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Show of hands: how many of you have ever been in a dispute with another person? OK, OK. I saw quite a few hands go up. Those of you with your hands up, how many of you have actually addressed and resolved that dispute directly with that person. I’m hoping that your hands are still up. If not, this post is for you.

Lately, I’ve noticed a sort of fascinating phenomenon, one unique to the social media experiment of today. Rather than attempting to resolve issues with one another, lots of users have resorted to using sites like Facebook to post ambiguous and indirect material. Well, since I have appointed myself an all-knowing expert of social media (OK, that’s not a real title or an achievement. But let me have this one), I have compiled a few reasons why that’s generally a bad idea. Enjoy. Or not. Whatever.

1. Your followers will likely make wrong guesses about the subject of your indirect status. This one is pretty simple. When folks don’t know who you’re addressing in this vague stats, they start assuming. Some people assume you’re talking about a co-worker, others a former friend, and others still may assume you’re referring to that one chick who you claim is out to destroy you. Whatever the case, your vagueness has an ability to create a certain level of discontent and resentment among your followers toward the person they assume you’re talking about, whether they are actually the true subject or not. Getting everyone’s anger pointed in the right direction (if, in fact, that was your intention in the first place) can be prevented by avoiding silly indirect comments. Oh, and just keeping this issue to yourself and not posting it at all can work wonders, too. What a concept.

2. Indirect statuses usually create more problems than they solve. Directly related to the first point, vague trash talking on Facebook does little (and by “little”, I mean “nothing”) to resolve whatever issue you’re having with your anonymous enemy. You might feel good about posting your gripe, but you have literally done nothing to actually fix the problem. Worse yet, if the anonymous enemy wises up to the fact that the stat is about them (or, as stated in the previous point, they assume it’s about them), you’ve created a much bigger problem.

3. Intentionally or not, your indirect statuses make you look like an attention seeker. Because people are inquisitive by nature, it stands to reason that your indirect statuses will generate curiosity from your followers about who you’re talking about and what happened between you and your anonymous subject. The attention you get from that status will likely be seen as a calculated attempt to get said attention. People will begin looking at you in the same way they would a juvenile. Which leads me to the next point…

4.  …people will probably start hating you. Perhaps a better way to say this is that they’ll probably start hating the online-version of you. With that, comes a loss of respect. With that loss of respect comes a whole lot of unfriending on their part, blocking you, or removing your from their Newsfeeds (which,  if you really are being an attention seeker, is a bad thing). While you might still have a legion of followers who subscribe to your nonsense, I suspect most people will tune you out. Or, worst yet…

5. …people will stop taking you seriously. If ever there was a real life version of “crying wolf”, this would be it. By spending so much of your social media space indirectly complaining about people or problems, you run the risk of numbing your friends to any real problems you may have. Assuming, of course, they haven’t already unfriended you.

There you have it. All this talking (writing?) boils down to a simple point: if you have a problem with a person, address it with that person…or not at all. Simple.

Please make your checks payable to Andre C. Louis.

– ACL

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