Internet Social Media

What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking?

Dave Parrack 15-02-2012

What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? I Hate Attention SeekersYou 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 Diaries have now largely been superseded by social networks, and it’s much easier to put out a subtle cry for help on one of these.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?

What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? Vaguebooking Definition

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.



What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? Vaguebooking Angry

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!.”


What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? Vaguebooking Why

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

What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? Vaguebooking 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?

What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? Vaguebooking Explanation

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?

What Is The Imbecilic Art Of Vaguebooking? Depression

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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  1. Steven Gordon
    February 5, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Guilty. I just really, REALLY made a family member VERY angry with me about this, and I had to look it up. Yes, I do harbor feelings about events that I experienced long ago, and they still haunt me. Yet I had no idea I was vaguebooking.

    I'll be more cognizant of this in future posts.

  2. Kell
    October 12, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    I don't find vagueposting annoying, actually.

    Also, it's ironic that the reason you gave for why people vaguebook (i.e. "to elicit a response") is the exact OPPOSITE reason why my friends and I vaguebook. In fact, I came across this article is because a friend mentioned `vaguebooking` in a post. (Note: I hadn't heard the term before, so I googled it.) His post was:

    > Trying not to vaguebook post is hard. Its challenging to say "I'm going through a rough time, but I don't really want to talk about it." without getting everyone all up in your business. <

    Both he and I know that our families/friends want to be informed when we're going through a rough time. We want to respect that, but sometimes we still don't want to talk about it. Maybe we don't know HOW to explain, or would find it too exhausting, or something else ... and so, we post vaguely:

    1. to keep loved ones informed; and
    2. to keep from having to go into detail.

    The irony of this (and to your point, Dave) is that `vagueness` is akin to `a mystery`, and it's human to seek out the answer to a mystery. So, while my friends and I may use vagueness to AVOID the topic, it often elicits questions. This is what my friend was bemoaning, and why I rarely vaguepost anymore.

    Yet still, there is something healing to the bones (cathartic?) in knowing that you're heard and accepted. The silent presence of loved ones in times of trouble is comforting. But oftentimes, people are far too quick to speak. We've been trained by the example of those around us to be uncomfortable with silence and so we try to comfort with words. But as words fail and people start to rebuff our attempts to help, we grow frustrated. "They're rejecting the solution!" we think. But no: they're rejecting A solution, because it's a FLAWED solution.

    In the end, my point is this: Set aside frustration (i.e. forgive) and simply listen. Regardless whether people vaguepost to elicit a response or not, they're doing so because they want the comfort of a friend. If you love them, then give them that comfort: the comfort of being heard. In love, let's retrain ourselves to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

  3. Kayla
    July 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Stop complaining. I see someone 'vaguebooking'...and continue with my life.

    • michael
      September 29, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Agree. This post about vaguebook is simply who y atention-seeking at the expense of people going through difficulty who have been cowed into vagueness by society's emotional correctness.

  4. Christian Cawley
    June 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Dave, this often leads to me blocking people's newsfeeds. I think it's best all round :)

    • Dave Parrack
      June 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      If you ever catch me vaguebooking then block away ;)

  5. Jaxx89
    April 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Yup definitely seen it quite often. BTW what abt the people who just copy/paste some random quotes in a way trying to express themselves.
    And what about those people who don't write anything at all, I mean no FB updates even tho they are there, just an occasional comment on someones update.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      I'd prefer people said nothing than said something vague. I think the copying/pasting is a sign of laziness... I know I've done it in the past ;)

  6. JoelMBenge
    March 22, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Real friends don't vaguebook.

    I thought you were a real friend.


    • andrea
      June 27, 2012 at 5:29 am


  7. Mei-mei
    February 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Sorry, can't agree with your post. I don't see why that kind of status update should be annoying to anyone - if someone used his professional twitter account or a company's FB page, then I could understand. But as long as it's my personal friends, they are free to post whatever they want and I really don't see why the information that someone is at the grocery store should be any more relevant to me than the information that s/he is upset.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      But they don't say why they're upset. Which begs the question why put it on there in the first place? Not that status updates or tweets that are boring and detail all the minutiae of someone's day are any better, you understand.

    • michael
      September 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

      Agree. The author is attention-seeking. At the expense of people who are probably going through a tough day.

    • Tante Pollewop
      October 26, 2016 at 10:11 am

      The information that someone is at the grocery store is indeed not more relevant than a typical context-free 'vaguebooking' post. They are both equally irrelevant.

  8. Scutterman
    February 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Most people I see doing this are attention seeking. I can tell because they never respond when someone asks what's up. I've seen statuses with 20 or 30 replies, and not a single comment from the OP, even a few hours after they posted.

    Sometimes it's just that someone needs to get something off their chest, and in that case they generally reply to questions quickly by saying they're okay and just frustrated etc.

    • Dave Parrack
      February 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm

       Putting something out there and then not responding is ever worse! It's like saying to your friends and family, "there is something up, I need to pass that information on, but just ask don't ask for any details." Maddening.

  9. Kipling
    February 15, 2012 at 2:46 am

    I soo agree with that,  when i see what they are writing on FB...I feel wtf....
    many time i get disappointed about many peoples i though i knew, hard to not judging their own vaguebooking line 
     mostly when they do it a lot..   ( Its Okay to do it once a while, Fb is mostly for that i guess no ? ), I don't like ppl trying getting so much attention in real life... I prefer low profile people, most of the time they have lot more to show but they keep it low.   That's why i use LOT less FB. 

    • Dave Parrack
      February 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

       Facebook should be about more than that, but I guess you're right. I also know I take this stuff far more seriously than I should!