Off Your Face(book): What Not To Do When You're Drunk On Social Media

Using Facebook when you're pissed is a dangerous game . Fortunately for you I have already tapped my toe against some of the most common social landmines, so you don't have to.
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Using Facebook when you're pissed is a dangerous game . Fortunately for you I have already tapped my toe against some of the most common social landmines, so you don't have to.

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The consumption of alcohol has been an important social pastime for about 6000 years. Social media has been similarly important for about 6 years. The juxtaposition of the two activities, then, can be a fantastic confluence of ancient and modern - each complimenting the other, increasing the pleasure the other provides.

Well, at least that's what I tell myself as I cheerfully swing the lid of my laptop up, glass in hand, second bottle uncorked - ready to fuck myself over. Truth be told, using social media drunk is more often than not a high speed train journey calling at Shame and Recrimination. Fortunately for you, reader, I have already tapped my toe against some of the most common social landmines, so you don't have to.

To insure against total catastrophe follow these key guidelines:

DON'T announce you're drunk when you log in.

If you're drunk enough you might think, as I am often wont to do,  that it's somehow 'nobler' to tell everyone in sight how cataclysmically hammered you are so that you "can just be real with them" and "quit fronting" (indeed, this sort of half 'amateur psychotherapist', half 'Kanye-talks-to-the crowd' turn of phrase should be a warning sign that your judgement is perhaps not at its sharpest).

Honesty may well be a workable policy in real life contexts, where the signs of drink (e.g. slurring, manically saying lol in answer to any question, smelling of wine out of context) will betray you anyway.

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Not so on social media! One of the absolute benefits of our atomised, virtual lives is the lack of any eyewitnesses to our shame! Ask any 'cam pervert and he'll tell you. No one on the internet knows anything unless you tell them. On the internet, no one can hear you scream. Unless you're the fucking idiot who types 'aaaaahhhhhh' into that box and presses 'share', that is.

Yes, your struggle with your own inebriation will result in some pretty erratic orthography that may raise suspicion but y'never know - you might get away with it undetected. However, you definitely won't if you show your (shakey) hand straight away and let anything you're seen doing subsequently be judged in light of your own misguided admission.

DON'T 'like' without looking

On the whole, I’m a cheerful, rather than a mean drunk. Particularly sat in my own home, where the usual agents of aggravation - queues for the bar, sticky floors, the public  - are gloriously absent. As such, I’ve found that my drunken engagement with social media typically relies on a distorted image of myself as a kind of social sultan, magnanimously dispensing his approval of other people and their lives through 'likes' and chirpy comments.

However, such a blanket reaction of patronising warmth towards all and sundry WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT THE SCREEN HALF OF THE TIME also increases one's chances of 'liking' the wrong sort of thing. One minute you're just showing your appreciation of someone's mediocre lunch photographed in sepia, the next you're giving the thumbs up to Sam from that 2007 call centre summer job's rant about Polish people using the NHS or accidentally seconding someone's call for a total blockade of Gaza.

If this does happen - take a deep breath then simply 'unlike'. But, really, you must 'unlike' IMMEDIATELY in case your memory betrays you on tomorrow and your digital digit is forever left ratifying the incontinent musings of racists.

'Liking' is like driving, folks. If you're going to do it drunk you gotta reallllly concentrate, OKAY?

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DON'T try and start a 'debate'

This is the internet equivalent of getting lairy with the bouncer. You wouldn't do it sober, now, would you?  You may think you're getting into some high-minded debate with a likeminded equal but, check yourself - are you *actually* crafting a devastating Christopher Hitchens-esque riposte or are you just clumsily squaring up to the Dalai Lama on Twitter (I once typed a reply to one of his pearls of wisdom that read “but maybe people are just bastards? #justsayin” but thankfully recanted before smashing ‘enter’)?

DON'T get overfamiliar or sarcastic with people you don't really know (or don't know anymore)

Just because you were tight buds in A-level maths or next door neighbours in your first year of uni or you're 'internet buddies' who enjoy good online rapport, now is not the time to retrace your social footsteps and use Facebook chat or someone's photos as a springboard to say something like “this haircut made me think you were gay for ages!!”

I havediscovered a tactic that always works well in avoiding this sort of gauche spamming of unsuspecting acquaintances is to firmly say to oneself "Not now. If you still really want to speak to them/say this tomorrow, then feel free". You never will.