What’s With the Subtweet?
How to Save Your Friendships in a World of Social Media
Living in a world with constant connection to our friends through social media should ensure stronger and long-lasting friendships. However, in a time when subtweeting and unfollowing are our forms of confrontation, this just is not the case.
Facebook was created in 2004, but it was not until about 2009 that it became popular. Ever since then it’s rare to meet someone who does not use at least some form of social media. According to a 2016 study by Pew Research Center, Facebook is still the most popular with Instagram and Snapchat right behind it. Next there’s Twitter and last Tumblr. With social media being such a big part of our lives people are more concerned about how many followers they have than true friends. While social media may be stunting the growth of new friends it also plays a big role in losing our existing friends.
Below is some advice on how-to live in a world saturated with social media and still keep your real-life friendships.
Don’t Subtweet. Ever. Just don’t do it.
Subtweeting is an informal term that Urban Dictionary describes as, “a tweet that mentions another person without using their actual username or name. Usually it is used for negative or insulting tweets”. I have been one to subtweet in the past and I could say from experience that it definitely ruins friendships. Subtweeting may seem like a good way to get out our anger or frustration when a problem does not seem big enough to confront the person with. But, it only creates more problems and extends a problem that wasn’t even that big to begin with. If it wasn’t bad enough to talk to the person about then it shouldn’t be enough to talk to the whole world about.
Look On the Bright Side. It’s probably not about you.
On the opposite side of subtweeting, there’s assuming that anything negative and indirect said on social media by a friend is about you. There have been times that I’ve tweeted something like “omg she’s so annoying!” and multiple of my friends came to me thinking it was about them when in reality I was tweeting about an annoying T.V character. Just like you are never supposed to assume something you hear without verifying it to avoid being gullible, you should never assume something is about you to avoid unnecessary anger. If you think something that a friend posted could be about you, talk to them and just ask without assuming or accusing them.
Spend Time in Person. Quality time really does help.
Sure, it’s great that we can stay in contact with our friends and family all day long. It’s great to have Facebook posts on your wall or Instagram collages dedicated to your friendship. However, this is not enough to keep your relationships alive and thriving. In order to keep a friendship people need to spend time together in real life and have conversations face-to-face. This interaction provides intimacy that could never be fulfilled via social media. Often time people are less authentic through social media, spending quality time in person allows for friends to `express themselves to each other; otherwise this would only be expressed via emojis.
Don’t Update Constantly. People don’t need live updates of your life.
Unless you’re on the quest of making a groundbreaking discovery, people don’t need to be immediately updated on every thing you’re doing or what is going on in your life. Not only does this create a level of annoyance for some people, it also makes for much less conversation friends in person. There have been countless times that on a holiday I see a family member and they tell me something fun they did and I cut them off mid-story to let them know that I already saw their extensive Facebook post and pictures of this same story. When you are constantly updating your social media for what you’re doing and whom you’re with, you are treating the whole world as your best friend and lose that special connection that you have to your real friends.
Work It Out IRL. Don’t post your drama for the world to read.
With social media being so popular today there are numerous Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram “fights” everyday. These could be about relationships, random drama, or seen more recently: politics. All of these arguments usually go further than either participant was planning but these messages are published for anyone to see. While it may be hard to resist starting a debate, or arguing with a girl when she posts a picture with your boyfriend, these things can be avoided or done in private. Doing these things could cause embarrassment for yourself and the other person and this will create friction causing both to become defensive. If you truly need to tell someone you disagree with them, consider doing it in person rather than online. Often, tones are misinterpreted through typed words and are received in a way that the other person didn’t mean it. To save these things from potentially ruining a relationship, consider expressing your feelings in person.
Living in a world where everyone is connected through social media at all times could be a very rewarding thing but it also has a lot of negative effects on real life friendships. Friends often begin to misread each other, talk poorly about each other, and see each other less face-to-face. Working on each of these things will help people to become better friends and still use their favorite social media platforms daily.