How to Recognize a “shitty Post” on Social Media

Social media is rife with insincere and dishonest bragging masquerading as legitimate discourse. Some honest attempts to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on Twitter or Instagram are juggling, even if not deliberately created to create outrage; at other times, people are there to simply stir the pot, causing the collective ire of the entire community. This latter type of pillars can come in many different shapes, but they are all cut from the same dyed fabric. I’m talking, of course, about shitposting.

What does a viral Facebook video showing someone’s hideous monster Velveeta nacho have in common with some links to George Orwell by right-wing politicians ? Friends, they’re both shitty posts – offshoots of the same troll and two-faced family that’s going to be a source of social media rage in 2021.

Shitposts are only amplified when a critical mass of users are willing to swallow the bait; even outrageous reactions only increase the reach and lifespan of the shitty post as it ricochets across the internet with every retweet and post. However, there are ways to spot shitty fasting and do your part to deprive them of the oxygen they need to thrive – and there are times when it matters more than you.

First, what is a shitpost?

The concept of shitposting is so ingrained in today’s atmosphere that even the old avant-gardeists of the English Lexicon ( ) have added the term to their archives.

This website defines the term in this way when used like a verb:

To post off-topic, false, or offensive material on an online forum with the intention of disrupting the discussion or provoking other members:

At a basic level, you could accurately equate shitposting with trolling. Each sitpost is trolling in some way. But there is a difference: trolling, even if it is rather depraved, is performed explicitly (i.e., the troll does not try to hide the fact that he is trolling, even if his behavior is really reprehensible). Shitposters, on the other hand, pretend to be unaware of their transparent attempts to deliberately knock down water and anger people. (As with any unwritten rule of social media etiquette, there are some caveats, but the unsuspecting shitty poster image confirms.)

Think back to the old tweets from various Texas Republicans raised this week by ongoing power outages sweeping across the state as it grapples with an unprecedented onslaught of snow and freezing temperatures. New tweets – from Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Senators Ted Cruz and John Cronin – were sent out last summer and addressed to California officials as Golden State struggled with its own wave of power outages caused by the stifling heat.

Today’s tweets were part of a coordinated online effort to denounce California Democrats for alleged mismanagement of their power grid.

These tweets from Cruise and Crenshaw are high-profile and highly politicized examples, but posters are widespread and spread far beyond the world of politics. Consider a recipe video on TikTok that seems to be only created to generate disgust , or a hot version of pop culture that seems to be designed to piss people off rather than sparking heartfelt conversation. But there are ways to make the next viral post create a little less chaos.

Screenshot instead of retweet

There is a strange psychological impulse to be involved in every new outrage of Internet engineers and add your kindling to the fire of the trash can. With Twitter, this is especially easy given that the website’s quote-tweet feature appears to be built to accommodate a large number of users on the Internet.

But Twitter quotes only increase the reach of a shitty post, even if you’re trying to taunt the post you’re leveraging. To that end, if you have to add yours to the stream of takes that spreads over the net on a particular day, consider taking a screenshot of the offending post instead. This is a gentler way of perpetuating the relevance of a post: of course, other users might see a bad result, opinion, or insult, but they can’t dive into the responses right away and won’t directly boost bad post rates if they choose to engage.

It’s the same on Instagram. Why transfer a bad post to your page if you feel like it will just keep its opinion? If you feel like you need to voice your reaction, the screenshot is more likely to limit the spread of the original post itself.

Decide not to interfere

This is a new and possibly daring approach these days, but you can stay out of the fray when it comes to the next hectic message that will create a buzz: just don’t get involved. Enjoy the outrage, send it to your friends privately if needed, but keep it in your feeds. Some shitty posts live in disrepute (like Cruise and Crenshaw’s tweets mentioned above), but if they don’t show up again to bite the poster in the ass, they will likely hiss and die. If you ignore them as soon as they appear, it will happen much faster and the Internet will become a slightly less terrible place.


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