‘This Changed My Life!’ and Other Deceiving Social Media Jargon
By Garvita Khybri
“Garvita!” exclaimed my father on a sunny afternoon looking up from his Samsung mobile phone, “Why do people converse in superlatives? I never do! Do you think I am a misfit on the internet?” he asked. I looked at him, my eyes cringing to avoid the sun, and said, “Papa, it’s just a confused culture and you’re fine, you don’t need to worry.”
I mulled over his question for a long time. He went back to Dehradun and I turned to the internet to investigate his question.
We live in a day and age where “late-night shenanigans” are talked about, “swag” is celebrated, “my bad” is a sentence, and hashtags are meant to simplify conversations; except that their sheer numbers only confuse the intent.
Generally, as a species, we avoid exaggerated emotional outpourings in person. But online, we routinely claim to have been ‘reduced to tears’ by YouTube clips, Facebook posts, newspaper articles, and inspirational GIFs. That made you cry? Honestly?
It’s in vogue, I deduced.
OMG, I DIED!
Yes, we die virtually, many times. William Shakespeare says in Julius Caesar, that “…cowards die many times before their death. The valiant never taste of death but once…”(sic). In our world, however, we die multiple times, some times ‘for reaaalllll’ too. It’s almost a filler for anything remotely entertaining. Yet, we resurrect each time with hyperbolic musings such as “I literally died”, “RIP me”, or “ded” (because the death happened so fast that I didn’t have the time to type “a”).
Because Everything is Awesome!
Praise has reached deranged heights because nothing’s allowed to simply be “very good” or even “great” anymore. We’ve ramped up the hyperbole: it’s amazing; it’s awesome. We focus on the personal impact: it’ll rock your world; it’ll change your life.
Nothing, and I repeat nothing will beat the effectiveness of just this word. It can begin, or end a conversation, become a caption to a photograph or work as a sentence. ‘This’ is the power of the overrated language of the internet.
Yaassss, This is the Best-est, Crazy-est Thing EVER
A simple affirmative isn’t good enough, we have to convert everything into a form of entertainment.
Only the most bombastic and hyperbolic descriptions will now do, even if they are in jest. It is a consequence of the social media clutter that we live in; anything subtle or calm will fail to cut through the noise.
After my little investigation, I began to understand why my father feels out of place in the virtual world. This exaggerated world intrigues you at first but becomes outmoded very fast. My social media foot too is semi-hyperbolic and this inquest has given me enough reasons to go back to referring to myself as “I” instead of the hideous “meh”.
(This story was first published on The Quint.)