How to Treat Social Media like a Video Game for Maximum Fun

You are drunk and also on amphetamines while walking through Times Square. You overhear people talking in groups as you wander. You do not know any of the people around you, but, being chemically uninhibited and amped up, you decide to walk into the nearest groups of people and join in their conversations, impulsively responding to whatever they say by shouting whatever first comes to your mind inappropriately loudly. Given what chemicals are currently flowing through your bloodstream, most of the things you say end up being wildly inappropriate non-sequiturs that don’t have the benefit of “context” or “dignity” or “coherence”—you are running from one group of naive tourists to another, shouting about boners, and leaving a trail of bewildered bystanders in your wake. Incapable of feeling your face, and perceiving yourself as a cartoon character displaced from television and somehow placed among the three-dimensional living, you scamper wildly around, and though nobody who sees you will likely have an immediately positive opinion of you, they will never forget you (barring Alzheimer’s or obliviousness to your presence due to paying more attention to the gigantic billboards and flashing lights).

This is how I treat social media. I do not care about optimizing my brand, but optimizing my fun. I treat Facebook and Twitter as video games. They are extremely unpredictable open-ended text adventures where I am less likely to get eaten by a grue in the dark and more likely to have sex with attractive strangers. Old-school videogames had the very clear motivating factor of getting a higher score, and thus of getting your name (or representative three letters) as high as possible on the leaderboard. Facebook and Twitter are the same thing. Post relentlessly without regard to how unseemly you may appear. Tweet with abandon. Comment recklessly. Look at your Facebook news feed and consider every new status a creative writing prompt.

Every single person on Twitter who you know in real life will unfollow you immediately, and probably begin to worry about your mental health. This is a good thing.

Accept every friend request unless it is clearly from a bot. Friend every single person who likes one of your comments on a stranger’s status. Go to the “people you may know” page and send friend requests to everybody on it. As more people accept, the contents of this page will change, and you will thus trick Facebook into thinking you know more people than you actually do.

Whenever you receive a notification that somebody has accepted your friend request, immediately post on their wall. Do not think about what you are going to type before you begin typing. Just click on their comment field, start hitting buttons on your keyboard, and, when finished hitting buttons, hit “share” or whatever the fuck they call it these days.

Check to see who has birthdays every day, and post nonsensical gobbledygook on their wall to wish them happy birthday like “hpadyabrithdy” or “asdhpfoihasdfBUTTZ” and see if they are still friends with you the next day.

I don’t, however, recommend bringing actual Facebook video games into your omnidirectional harassment. While comical madness in text is tolerable, and those who don’t like it can pretty easily ignore you, sending people invites to play Facebook games with you is a level of harassment that seems somehow too much. Similarly, don’t make strange, indulgent events (A  DAY OF BUTTS—CLICK ATTEND IF YOU HAVE A BUTT) and invite everyone you’re friends with. These things lack the personal touch of dadaistic harassment through text, and will seem like you’re just half-assing it, putting in less effort to annoy more people.

If you’re lucky, you’ll eventually find someone else on Facebook who is just as into nonsensical dada flarf crap as you are. I’ve found this in the form of Steve Roggenbuck, Buddhist vegan poet who’s just really into a good flarf tweet, if you know what I mean. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find people who find the interactions between the two of you to be entertaining. A great stunt to pull in this situation that you can’t manage any other way is to have a conversation with your partner in crime entirely through posts on somebody else’s wall. Tag each other in the posts and converse through successive wallposts, completely ignoring the comment threads that may appear on these posts.

Finally, hail Satan.

Poncho Peligroso is the 2011 Poet Laureate of the Internet for life. He is a writer/director/actor/yoyoer/poet/ghost/bee/egg who rides atop a stallion made of ethereal flame.

From The Tangential archives: February 2011

Ten Opening Paragraphs for a Review of Jordan Castro’s New Books

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“Readers who have been craving a comprehensive examination of the inner lives of pooping poets will not want to miss Jordan Castro’s new books Young Americans and if i really wanted to feel happy i’d feel happy already.”

“Jordan Castro is one of the the Buckeye State’s most promising young poets, but unfortunately it seems unlikely that this year’s Ohioana Poetry Award will go to feeling so retarded/ staring out a window/ at a nice-looking tree/ navigating the internet/ beneath warm blankets/ fall in ohio.”

“In creative writing, there’s a thin line between striving for simplicity and feigning intellectual disability.”

“When the literary historians of the 21st century are tracing the emergence of what might come to be known as the ‘ironic macho’ movement, they’ll surely cite Jordan Castro, the author of such lines of poetry as what are the long-term effects of touching my moustache so frequently and thought ‘i look too good to be doing this shit’ while laying in fetal position on bedroom floor and crying.”

“I recently passed on a story submitted to my site Unreality House, telling the author that ‘This makes me curious about this character, but it feels like a minor episode taken from a larger story—it doesn’t really do much on its own.’ After reading Jordan Castro’s story ‘The Last, And,’ it occurred to me that perhaps I’d been dismissing an entire genre.”

“This morning I read a short story by Nancy Hale that explored the inner world of an American youth circa 1934. She had never imagined such violent sensations as beat at her; inside she was like the summer itself—sultry and fiery, and racked by instantaneous thunderstorms. This afternoon, I read the poem ‘Young Americans’ by Jordan Castro. I feel incredibly high/ after ingesting adderall, marijuana, vicoprofen, and alcohol/ and linking a recent publication on my twitter feed.”

“Whether or not he succeeds, Jordan Castro has made a bold stab at lifting the mantle of coffee-as-personal-brand from the shoulders of Agent Cooper.”

“When you read a lot of alt lit, you might find yourself wondering why you’re reading this flat, unemotional narrative instead of more traditional, colorful literature. Then you hit a passage that’s somehow snuck in from that world—like, say, nighttime is my mirror/ and i don’t know how to face it—and you remember why you needed a break from trad lit.”

“When I Instagrammed a photo of my iPad featuring a page from Jordan Castro’s book Young Americans and then, while I read the book, the author liked my photo and then sent me an e-mail saying ‘Thank you for posting re Instagram,’ I felt as though I’d been baptized in the Church of Alt Lit.”

“Jordan Castro’s if i really wanted to feel happy i’d feel happy already is the first book-length work I’ve ever read to feature exclusively ironic exclamation points.”

Jay Gabler