Rhetorical Analysis: 13 Anxiety Causing Social Media Moments

By Sunday Scaries

Elle Magazine's November 2014 issue was called "The Anxiety Issue" which is like a meaty fastball in the middle of my strike zone. If I happened to be at a bar with all the writers from this issue, I'd love my chances at going home with a dime on my arm. In December, I was at a Christmas party where a girl asked me, "do you ever get, like, anxiety on Sundays?" I had to walk away because it would have been too easy.

In between their posts about anxiety meds and body weight, they had some puff pieces sprinkled in about drinking and social media, so I obviously felt right at home when someone forwarded me the link. It's like Scaries porn.

So, as always, original article in italics.


There's a lot of talk about "social media anxiety:" Basically, people get FOMO when they see some #coolparty they weren't invited to or post a photo and get a paltry number of likes in return. Soul-crushing, right? Right! And it's wrecking teenage girls' confidence in particular. We all know this. But what about the other side, the social media anxiety we cause ourselves in completely avoidablemoments? You know the ones—or, if you don't, we rounded up more than a dozen examples to initiate you. Because we'd hate for you to experience any self-induced social media anxiety FOMO.

The only social media anxiety I feel is wondering why a girl is liking photos when she should be texting me back. But then I remember I'm rocking read receipts and I get my confidence back. NO ONE puts Scaries in text purgatory.

1. You deep-dove into a sort-of-but-not-really-friend's Instagram account and when you wake up the next morning, you realize you accidentally liked one of her photos from a casual 78 weeks ago. She knows. She knows.

It's like showing a photo on your iPhone to an old person who has never used Instagram. They always try to double tap or spread their fingers to zoom in, which naturally just likes the photo creating this always uncomfortable situation.

That being said, sneaky awesome move to get on a babe's radar: you just like an old, flattering photo of her. She either leaves the situation with a little flirty skip in her step, or she's telling all of her friends how big of a fucking creep you are. Can't hit a homerun without swinging for the fences though.

2. Your eye snags on a little box on the margin of your Facebook page and you realize Spotify's been alerting 1,396 best friends strangers that your current go-to band is a tossup between Nickelback and BBMak.

"Private Sessions are for pussies." - Douchebag Pete

Ever since DBP casually gchatted that me that, Private Sessions have been dead to me. Yeah, when I'm going in on the Lilith Fair playlist I may get some weird looks but if you can't handle me at my worst then you don't deserve me at my best (aka when I'm listening to Kid Rock).

3. Your Pinterest board that you thought was private is…not so much, which wouldn't be quite so bad if there weren't 78 inspiration photos for your future wedding with the dude you just had your first sober sleepover with.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: dudes need Pinterest. I don't care if you use it, if it's anonymous, or if  you use it under a fake name. But Pinterest is like a magic 8-ball into the female psyche. Know a girl you want to take a run at? Get off her Facebook and onto her pinboards. Need a present for your girlfriend? She's given you like a million ideas on Pinterest that all pretty much guarantee third base stuff. Wondering if a girl is bonkers or not? See how many quotes she's tossed up on her "wanderlust." board.

4. You accidentally like the Instagram photo your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend posted six minutes ago. The odds that she saw your name appear under her photo then vanish mysteriously? Way too strong for comfort.

Sounds like a power move to me.

5. You were bored and wanted to 'gram but you didn't have anything new to post, so you tried to pass off an old photo as new—annnnnd you got called out.

I can't knock this strategy considering I wait until Sunday to post Instagrams in order to get validation that people still like me. Love me or hate me, you can't tell me that's not resourceful. Plus, if anyone gives you lip for posting an old photo, just shame them and call 'em "creepy" with a disgusted face. If you're putting that much stock into social media then you're a fucking doorknob anyway.

6. Years ago, you followed someone on Twitter after you met him once, but now when you see him again in person, he doesn't seem to know who you are...or remember that awesome repartee you had going...ooor recognize you from your genius one-liners. *Crickets.*

Not sure what world you're living in but in my world we call that an "in." If a girl saw me in that situation and cowered away, I'd think she was a neurotic weirdo. If she owns it and treats me like no time has passed since that time I bought her and her friends a round of 'quila shots? Game on, let's spar. We obviously liked each other before enough to hit one other with those Twitter follows, and moreover, we both know love takes time. Oh, we haven't seen each other in two years? Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Let's take a chance on us, girl.

7. You finally realize people can see which photos you like on Instagram—and when. Double-tapped a slew of inspirational quotes Photoshopped over Justin Bieber's face at 3 A.M., Thursday night? Yeaahhhh, that wasn't just a thing between you and the Beliebers.

Just had this conversation over beers last Sunday. The conclusions: girls like a LOT weirder photos than guys. We stay in our comfort zone. Girls? They're liking everything from Victoria's Secret Angel photos to Fuck Jerry photos to the photos of a girl that they met at a Beyonce concert last July.

Like I'm obviously not going to be liking Taylor Swift's photos willy-nilly. But @birddogoftheday? Liking those photos every day of the week and twice on Sunday (you know, because I'm Scared and dogs rule). Everyone knows the photos you like are just an extension of your ballerness so you need to be mindful when dolling out like bombs.

Just don't like your ex-girlfriend's photos when you're seeing someone. That's pretty much just asking to be called "such a dick!" in a back alley at 1:30am when your new girl starts getting drunk and unreasonable.

8. You say something to a guy you like that you only could've known from reading his Twitter—actively reading his Twitter. Right when you thought your playing-it-cool strategy was really starting to work. But hey, you totally could have guessed that Chipotle forgot to include his guac yesterday, right?

If a girl did this to me, I'd be fist-pumping around the bases like Ken Griffey Jr. after his first career homerun. There's owning real estate in a girl's head and there's having a girl think she's legitimate friends with you via stalking your Twitter. Does it put off a psycho vibe? Yeah, but last time I checked, I'm the guy with a website named after the Sunday Scaries so I'm not exactly coming off as emotionally stable either.

(PS. Can you tell I'm excited for spring training? That's like my tenth baseball reference today.)

9. You type someone's name in the Facebook search window and realize 14 hours later—HEY COOL—that was actually the status update window.

My buddy once did this while searching for his girlfriend's boss. Scaries City. You kill yourself if you do this, right? Killing yourself is the only move. Or maybe you just deactivate your Facebook for like a year to let the dust settle then reemerge like nothing happened.

10. You're called out for FaceTuning.

I just had to Google this to see what it is and I couldn't be more appalled that FaceTuning is an actual thing. It's like wearing yoga pants or Spanx. Just a complete misrepresentation of the goods.

11. You realize the power of Facebook "graph search," which can make photos you thought were invisible appear seemingly out of thin air. (Pick a friend—one who thinks she has no Facebook photos visible—and type "photos of [Friend's Name]" in the Facebook search window on a computer. It has to be computer; it doesn't work on cell phones or tablets. Do it/Don't do it/Leave in fear forever.)

Have I graph searched, "Single girls between 21 and 29 that live in (insert city)" more than once? Uh yeah. You don't draft a prospect without watching their game tape and going to a few of their pickup games. I'm not much of an analytics guy. I go off what I see and graph search is like Scout.com for babes.

12. You think of a much better joke only after you tweeted the almost-but-not-quite-there one.

I used to delete tweets and repost them but I have like, I don't know, 1,200 followers now so I can't do that stuff anymore because people notice. #HumbleBrag #SoManyFollowers

13. You try to change your Facebook photo and don't realize each time you upload another minorly tweaked version of the one before—slightly more filter, a touch more contrast, marginally more cropped to display optimal skinny arm—they're all saving to your Profile Pictures album. Six months later you realize everyone who clicks through your Profile Pictures now knows that you spent 47 minutes of your life perfecting your Facebook photo.

It's called "deleting," bro. Ever heard of it? Once saw a kid who re-uploaded a photo after adding color to the Polo logo on his shirt to make it more defined. That's a Douche Hall of Fame move.

Whatever though, it's those people that lack self-awareness that allow the cream like us to rise to the top.