atom tips
atom tips

A brief guide to antisocial networking

12 Aug 2010
By atom42



1. pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.

2. seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.

3. of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society: a social event.

According to these descriptions of the word ‘social’, on a scale of one to ten, how social are you?

I would say I average around about a five or a six, moving steadily upwards to an seven or an eight if I’m around friends (or the fabulous atoms), perhaps even pushing a nine if alcohol is added into the mix.

Despite this, there are some times when I swing to the other end of the scale – when my social aspirations are closer to a two or a three – when I’m feeling distinctly antisocial. I might be in a hurry, fuzzy-brained in the early morning or towards bedtime, or just erring towards a more solitary existence for a little while.

Safety tips for antisocial networkers

So what becomes of the antisocial brain when confronted with the world of social media? When we stumble, bleary-eyed or cantankerous onto our favourite social network, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or anywhere else? This is where antisocial networking comes into play – here are a few tips to keep your antisocial networking stints healthy and inoffensive.

1. Switch off Facebook ‘chat’…

…so friends can’t sneak up on you with an unsolicited IM and prompt a hasty and potentially antisocial response. This is easy – just click on the ‘chat’ box at the bottom right-hand corner, click on ‘options’ and tick the ‘offline’ circle. But remember – Facebook will save this choice for future logins unless you change it back again.

2. Switch on Google Mail Goggles

Some of the most inappropriate messages are sent by people who are under the influence of alcohol. It might seem funny/poetic/of dire importance at the time, but when day breaks the receiver might see the message as distinctly antisocial. Google’s Mail Goggles is a breathalyser test for your Gmail. When you enable the feature, it prompts you to solve simple mathematical questions before sending emails you are liable to regret.

3. Commit friendicide

If you’re anything like most social networkers, you’ve accumulated far too many ‘friends’ on every one of your networks – people you struggle to even recognise, let alone want to hear intimate details or inane chatter from. This will only irritate you further if you access your network at the wrong moment. It’s vital, therefore, to carry out a regular ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ cull of the more annoying and less necessary connections in your networks. This way, you can expect to find only fresh and interesting messages and updates when you log in, reducing your risk of lashing out in an overly antisocial manner.

4. Step away from the computer

If your efforts at being politely antisocial ever fail and you feel the urge to post a malicious or spiteful message, update or post, step away from the computer immediately – you’re playing with fire. Bad moods don’t translate well onto social media sites and you WILL regret it later. Write down your thoughts on a piece of paper, throw the piece of paper in the bin, and come back and play nicely when you’re feeling a bit more… social.

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