When I was a teenager I found a lot of things exciting. I once cried when Duncan James took his shirt off on stage at Party in the Park. But nothing got my toes wriggling in my Blue socks (I’m a merchandise enthusiast) like that little red envelope signifying a MySpace notification.

You remember the feeling. You’ve spent hours selecting the perfect background print. You’re satisfied that you’ve drawn a sufficient amount of hearts with Paint on your profile picture without obscuring your heavy side fringe and whimsical distant stare. Your ‘about me’ section contains the most profound of James Blunt’s lyrics. You take a brief break to make up a dance routine to All Rise. And then it happens. You dial the internet back up, praying your mum doesn’t need the phone, and there, seven minutes later, pops up that little red envelope declaring someone thinks your profile is buff and your self-worth is consolidated.

While it was a sad day for all when Facebook overtook MySpace as the leading social media forum and we no longer had a public outlet for our Paint skills, Mark Zuckerberg quickly provided humanity with myriad new forms of confidence-boosting activities.

Friend requests and wall posts have become contemporary measuring devices for our popularity, but as a wise man once sang: ‘It’s kind of funny how life can change, can flip 180 in a matter of days’. Meaning, I believe, that whilst Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al can provide us with immense validation of our looks/popularity/wit, things can quickly flip 180 and destroy our sense of self worth. It’s a mad world out there, here’s a guide to surviving social media:

#1 Friendships Count

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Someone recently encouraged me to cull my Facebook friends. It seemed like a great idea. Why stay connected with that kid you went on tennis camp with once when you were 9? That girl who left your school in year 5 to emigrate to Malaysia? That boy who fondled your friend in a club in Magaluf one time? They all got the ruthless chop.

Then I began to notice how my chums’ ‘friend counts’ were almost double that of mine. Granted, they were hanging onto their own tennis girls and random expats, yet if anyone was to casually browse our respective pages, my friends appear to be vastly more popular than me.

In the days before social networking, as long as you could fill your Nokia inbox to its ten text limit and you had bombarded your MSN screen name with an adequate amount of private jokes, your popularity was confirmed to the outside world. These days I’m thinking of accepting my parents just to boost my tragic numbers.

#2 Avoid FIFOMO 


In other words, Facebook Induced Fear of Missing Out. Trust me, once this article goes viral FIFOMO will be a legitimate thing. Bieber will get it tattooed.

FIFOMO is that feeling you get when you’ve stayed in on a Saturday night because who the hell doesn’t want to watch Bruce Forsyth and eat their bodyweight in Dominoes mozzarella sticks? It turns out, well, all your friends – that’s who.

 You casually refresh your various newsfeeds whilst you’re waiting for Casualty to start and, like a slap in the face harder than those felt by the guys on Take Me Out who don’t get a date, you are confronted with dozens of pictures of your best pals having the time of their life.

In our past lives we were totally oblivious to when people were having more fun than us, whereas now a gal can’t spend a perfectly innocent weekend evening alone with the terrestrial channels without being made to feel like an unpopular recluse.

#3 Fraudulent Fitness


We’ve all had that moment where we stumble onto someone’s profile and we feel sick at ourselves because they have the face of Angelina Jolie and the body of Miranda Kerr. LIES! Lies I tell you.

Watching a cycle of America’s Next Top Model can do wonders for a girl’s posing techniques, while Instagram filters are the best thing to happen to ugly people since make-up was invented.

Social media photographs have instilled in us all a profound sense of inadequacy, while in fact doctoring and airbrushing allows even the Miss Piggys of our wider circles to present themselves like Tyra. Well we all know that Tyra got fat. So let’s make a conscious effort to regain our self-confidence, ignore the fake fitties and focus on some real life ones – Duncan James, for example.

In the face of all this social media adversity, it is imperative to remember one thing. You, too, can turn your Melissa McCarthy figure into a wonder of the world, and you, too, can add a whole bunch of randomers to make yourself look popular.

Carpe those social medias, people, get editing and adding, and you too will be the envy of all your friends. One Love.