Friday, May 28, 2010

The Danger of the Douche

Isn’t social networking a glorious thing? Isn’t it the height of civilization? Doesn’t it make friendship an easy, breezy, commitment free blast? Won’t it keep you enlightened, but never frightened, by all the latest crazy fads hitting youtube? Don’t you feel good knowing the phrase ‘Facebook Stalking’ isn’t meant to sound disturbing?

But there remain hidden dangers – alarming risks we’re leaving ourselves open to. No, I am not referring to privacy. That old chestnut is a thing of the past – if you put a photo up it’s because you want it to be seen people, Facebook is a business why are we surprised they want to make money off the information we are willingly giving?

No, the real threat lies in the danger of the Douche. The Douche is the Trojan horse of the Facebook world. You decision to confirm their friendship will haunt you.

The Douche has gotten their wires crossed somewhere along the way, and found themselves believing Twitter and Facebook are the same things. They’re the ones that may have requested a Friend, but assumed they were getting a Follower. As a result they honestly believe you care about their thoughts, feelings and bowel movements. Then even worse than that… they start acting like John Mayer on crack, declaring philosophical insights with a knowing tone that implies we’re hanging on every word. Before you know it they're live-streaming their experience of sitting on a train and giving minute-by-minute coverage of a run-in with security at a department store as if hoping to give Perez Hilton a chance to cherry-pick his quotes.

It’s a rapid slippery slope, and the problem is when someone this self-obsessed and delusional gets going, it’s kind of mesmerizing. It is so hard to believe people this ridiculous exist that you need to keep checking in on them to assure yourself that it’s all true. Then you feel like enabler, then you judge yourself, and when you’re done judging yourself you go straight back to what you were doing before – judging the Douche.

Ways to spot the Douche:

1. They’re the type of person who will whip out their iPhone after being introduced to you, check the spelling of your name, and request your friendship on the spot

2. They will use Facebook to disseminate the link to a glowing review of their own work… provided by a childhood friend

3. They will offer up lines of poetry as they come to mind

4. They will provide occasional hints at their creative struggle, including the hurdles in completing their novel

5. They will announce they are compiling a manuscript of original poetry to send to publishers and ask if anyone can suggest some personal favourites from the Douche’s blog that should be included

6. They will reveal they are re-reading Nietzsche, then provide a quote as proof

7. They will give rueful accounts of being misunderstood by people who don’t see their talent

8. They're profile page will reveal via one line that 'i'm not like other girls/boys', but never explain why this is so... because as an avid fan you should just know they are an original soul who happens to dress and sound like a lot of other people eager to demonstrate how 'unique' they are

If you can spot them coming and ward off friendship*, then you will save time and frustration. Inevitably, the Douche unwittingly invites backlash upon themself. People can only take so much inane, condescending over-sharing before they lash out in anger via the comment button. It’s never nice, and it never works – it often leads to a Haiku to the Haters which begins the cycle once again.

Painefull Out

* = a term almost rendered meaningless online anyway

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