Despondence and self-loathing suck, but what sucks even more is not profiting from yours. How often have you been on Facebook or Twitter, complaining that your life is a bleak pit of despair, only for someone to come along and mention that, in addition to their near unspeakable level of existential malaise, their cat just died and took the lingering remnants of their marriage with it? Before you know it they’re lapping up all the sympathy, attention, and (bankable) followers. But don’t despair, because there’s an easy way to exploit your own misery: Become the most wounded person you know! Just follow these steps.
First and foremost, do not attempt to improve yourself.
Think about it. If all your followers see you going to therapy and making positive lifestyle changes, they’ll be forced to wonder if maybe they should be doing more than eating pork rinds while browsing Twitter in bed all day. Social media is for an endless affirmation of your lifestyle choices and worldview, not challenges to them!
Make it excessively clear that you have nothing and no one in your life beyond your followers. Did one of your rivals express concern over their sick child? Remind them that you’re incapable of reproducing. Did someone have an anxiety attack at the grocery store? Announce that merely reading about anxiety attacks gives you terrible anxiety attacks.
Next, expand the scope of your doom.
Anyone can make their own life sound awful, but what if that awfulness is caused by broad systemic factors conveniently outside your control? After all, who wouldn’t be miserable in the face of climate change or this country’s abominable track record on race and gender discrimination? It’s a miracle you even got out of bed to express outrage today. Anyone showing a modicum of joy is clearly neglecting to be sad about the rainforest or abortion rights or whatever. So be sure to remind your followers that these tragic issues cut you deep, because you care enough to let them horribly depress you. Karen’s sad because her career’s imploding? You’re sad because children’s skulls are imploding in Yemen. Remind Karen that that’s a country, since she’s clearly too selfish to know for herself.
However, it’s important to never suggest any ideas for addressing these challenges. If you do that you’re an activist, and activity is the opposite of what we’re going for here. Leave the campaigning to people who are actually suffering instead of being distant enough from the world’s problems to just experience a vague malaise about it all. Try unhelpful statements like, “I was going to have a salad but then I remembered that America is doomed, so I went with the chili cheese fries instead,” or, “Guess I’ll just binge another season of Bones instead of going to work because I don’t think humanity is going to survive the decade!”
You’ll be raking in followers before you know it, especially if you counteract any modest suggestions for improvement with, “But honestly, what’s the point?”
Finally, remember to always compound your angst.
You can’t win a race to the bottom if you aren’t willing to dig! Did someone’s grandma die? Well, so did all five of yours, on the same day, in the same horrific boating accident. Was your friend discriminated against based on her sexual orientation? No one knows how hard it is to date as a straight white dude in our current cultural moment. Did your friend get a sunburn today? You probably have skin cancer, what with all the global warming happening.
Always remember that while social media can offer tremendous support to those in need, it’s really hard to build a brand based on positivity and personal growth. But if you can make your life sound more meaningless and pathetic than anyone else, fans will flock to you and your insufferable misery. Just remember not to thank them for their support, because everything is pointless!