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You may not have heard of the term Vaguebooking, but I can guarantee you will have seen at least one example of it in action. Certainly if you’re active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any one of the numerous other social networks open to us all. In fact, you probably see it on a daily basis. If you have those kinds of virtual friends.

There was a time when people kept diaries in order to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, and the entries for some days will have taken the form of emotional pleas to no one in particular. Diaries have now largely been superseded by social networks, and it’s much easier to put out a subtle cry for help on one of these. Unfortunately doing so is very, very annoying. And possibly a sign of something altogether more worrying.

What Is Vaguebooking?

Vaguebooking is any update on a social network (although primarily Facebook) that is intentionally vague. Status updates which fall under the category of vaguebooking can be long or short, but most comprise just a few simple words. Regardless of the length they all have one thing in common – to elicit a response from friends and followers.

While the majority of us will just be clear about something that has happened or why we’re upset, vaguebookers take great delight in beating around the metaphorical bush. Seeking attention while giving away as little as humanly possible.




This is an expression of emotion in its most basic form. On this occasion it’s anger, but other emotions can replace anger quite easily. Instead of, “I’m so angry right now. Arrggh!,” it could be, “I’m so confused right now. Waagh!,” or, “I’m so miserable right now. Boohoo!.”


This is a classic, and is one of the most annoying forms of vaguebooking that exists. It’s about as vague as it gets while still using words (see next example). With “Why? Only me…” you’re imparting the fact that something (likely something bad) has happened that you need someone to ask you about.

Question Marks

Sometimes you don’t even need words. Sometimes a few question marks in a row is enough. It is bound to get some kind of response from someone, whether it be more question marks or a simple “what’s up?” Which is all those who write this kind of status update are after; proof that they exist. Because looking in the mirror is clearly not enough.

Who Does It?

Sadly, everyone seems prone to partake in a little vaguebooking from time to time. I have witnessed normally sane and sensible people vaguebooking in order to elicit sympathy or some kind of response from someone, somewhere. I’m not sure they even care who it is that responds, as long as someone does.

Vaguebookers cannot be pigeonholed as belonging to any particular race, religion, or class. They come from all walks of life. But it’s a new trend that we shouldn’t allow to propagate. If we do then all our timelines and feeds will be full of nothing other than pointless cries for attention.

Don’t Join Them!

If you have yet to catch the vaguebooking bug, and I sincerely hope you have resisted up to this point, then please don’t join the legion of vaguebookers muddying up their timelines with inane nonsense.

Personally if I have something important to say to someone, or something serious going on in my life that’s causing me any kind of extreme emotion, I avoid Facebook. Instead, I talk to someone real, someone I know and can trust, someone who may possibly be able to impart a few words of wisdom to help make me feel better, or offer practical advice which helps.

But then perhaps I’m lucky to not need to take to social networks to gain that kind of attention.

Harmless Annoyance Or Dangerous Precedent?

Vaguebooking is definitely annoying. Of that there is no argument. But is it merely annoying or something a lot more worrying? This article was originally intended as a rant against vaguebooking. And it still is that to a certain degree. But I’ve also realized that perhaps there are genuine reasons people have for vaguebooking.

Maybe people who do it a lot are lonely, or depressed, or emotionally stunted to the point at which they need random people to notice them. Perhaps by vaguebooking and getting the desired responses these people can smile again. Or get out of the funk they find themselves in. Perhaps just the very act of putting something into words is helpful in some small way.

That doesn’t excuse the vagueness of vaguebooking, but it does lessen my hatred of it a little.


Have you seen vaguebooking in action? If so then please discourage it by either ignoring the offensive update altogether or by linking to this article. Together we can help stop this vaguebooking madness. And there’s not even any need to make a donation to charity.

Image Credits: Byron Villegas, Ray Formoso

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