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What Is Vaguebooking? 5 Classic Examples

What is vaguebooking? You’ve probably heard the term being bandied about on social media, but do you understand what it actually means?

In this article, we’ll explain what vaguebooking is, and give specific examples of vaguebooking so that you’ll be able to recognize it when you see it.

What Is Vaguebooking?

There was a time when people kept diaries in order to express their innermost thoughts and feelings. Now, while digital journaling is a thing, people posts their thoughts on social media. Unfortunately, this often takes the form of vaguebooking, which can be extremely annoying.

But what is vaguebooking?

In a nutshell, vaguebooking is any update on a social network that is intentionally vague. While you will see people vaguebooking on Twitter and Instagram, it’s especially prevalent on Facebook. Which is where the name—a portmanteau of “vague” and the “book” from Facebook— comes from.

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—any sort of response—from friends and followers.

And that’s the point of vaguebooking. While the majority of us will only post on social media when we have something specific to say, vaguebookers take great delight in beating around the metaphorical bush. Seeking attention while giving away very little in terms of detail.

Examples of Vaguebooking

The easiest way to answer the question, what is vaguebooking?, is to give examples. So here are a handful of examples of vaguebooking which will help you recognize it when you see it.

1. Expressing an Emotion Without Providing Context

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!”

2. Why Me? This Could Only Happen to Me!

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

3. Question Marks: The Purest Form of Vaguebooking

Sometimes you don’t even need words. A trio of question marks is enough. This 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.

4. How Is This Still a Thing?

Social networks aren’t always the nicest places to hang out. You can encounter idiots at every turn, and be exposed to every ism you care to mention. Which is disgusting. But if you’re going to out people, provide examples rather than vaguebooking about it.

5. When a GIF Is Meant to Sum Everything Up

If you find the right one, a GIF can say everything you need to say. However, vaguebookers abuse the medium by posting GIFs without context. Imagine, for example, finding a GIF of a baby cheering on your timeline. Without context, that could mean a host of different things.

Who Is Responsible for Vaguebooking?

So, who’s doing all of this vaguebooking? Sadly, everyone seems prone to doing it from time to time. You’ll find normally sane and sensible people vaguebooking in order to elicit sympathy or some kind of response from someone, somewhere. Anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t really matter who responds, as long as someone notices their cry for attention.

Vaguebookers cannot be pigeonholed, as they come from all walks of life. Vaguebooking transcends race, religion, gender, and class. And, despite being recognized for many years, vaguebooking seems to be growing as a trend.

We’re all partly to blame too, even if we aren’t the ones vaguebooking. If you have ever responded to vaguebooking on social media, you’re part of the problem. Allowing vaguebooking to propagate almost as malevolently as fake news.

Is Vaguebooking Harmless or Something More?

Vaguebooking is definitely annoying. Of that there is no argument. But is it merely annoying or a sign of something more worrying?

This article was originally intended as a rant against vaguebooking. However, as with most things, there’s another side to the story. At least potentially. Which is that some people’s use of vaguebooking could be a genuine cry for help.

Some people who vaguebook will be lonely, depressed, or suffering some kind of emotional turmoil. And if their family, friends, or wider support group is either unavailable or ignoring them, they’ll turn to strangers for help instead.

The key is recognizing a genuine cry for help as opposed to a selfish cry for attention. Which is difficult. If you do determine that someone is genuinely in need of counsel, either message them directly, or reply with a link to professional help.

How to Avoid Vaguebooking

It’s actually very simple to avoid vaguebooking. Just don’t post anything vague on social media. That’s it. That’s the golden rule.

If you have something to say then say it, loud and proud. Tell your followers that you’re upset over something, and spell out the reasons why. Or if you’ve received some good news, tell people when you can fill them in on the details properly, but not before.

While Hollywood movies rely on teasers and trailers to increase anticipation, you don’t need to do that yourself. Either say exactly what you want to say, with enough context so that people can understand what you mean, or don’t say anything at all.

And if you’re struggling mentally, maybe avoid social media altogether and talk to someone offline. Having a one-to-one conversation with someone who can actually offer practical help and/or advice is a much better idea than vaguebooking in the hopes someone will notice you.

How to Fight the Scourge of Vaguebooking

Have you seen someone you know vaguebooking? Did you respond by asking for more detail? If so, please don’t do that again. Discourage it by ignoring the vague status update. Or, even better reply with a link to this article instead. Together we can stop this vaguebooking madness.

And even if we can’t manage that, we should all be aware of the pros and cons of social media.

Image Credit: Byron Villegas/Flickr

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Spotify Tests Shareable Quotes on Podcasts

Spotify is testing podcast quote cards you can share on social media. These cards include quotes from the podcast you’re listening to on Spotify. Plus a link back to the podcast to encourage people to click through and listen for themselves. Starting with The Michelle Obama Podcast.

How Spotify’s Shareable Quote Cards Work

These shareable quote cards aren’t yet available to everyone. But if you’re one of the “select users” in the test, you’ll see the cards when you play the first episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast. A new original podcast available exclusively on Spotify.

The quote cards include a quote taken directly from the episode in question, along with a timestamp. If you tap on the card you want to share, you’ll see sharing options for the main social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

shareable spotify podcast quotes

Your followers on social media will then see the quote card. Which serves a dual purpose. First, the quote may inspire a discussion amongst family and friends. Secondly, and more importantly, the quote cards link back to the episode in question. Which should get more people listening to it.

There’s no guarantee that the use of shareable quotes will be expanded beyond this experiment. In a statement to Engadget, Spotify said, “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience. Some of those tests end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning.”

Spotify Needs People to Listen to Podcasts

Spotify has been heavily investing in podcasting of late, throwing money at Joe Rogan and launching lots of other original podcasts. Including The Michelle Obama Podcast. The problem is getting people to listen to them in large enough numbers to justify the investment.

These shareable quote cards provide Spotify with an easy way to promote podcasts, with social media users doing the work for the streaming service. Which makes perfect sense for pods such as The Michelle Obama Podcast, in which both Michelle and Barack Obama say some profound things.

You Can Also Watch Video Podcasts on Spotify

As well as testing shareable quote cards, Spotify has started offering video podcasts. This means you can watch, as well as hear, your favorite podcasts on the streaming service. While only a handful of video podcasts are available at the time of writing, more are sure to be added over time.

Read the full article: Spotify Tests Shareable Quotes on Podcasts

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Microsoft Launches a Family Safety App to Help Parents

Microsoft has launched a Family Safety app on Android and iOS. Microsoft Family Safety lets you set limits on certain activities, enable internet filters, block certain apps and games, track your loved ones via GPS, and more besides. With the idea being to keep your family safe both online and offline.

Microsoft Wants Families to Stay Safe Online

Parents the world over are concerned about how much time their kids are spending online. Whether they’re playing Fortnite, chatting to mates on social media, or browsing the web. And the situation has likely got worse since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in, with kids spending even more time at home than usual.

This is why, as announced on the Microsoft 365 Blog, Microsoft has launched its Family Safety app. Which is designed to help parents keep their kids safe. Microsoft has been testing the Family Safety app for several months, but it’s now available on Android and iOS to anyone who wants it.

What Can You Do With Microsoft Family Safety?

Microsoft Family Safety lets you receive activity reports, showing screen time and online usage. You can then use these reports to set limits across Windows, Xbox, and Android.

These can be applied to specific apps and games. Which ensures your children aren’t spending every waking hour playing Minecraft or browsing TikTok. You can also block specific apps and games outright, preventing them from being accessed.

And if they try to buy something from the Microsoft Store, you can choose to receive an email allowing you to approve (or reject) each purchase.

If you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser of choice, you can set up search filters so that your kids can’t access anything inappropriate online. This works across Windows, Xbox, and Android.

Lastly, you can enable location sharing so that you know where every member of your family is at all times. You can even save frequently visited locations so you know exactly where they are at a glance.

Download: Microsoft Family Safety on Android | iOS

Other Parental Control Apps for Windows

If you’re a parent whose family regularly uses Microsoft products such as Windows and Xbox, the Family Safety app could be a Godsend. Allowing you to get a clear picture of who is using what and when, whether any inappropriate websites are being accessed, and where your kids are disappearing to in the afternoons.

For more help parenting in the digital world, check out the best parental control apps for Windows.

Read the full article: Microsoft Launches a Family Safety App to Help Parents

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You Can Now Listen to Spotify With Friends Online

If you have ever wanted to listen to Spotify with friends online, now you can. And it’s all thanks to the Spotify Group Session feature. Spotify launched Group Session in May 2020, but at the time it was limited to people in the same place. Now, that’s no longer the case.

How to Start a Spotify Group Session

In a post on For the Record, Spotify has announced the latest version of its Group Session feature. While still in beta, the feature is evolving to allow “Spotify Premium users around the world to tune into the same playlist or podcast simultaneously.”

It doesn’t matter how far away you live from your family and friends, you can all now listen to Spotify together online. The content will sync for everyone, so you all know you’re listening to the same song (or podcast) at the same time.

Everyone in the Group Session can control playback. Which means you can all play, pause, skip songs, and select tracks for the queue. This could lead to arguments, which you’ll have to have on a separate messaging app as there’s currently no chat feature available on Spotify.

To start a Spotify Group Session with friends online:

  1. Open Spotify and start playing a piece of content.
  2. Tap the Connect menu in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Scroll down to Start a Group Session and tap it.
  4. Share the invite link with your friends online.

For now, up to five people can listen to Spotify together in a Group Session. However, the feature is still currently in beta, and the music streaming service expects Group Session to evolve over time. So who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to invite everyone you know to listen to cheesy pop music.

Other Ways to Listen to Music With Friends Far Away

While most of us will be happy to listen to Spotify alone through headphones most of the time, the Group Session feature is a nice option to have when you need some company. And if you don’t subscribe to Spotify Premium, here are some other ways to listen to music with friends.

Read the full article: You Can Now Listen to Spotify With Friends Online

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Adobe Updates Photoshop on iPad With Two New Features

Adobe has updated Photoshop on iPad, adding two new features. Now, anyone who uses Photoshop on their iPad can use the Refine Edge Brush and rotate the canvas with a two-finger gesture.

The first is a feature from the desktop version of Photoshop, while the latter makes use of the touch interface offered by the iPad. Both new features make Photoshop on iPad a more compelling product.

What’s New in Photoshop on iPad?

In a post on The Adobe Blog, Pam Clark details the two new features coming to Photoshop on iPad.

First up is the Refine Edge Brush, which has been available on Photoshop on the desktop for years. As its name suggests, the Refine Edge Brush lets you refine the edges of subjects in a photo.

While other tools can deal with big objects with clearly defined edges, the Refine Edge Brush makes it easier when dealing with hair, fur, or anything with a particularly detailed outline.

Adobe states that the Refine Edge Brush means you can “precisely refine the border area of tricky selections.” The company also claims that the Refine Edge Brush means Photoshop can provide “results well beyond anything else available on the iPad today.”

The second new feature available on Photoshop on iPad is the ability to rotate the canvas. In a nutshell, this means you can now rotate the canvas using a two-finger rotation gesture. You can also zoom in and out at the same time.

The rotation can snap at 0-, 90-, 180-, and 270-degrees. You can also reset it by zooming out. Rotation is not sticky, which means the canvas will return to zero degrees when you reopen a file. You can also toggle the feature on and off in the Settings > Touch menu.

Download: Photoshop on iPad (Free, with in-app purchases available)

Photoshop on iPad Is Getting Better

When Adobe first launched Photoshop on iPad, many users were frustrated by some of the missing features. However, as the company promised at the time, Adobe has updated Photoshop on iPad regularly, adding new features to achieve parity with the desktop version. And while it isn’t quite there yet, it’s getting better all the time.

Read the full article: Adobe Updates Photoshop on iPad With Two New Features

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Plex Launches Free Live TV Channels for Everyone

Plex has launched free Live TV in all 220+ countries that it currently serves. These Live TV channels will be available to watch anytime, anywhere. There are 80 channels available at launch, with Plex promising to add even more in the coming months.

What Free Live TV Channels Are Available on Plex?

As detailed in a post on The Plex Blog, the free Live TV channels on Plex are linear, pre-programmed channels. Which means you can channel hop until you find something you want to watch. And once you find something, the content plays out live from beginning to end.

This gives you a very different experience than streaming on-demand from the likes of Netflix and Disney+ (is Disney+ worth the money?). But in a good way for anyone nostalgic for the bygone age of television.

The 80 free Live TV channels on Plex include news offerings from Reuters and Yahoo Finance, kids’ programming on Toon Goggles, food and travel shows on Tastemade, sports programming courtesy of the fubo Sports Network, gaming content via IGN TV, and movies from The Film Detective and Midnight Pulp.

Some of the more out-there channels include The Bob Ross Channel (for Bob Ross fans), Love Destination (for romantic types), KMTV (for all things K-pop), The Pet Collective (for pet lovers), Surf Now TV (for surfers), and Unidentified (for fans of UFOs and the supernatural).

How to Watch Free Live TV on Plex

All of these Live TV channels are available to watch on Plex for free, as long as you’re willing to sit through the ads. Most of them are available globally, with a handful restricted to the US and Canada. The channels are easily accessible via the Plex app, which is available on most devices you can think of.

The free Live TV offering is distinct from Plex’s existing over-the-air TV and DVR offering, which requires a digital antenna and tuner. You can watch these channels on the Plex app, without any additional hardware. Still, the OTA option gives you access to major networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CW, and PBS, so it’s worth setting up.

Don’t Forget About The Roku Channel…

Plex isn’t alone in offering free live TV channels to those willing to sit through ads. Since June 2020, The Roku Channel boasts over 100 channels in the US, which includes some of the same channels you can now watch on Plex. Still, we’re not complaining, as they’re all free, and perfect for those moments when you just want to sit back and channel surf.

Read the full article: Plex Launches Free Live TV Channels for Everyone

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You Can Now Watch Video Podcasts on Spotify

Spotify now supports video podcasts as well as audio podcasts. This means that podcasters will be able to record video alongside audio, and have it play directly in the Spotify app. And Spotify listeners, both free and paid, will be able to watch video podcasts on Spotify.

How to Watch Video Podcasts on Spotify

As outlined in a post on For the Record, Spotify is starting to roll out its video podcast feature. Video podcasts will be available to listeners in all markets where podcasts are already supported. However, only a handful of podcasters are offering video at launch.

Everyone in a country where podcasts are supported on Spotify should be able to watch video podcasts. Starting with the episode of Higher Learning With Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay embedded below. Just open it in either Spotify’s desktop or mobile app and click Play.

The video and audio should start playing simultaneously, and stay synced throughout. If you switch to another app or lock your mobile device, the audio will continue playing in the background. You can also still download just the audio of podcasts to listen to on the go without worrying about the video.

As well as this episode of Higher Learning, other podcasts with video components include Book of Basketball 2.0, Fantasy Footballers, The Misfits Podcast, H3 Podcast, The Morning Toast, and The Rooster Teeth Podcast. And more will be added as Spotify rolls out this feature.

Signing Joe Rogan Forced Spotify’s Hand

Spotify has been testing video podcasts since May 2020. The streaming service has been signing up podcasts and podcast networks left, right, and center, and some of them already produce video content. So supporting video podcasts was an obvious next step.

The signing of Joe Rogan in May meant Spotify had to act fast. After all, the company spent millions of dollars to secure the services of Rogan, and his video podcast (which currently streams on YouTube) is a big reason why Spotify signed the self-styled king of podcasters.

How to Find New Podcasts to Listen To

Watching a video podcast on Spotify isn’t perfect right now, but the streaming service has made it clear it intends to improve functionality in the future. Whether anyone actually watches them remains to be seen.

If you’re keen to discover more podcasts to listen to (with video or otherwise), here’s how to find new podcasts using Spotify’s podcast playlists.

Read the full article: You Can Now Watch Video Podcasts on Spotify

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It’s Now Easier to Access Your Twitter DMs Online

If you use Twitter to send and receive private messages, you should find Twitter’s new user interface useful. The new interface makes it a lot easier to access your Twitter DMs, allowing you to read and respond to them without navigating away from your main timeline.

How to Access Your Twitter DMs on the Web

Previously, your Twitter DMs were hidden away in a separate area of the Twitter website. Which meant that if you were browsing your timeline of tweets and wanted to check your DMs you would need to open a new tab. You would then need to do the same to switch back again.

Now, Twitter has rolled out a new interface which lets you slide into your DMs without leaving your timeline. Instead, you access your DMs in a popup window in the bottom-right of your timeline. With both your DMs and your timeline of tweets visible at the same time.

Twitter’s new interface is now available on the web for anyone visiting Twitter.com. There’s no word yet on whether this same interface will be available on Twitter’s mobile app. However, given the limited space available on smartphone screens we suspect the current row of tabs will remain in place.

Either way, this new interface mirrors what you’ll find on Facebook and LinkedIn, with Twitter clearly hoping more people will make use of its messaging feature going forward. Unfortunately, that means some people will slide into your DMs without being invited. Which is why you may need to use Twitter block lists occasionally.

The Great Twitter Bitcoin Scam of 2020

Unfortunately for Twitter, it launched its new user interface at the same time as unknown parties were scamming Twitter users out of Bitcoin by tweeting from accounts including @BillGates, @elonmusk, @JeffBezos, and @kanyewest. Which meant this useful little update flew somewhat under the radar.

This should prove useful to anyone who uses Twitter’s messaging feature regularly. But it could also inspire more people to use Twitter DMs to privately message people on the social media site. If that’s you, here’s everything you need to know about Twitter DMs.

Read the full article: It’s Now Easier to Access Your Twitter DMs Online

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Snap Minis Are Bite-Sized Apps You Use in Snapchat

Snap has launched Snap Minis, which are bite-sized apps that live inside Snapchat. These are miniature apps created by third-party developers that you can use in Snapchat without ever leaving the app. Which could make Snapchat a solid choice for more than just teenagers.

How to Use Snap Minis Inside Snapchat

Snap announced Snap Minis in June 2020, and the first four have now gone live. These are Headspace (which helps you meditate), Flashcards (which lets you study collaboratively), Let’s Do It (which helps you make decisions with friends), and Prediction Master (an interactive messaging experience).

The apps are all built directly into Snapchat using HTML5. This means you don’t have to leave the comfort of Snapchat to use them, they’re guaranteed to work for all users on all devices, and they don’t even need installing.

Also on the way (but not yet live) are an app to help you plan a trip to the Coachella festival, a Saturn app for comparing class schedules, and a movie ticketing app from Atom. These should all shows up in Snapchat over the next few weeks.

Snap Minis live alongside Games. To use Snap Minis, open Snapchat and tap on the Search bar. You’ll see a list of Games and Minis, where all of the Snap Minis will be located. Just click on one to open and use it. Be warned that some Snap Minis require an exchange of information and activity between Snapchat and the third-party developer.

What Is Snapchat and How Does It Work?

This is part of a major effort by Snapchat to encourage developers to give users more to do inside Snapchat. Which should boost levels of engagement. The developers also gain access to millions of users who may then be tempted to install their full-featured apps. Making it a win-win for both parties.

Snap clearly wants to make Snapchat a ubiquitous app you cannot afford not to have installed on your phone. Even if you aren’t interested in seeing what you would look like as a pug. So, if you decide now is the time to try Snapchat for the first time, be sure to read our article explaining what Snapchat is and how it works.

Read the full article: Snap Minis Are Bite-Sized Apps You Use in Snapchat

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Spotify Launches in Russia and 12 Other Countries

Spotify is now available in Russia, Croatia, Ukraine, and 10 other countries in Eastern Europe. This brings the total number of countries the streaming music service operates in to 92. It’s also likely to bag Spotify millions of new listeners, both free and paid.

The 13 new countries Spotify is available in are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. In total, this makes Spotify newly available to 250 million people.

Spotify Creates a Custom Experience for Russia

According to Spotify, the music streaming service currently boasts 286 million listeners, with 130 million of those paying for Premium. The rest use Spotify for free, putting up with the occasional ad and losing some functionality on mobile devices.

Gustav Gyllenhammar, Spotify VP, Markets and Subscriber Growth, claims Spotify is offering a custom-built experience in Russia. This means “working with local musicians, labels and cultural tastemakers to offer a revolutionary and unrivaled fully Russian music experience.”

Specifically in Russia, Spotify is launching with 100 playlists curated and updated by a team of Russian music experts. These curated playlists include Hot Hits Russia, New Music Friday Russia, This Is in Russian, and Fully Fresh. There are also genre-specific playlists.

While the other countries aren’t getting quite the same level of attention lavished on them, there will still be “200 new playlists featuring artists from across the region.” These will be available to fans around the world, meaning everyone can explore Eastern European music.

Which Spotify Subscription Is Best for You?

Listeners across the region will be able to choose to use either the ad-supported version of Spotify for free or the paid-for Spotify Premium. The latter includes Premium Duo for couples, Premium Family for families, and Premium Student.

These are the same offerings available in the US and other markets. However, if you’re confused by the various options, be sure to read our article all about the different Spotify subscription options that are available. Doing so could save you some money.

Read the full article: Spotify Launches in Russia and 12 Other Countries