By Michael Harriot
As part of our research in gaining better understanding of the nigganet, the staff at NegusWhoRead periodically categorizes sections of cyberspace to help our readers make sense of the complex nuances of the world wide web. The social media landscape is littered with a diverse selection of characters. To help you put them in their proper place, we now present the most popular characters from the entire diaspora that populates your timeline.
1. Ion een know you Everyone has encountered a social media follower who assumes you know them as well as they know you. They retweet everything you post, and comment all the time, so they assume you are best friends, but if you run into them at Target or a party you have no idea who they are. I’ve had long intimate conversations with people who I assumed knew me since the third grade, but when they walked away, I have to ask myself “where do I know that guy from?”
It’s always the internet.
2. The DMers There was a time when I cast a healthy side-eye towards the women who bragged, complained or “aired out” the men who were supposedly “always in their inboxes.” I assumed this was a mythical construct, like people who were “spiritual but not religious” or White people who were good at spades. Apparently I was wrong. I have since learned that every woman’s twitter inbox of Facebook messenger is populated with dudes trying to holla at her and–according to statistics I made up–most women receive 4.7 unsolicited dick pics per month. This is astounding to me–partly because I don’t have that level of confidence, and partly because I have never heard a woman say “I thought he was cool, but then I saw a picture of his penis and fell in love.”
The DMer category isn’t limited to thirsty men. There are also women who join the DM club to drop dimes on other women’s boyfriend or to simply spread gossip.
3. White People Don’t act like you don’t know who I’m talking about. One of the biggest dilemmas you will face in your lifetime is–do you accept the friend request from your white friend? It’s not because you don’t like White people. In fact, it’s the opposite. Do you want to have to explain yourself every time you post some “woke” shit? Will you be heartbroken when you find out your caucasian comrade is cool with the Confederate flag? Are you afraid of offending them when you say “white people be…” There is a complex calculation that accompanies accepting a friend request from a White person. Here is the formula:
Number of mutual friends x The length of time you’ve known them(the amount of “It’s Obama’s fault” posts on their page + How many pairs of flip flops they own)
4. Lookin’ Asses – 89% of Lookin’ Asses have fake profiles. They are coworkers who want to see what you’re up to or the ex of your current boyfriend or girlfriend. Lookin’ Asses don’t like, retweet or comment, they just want to see. They are the undercover cops of social media. In fact, if someone sends you a friends request, and you have no mutual friends, they’re probably a lookin’ass. If their profile pic is of a team logo or a beautiful sunset, they are a lookin ass. If they follow you on Instagram but have zero pics. If they just created their account yesterday, they are a lookin’ ass. I never decline a friend request from one of them. I just don’t respond at all. I leave them in lookin’ ass purgatory waiting for me… with their lookin’ ass.
5. Your mama I assume that some of you reading this have children old enough to be on social media. Take my advice–never, ever, ever, ever send your child a friend request. If your child loves and respects you, there is nothing you need to see in his or her social media. It’s like bringing your mother along when you want to hang out with your friends. If the only way you can keep up with your child’s life is through social media, you have failed as a parent. And for God’s sake, please don’t add their friends. That’s just wrong. I recently had a conversation with a friend who started dating a girl he really liked, who seemed a little torn up inside. When I asked him what was wrong, he informed me that he might have to break up with the woman. “Why,” I asked.”
He gave men the bad news “My mama friended her on Facebook.”
One of the ways around it is the preemptive strike: As soon as you find out your mother has joined a social media platform, you have to block her. Trust me, it’s the only way.
6. The Faker I bet you have a friend who is so Hotep on twitter, but you know in real life they only date White girls and eat bacon-wrapped pork chop sandwiches, or a friend who ddishes out love advice who hasn’t had a relationship longer than 3 dates since their junior prom. Fakers brag about their financial status but they hit you in the DM to borrow $20 until payday. Fakers post prayers on Facebook Posts because they don’t want to talk to God. They want you to know they talk to God.
I bet God be like, “Nigga, you could’ve just sent me this in a prayer instead of clogging up my timeline1”
7. The Disappointment Have you ever met someone who you thought was cool, and then you become friends on social media and you become ashamed to even know them? Someone who goes on mysogynistic and homophobic rants? Someone who wants to discuss Black On Black Crime every time a Black person is killed by police? Someone who openly admits they put sugar in their grits? The White friend who you discover is a Trump supporter? I am one of the most open-minded people of all time but I have actually unfriended someone because they argued that Tyler Perry is one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
I just can’t.
8. People Who Believe it’s Real Here’s the one thing you should know about social media–none of it is real. No one is really outraged about anything. None of the people on Instagram are drinking delicious fruity drinks and eating gourmet dishes that they take pictures of at every meal. If you ever run into me in real life, I don’t want to have a conversation about the injustices Black people constantly face or the aspects of the conscious community. I want to talk about Auburn football or whether Teyana Taylor is finer than Thelma from Good Times. When people tell me “I can’t stand his ass…” or “I love her…” and I find out they only know the person from Facebook, I think they’re delusional. It’s like asking Terence Howard for advice on the music industry from Terence Howard because he plays Lucious on “Empire.”
9. Trolls I don’t feed trolls. I don’t even respond to them. I get racist emails and comments from people who scour the internet looking for a fight. If I get a comment from someone who believe Black culture and our genetic predisposition towards violence and ignorance is the cause of racism, I leave them alone. Bruh, this is the internet. There is no value in arguing with you. I am always up for a spirited debate but the difference between trolls and people who have a differing opinion is that trolls lack the mental capacity to understand, even though they think they’re exceptionally smart. Plus, you know what I’ve never heard anyone say on social media? “…When you put it that way, I see your point. you’ve changed my mind.”
10. The Few, The Proud There are some people who use social media for a variety of reasons. Some people are on Facebook to connect with friends, find out about events and hear a bunch of different ideas. There are people who read the articles and retweets on twitter. There are even people whose Instagram and Snapchat feeds are small slivers of what they are doing and experiencing in real life. They are doing it right.
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About the author
Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot
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