internet sabotage that resulted in embarrassment.

Should you freak out at your friends’ dubious Internet shenanigans or just roll with it? And should you de-friend that old co-worker you went out to lunch with a few times before you found out she called you “the human boring machine?” Every situation is different, but hopefully my advice to you readers can help.

Dear Miss Netiquette: My friends think it’s hilarious to recommend me for all sorts of bizarro skills on LinkedIn, like “water balloon juggling” and “smizing.” And I get it, but I’m looking for a job and I don’t want my potential employers to think I don’t take things seriously because I now have four separate recommendations for “party rocking.” What should I do? 

If you’ve already asked your friends to stop this nonsense and they refuse, you might have to resort to some backhanded tactics. And you really need to get this stuff off of your LinkedIn. Even though it’s fairly harmless and potential employers who get grumpy about having a few goofy recommendations probably won’t be fun to work for, getting a job is no joke, and if you need to look serious and bland on LinkedIn to land one, that’s what you need to do.

SO – you can blackmail your friends in just a few easy steps! Sign up for another LinkedIn account using a throwaway email address. Upload your photo and then add your friends, but use a silly nickname instead of your first name. This will trick your friends into thinking you’ve lightened up about everything. Then, start recommending them for skills that are obvious sexual innuendos. Repeat until they break.

Of course, that will only work if your friends have professional ambitions. If they’re in jobs that don’t require LinkedIn, they’ll be harder to deal with. You may have to just stop calling them until they stop being so callous; nothing is “fun and games” when it can seriously mess up your chances of making the money you need to live.

Dear Miss Netiquette: So, I have an ex-friend who used to have Facebook but she’s put it “on pause.” So my question to you is can she still see my profile if she unlocks herself? My profile is set to private but we were friends at the time she deactivated her account and when I try to look her up she does not appear.

Yes, she can still see your profile if she reactivates her account. But if you know the email address she used to make the account, you can still block her even if her account is deactivated. That way, when she reactivates, she won’t be able to see you. Easy solution!

Dear Miss Netiquette: I was on Twitter the other day and I checked my grade school friend’s account. We stopped being friends last year after we went to different high schools. I was just looking to see what she’s up to but I saw some tweets that I know were about me! Should I tweet back at her?

No. What your ex-friend did is called a subtweet and it’s some immature, petty behavior. It might infuriate you to see what she’s written, but if you respond, she’ll feel gratified rather than embarrassed. I’d block her account and move on with your life. She sounds like someone you were lucky to drift apart from. And if you really want to address the situation, a guaranteed way to make her understand the depth of her immaturity is to confront her face-to-face in a polite way. Next time you see her, you should very simply say, “By the way – saw your subtweet.” Being called out on your subtweet – in real life, no less – is an ultimate embarrassment. 

Dear Miss Netiquette: This is going to sound weird but this guy who I got in a huge fight with a few years ago now likes EVERYTHING I do online. He likes basically every Facebook status and every Instagram picture. And you might think that he’s doing this to make up for our fight, but the thing is that he is still a huge jerk in real life to me and everyone else. Like really angry. So… I think he’s doing this to be mean?

There are a few things that could be going on here. Even though you say he’s still surly, maybe he is actually just bad at being nice in public and got used to his angry persona, and he’s trying to make up for it when he’s by himself by being so affectionate online.

But if you say he’s still a jerk, you’re probably right… he might be hate-liking all your stuff.

Honestly, I gave a similar answer above, but the best way to deal with people who are being mean on social media is to try and ignore them at first. Don’t give them anything. Now, some cyber bullies will still persist and then it’s absolutely a good idea to contact authorities, or parents and teachers if you’re younger. But if this guy is just creepily liking all your stuff, just let him do it and don’t comment. That takes a lot of effort and hopefully the novelty of engaging in such bizarrely subtle psychological warfare will fade.

Dear Miss Netiquette: I just lost a lot of weight and started at a new school. These super mean girls from my old school just made an Instagram account of old pictures of me when I was chubby and called it “Fat (My Name)” and then they started following all the cool kids from my new school! What should I say to them? 

OK, sometimes you shouldn’t ignore bullies, and you shouldn’t ignore these sociopaths. Immediately report this to Instagram, and encourage other people (anyone you know with an account) to do the same. Instagram should yank the profile. But you should take screenshots of the pictures to make sure you have them on file as evidence, because you should also bring this to the school administration.

This is clear-cut bullying and the perpetrators should receive a substantial punishment, ideally suspension. They still (well, probably still) be awful to you, but they should not be able to publicly humiliate you like that and still attend your school. And I am so sorry that happened to you. Remember: High school is terrible, and college will be way more fun. With IQs this low, those girls probably won’t get that far…

Social Media

Instagram’s new Close Friends List lets you decide who should see your Story

Have a story to share, but don't want to send it to everyone? Instagram now offers a close friends list that will allow users to share stories with only the users included on that list.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Social Media

Survey of teens says social media lets them connect with friends and get support

A survey of teenagers shows the ways that social media sites can be beneficial to them, like feeling more connected to their friends, the ability to interact with different people, and as a venue to get support when they are struggling.
Social Media

Hotel chain offers an Instagram ‘sitter’ who will post photos for you

If the pressure to post stunning Instagram photos is ruining your vacations, then how about hiring a local Instagram influencer to do the job for you while you go off and enjoy yourself? Well, such a service now exists.
Social Media

Ride the rails and share your stories with Amtrak’s new social media residency

Amtrak is looking for travel fans with a knack for telling stories on social media. The new Amtrak social media residency program wants amateur travelers to share photos, video, and written content from aboard long-distance trips.
Social Media

Hangouts isn’t being hung out to dry in 2020, Google says

According to a report, Google may shut down Google Hangouts by 2020. While Hangouts was once Google's top-tier messaging app, the app has since been neglected in favor of Android Messages.
Social Media

Tumblr bans nudity to create ‘a safe place for creative expression’

Tumblr will soon no longer allow images with adult content. The company says the change is one that's designed to help more creators feel comfortable sharing on the platform, but admits the change won't happen overnight.
Social Media

Members can share the same Story with Facebook’s new Group Stories

Facebook Group members can now view and share Group Stories. Unlike the Stories for an individual user, the new tool allows members to contribute to the same Group Story, if the feature isn't turned off by an admin.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.
Mobile

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.