What is it, why people do it, and how to avoid it
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
Even if you don’t know what it is, you’ve probably seen it. That post that usually reads something like, “I just can’t believe a person would do that.” The vaguebook status can range from the short—such as a simple “ugh!”—to the long—for example, “Don’t you just hate it when certain people steal stuff from you and then act all like it was theirs to begin with? SMH.” (SMH, or “shaking my head,” is the hallmark of a serious vaguebook.)
UrbanDictionary.com’s top definition for this annoying practice describes it as “An intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help.” Vaguebookers put a feeling out there, with no real information to go with it. And depending on your age group or the maturity level of your social network, your Facebook News Feed might just be flooded with such updates—updates that aggravate the crotchety and inspire concern in the caring.
Vaguebooking can be particularly annoying because it piques your curiosity, sometimes making you feel like an invasive jerk for wanting to know more. You also don’t necessarily want to get involved with someone who is a 100 per cent drama shitshow, as vaguebookers tend to be. But sometimes the lure of a successful vaguebook is enough to send even the most stoic of friends to Facebook Messenger to send a well-meaning, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Nobody should be faulted for caring about their friends, but that’s exactly what vaguebooking does: it makes you care, just to be let down if the drama is boring, or worse, if the vaguebooker continues to be vague when prodded for details. If your situation looks like the latter case, then it could be that the vaguebooker is truly just an attention seeker; either that, or they don’t feel comfortable talking to you. This is why I propose two rules when deciding to engage with a vaguebooker.
First, only engage if they’re a friend who you would usually confide in, or who would confide in you. This way you can reasonably assume that your caring efforts will not go to waste.
My second rule is to avoid chronic vaguebookers. Some people genuinely like interacting with cryptic, attention-seeking statuses. If you’re not one of those people, then stay above the fray (unless, as per rule one, they are a good friend). Let the people who enjoy vaguebooking wallow in their vaguebookness. If it seems really juicy, maybe check the post later: sometimes a vague status can implode and become a truly entertaining public smear-fest.
Facebook is all about social voyeurism, and passive aggressively vague status updates illustrate this aspect of social media perfectly. Vaguebookers are putting themselves out there, and seeking validation: it’s up to you to decide whether you want to hide their updates altogether, lurk silently, or engage with the culprit, thus enabling them further.