Are you culturally savvy?

Many years ago, there was a cave man and a cave woman, and their cave friends. Their vocabulary was very limited: uh, duh, boom-boom, and ugh. By and by, they progressed to what they called modern society, and their language expanded tremendously, but then after irreconcilable differences, they decide that life was better when words were simple and limited. So after much brou-ha-ha about being progressive and civilised, they returned to the minimalist era, with the integration of about 4 more words to the previous lexicon. They incorporated lol, brb, b4 and wtf. And out of this grew many subcultures of the human species and media for social interaction.

I have come to learn that Craigslist, like Facebook and Myspace, is just another avenue for social chit-chat and emotional elevation – that euphoria we feel from the endorphins carousing through our veins at a neck-breaking speed after a good run or gym work-out; that feel-good that we experience after a good, solid dose of coition; (at this point I would mention a good free-basing episode, but I cannot do that justice in my description, as I lack the referential experience).

It is obvious that people place ads to get a response, a form of dialogue. The responses will make them feel a connection with another human, sort of a validation that they are still alive in the human community and are telekinetically viable in the mass consciousness. From my experience, which has been heightened and expanded during this past year ( because I have been in three different states within the last 11 months), I have concluded that CL users are certifiably a separate  culture, with their own language, semiotics, codes and ethics…, well, none of that! They have their own communication system, implicit understanding, and normalised ways of behaving; analogous to the modes of text message users and good old personal interactions.

For example, in an interpersonal interaction after chatting with someone you’ve just met, they may smile as though sucking on honey and say, “It was sooooo nice to meet you! We should go out for coffee sometime.”

But what they really mean is “That was really taxing on my brain, ‘sometime’ is never going to come along for us, because I will do my best to avoid you.” And you understand that message, because it was encoded in the way in which the ‘sooooo’ was dragged on, together with the noodle hand-shake or the plastered-on, full-denture smile. So you’ll know that you need to avoid them like they just got out of jail!

And in the case of the text message mavens, they employ a particual language that is crypted, abbreviated, and encoded. They say things like: brb, lol, b4, and wtf (my favourite! I’ve even integrated it in my literary repertoire). Similarly then, the CL users have their special cultural lingo and Aesopian way of interacting, which absolutely places my simple, Palaeolithic brain in a pretzel twist.

For instance, an email with just these 5 words, “Do you still have it?” (referring to the item you’ve advertised for sale) means, “I’ve emailed 20 other folks besides you, as I’m just doing the process of elimination to see who responds. I’m really just window-shopping…really…..ho-hum, just checking out my options.’’

And if you happen to respond, “Yes,” then you’ll never hear from them because they have already gotten their euphoric ‘fix’ and have moved on in search of the next thing they may fancy possessing (remember that they are just window shopping).

Yes, I know, you’re probably saying, “Oh, that’s a bunch of hogwash!” And if you think it is, then just for shits and grins, try this: in your ad, place in bold letters “if this ad is still up, it means that I still have it,” and see how many people will still send the email:
“Uh, do you still have that toaster oven?” Actually, the email will be more, “still have it?” (the uhs, and duhs are sublime………and encoded……get with the program!).

So from this brief but comprehensive one year experience, I have made some observations that have helped me to sift through the rubble and get to the response-worthy emails.

5 signs they are not serious prospects:
1. They are emailing even though you’ve provided a phone number, and specifically stated that you prefer calls/ texts and not emails. Cowards and liars hide behind an email, it provides a screen (well, so they feel) that instant communication dissolves. A phone conversation is too burdensome, and their lie will be as painfully obvious as Kim  Kardashian’s lack of talent (well, all of the Kardashians, sadly!)

2. Their first email states that they are ‘’very interested,’’ yet, they take 2 – 5 days to respond. Wtf? Or should I say, “Already sold, Lol?”

3. They ask all the specific questions that you’ve already stated (boldly) in the ad. There were no extra words to cause confusion, yet they ask “What year is the car, and how much are you asking?” Hmmm, did I mention that their email begins with ‘’I’m very interested……..?’’
If you don’t know the details, then in what are you ‘very interested?’ Moreover, if one is ‘very interested,’ it is assumed that one would take the time to read b4 (yes, I’m practising my text lingo) emailing, right? Wrong! Remember, they have sent the same email to 20 others……..looking for a response, any response!… Just talk to me, I’m bored and need attention.

4. Then they say they ‘’have to talk it over with their ‘’better half’’and will get back to you.’’ Need I comment on that one? Nah! That’s a petri dish ripe for psychological analysis; we’ll be here all day.

5. The classic one, my favourite, is when I respond to an ad for a job, and the response snaps back quickly, but the first question is: how old are you?……..Ding! Ding! Ding! Warning! Alert! Suspicious Activity! Threat detected! Abandon operation immediately!…………….Um, wtf? What happened, did I spill the coffee on the keyboard again? Uh….brb!


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