The Insider’s Guide to Life: How to Be More ‘Likeable’ in Any Situation

ColumnNeed to look good on Facebook? Ask an editor.

Presenting yourself as the envy of everyone’s Facebook wall comes down to editing (that we’d want to do this is a foregone conclusion). As a colleague said recently, “Editing is the skill of the century.” Your digital life, unedited? So MySpace. This is Facebook, where the savvy Eye of social discernment is a requisite. You’ve got walls. Subscriptions. Integrated tweets. Photo albums. Friends tagging god-knows-what (probably your arm from the fat side). It’s a borg on there, and you’ll need to practice some serious curation of your life to be perceived like-ably. You want the highs to be high, the lows to be slightly less high, and the ex to know your arms are still skinny. As every good editor knows, the product is all in the packaging. Present your life from the most pleasing angle, and don’t forget the witty caption! Here’s how.


IRL: You’ve got guests in town. Your cat cannot handle the den of estrogen that your flat has become and meows – bleats, really – all night long, keeping both you and your guests in the other room miserably half-asleep well into sunrise. The cat settles in for slumber, of course, right at the time you all have to wake up for work on Monday morning. You find yourself wondering if your cat would even notice if you gave it away.

How to Facebook it: Cheezburger it up and put a caption on it. Lol all the way to the likes. Cats are hilarious, always! Suggested captions:




Workaday Wonderful

IRL: You’re stuck in the worst-of-the-worst conference on earth, the kind for corporate types in need of the downlow, or lowdown, on how to do the Twitter. You sneak out of the “You Need a Social Media Strategy!” session with the Arial Powerpoint slides about engagement and channels delivered by the woman decked in menopausal jewelry wearing highwater gabardine trousers. You race to catch the de Kooning exhibit at MoMA for 30 life-giving minutes before heading back in for the rest of the sessions. At the break, you’re fed stale grocery store bagels slathered in Kraft cream cheese, and hi, you are allergic to gluten and also really prefer organic dairy. You’ll have to catch up on all your work that night where you’ll eat string cheese, also not organic, and alternate cans of Illy and Freixenet from the corner deli because you don’t have time to go to dinner. And, you did not bring enough pairs of underwear, because it’s suddenly your time of the month.

How to Facebook it: Snap and post a shot of the de Kooning sign in the lobby (angle: casually askew; interest point: allow single corner pop of color). Prepare for the “You have such a fabulous jet-setting life!” comments. You’ll need that validation to retain consciousness through “Is Your Website Sticky?”

Being Informed

IRL: Your teetering stack of unread New Yorkers threatens to knock a tooth out in your sleep any night now, you’re only halfway into the novel your best friend gave you for Christmas (and neither one of you even celebrates the holidays!), your bookmarks are so clogged you’re getting warning emails from Xmarks, and you still haven’t finished the latest Seth Godin bestseller.

How to Facebook it: Post the Portlandia “Did You Read?” clip below and caption as follows: “Funny because it’s so true!” You need to outsource your reading at this point. You just need to look like you read, except not so much that it looks like your career isn’t on fire.

Dining Out

IRL: The bread is a burnt offering, the hipster waiters do not approve of your lack of facial hair and you’re pretty sure there was just a shooting outside the vintage Ray Ban and ski sweater shop.

How to Facebook it: Just post a picture of the mussels and Cava, cropping out the bread and beards. Appropriate caption: “Just another night of foodie fun in the Mission!” #nofilter (#liar #andyouliveinPacificHeights #byachurch #notthecoolchurch #becausethatsintheMission)

Being Popular and Successful

IRL: No one shows up to your event except your staff and that one weird guy who always comes to your events. Your dad.

How to Facebook it: The bartender and most attractive bar patrons will never notice you’re taking pictures of them and claiming them as your own. Jen, right? She looks like a Jen.

Your Love Life

IRL: You’re being pestered by no less than six suitors you could care less about and the one you want (the cute one, of course) is totes noncommits. Or, you haven’t had sex in over a year and you’re 28 and even your mother who waited until marriage thinks there is something unhealthy about this. Or you’re using Facebook to stalk your ex. When he finally blocks you, you resort to pleading with your friends to let you comb his photos for signs of a new girlfriend via their accounts. So, you’re still stalking your ex. Any way you work it, the picture isn’t pretty. Or is it? No need for the cutting room floor: we can so save this content!

How to Facebook: Go out to dinner every night with a string of your 100%-just-friends male friends and check in to the restaurants anyway. “Lisa has checked into Gary Danko with Joe.” That’ll learn those pestering suitors, all right. To alleviate Mom’s concerns, post updates like “Yet another crazy night! Can’t wait to get some sleep tonight!” and let her find relief in her own conclusions. For everything else, post a humble brag about the neighbor spotting you naked through the kitchen window, tee-hee! Leave out the part about him being 99. Or gay. Or blind.

Family Fun

IRL: Your grandmother dies on Christmas Day, a cousin reveals the Alice-in-Wonderland extent of his mental illness to you over too many eggnogs, your aunt announces she is getting divorced because she’s actually lesbian and your uncle is also out – of work (again). You develop a raging yeast infection. On your face. Probably from all the bourbon you’re drinking to cope.

How to Facebook it: “Feeling so grateful despite life’s challenges this holiday season!” and bask in the approving likes.

Simply leave off the “to be alive…I guess” part.

Conclusion to Column

IRL: Love, loss, hipsters, hashtags. We’ve covered it all.

How I’ll Facebook it: As if I’d post this to Facebook!

This is the latest installment in your editor’s column, The Insider’s Guide to Life.

Image: Francisco Vargas