The so-called ‘Blue Thumb of Doom’, a thumb’s up icon used primarily on Messenger, has been found to be the most passive aggressive response one person can give to another when using social media.
The study, conducted by the Office For Social Interaction and Interactivity (OFSII) discovered that replying to someone’s message with a big blue thumbs up is the most effective way of telling them you don’t give a shit about what they just said and would really like to end the conversation now.
However, the study also developed a sliding scale rating method (called the Passive Aggressive Rating) which meant other forms of passive aggression were sometimes more hateful).
The OFSII study, which polled thousands of internet users up and down the country, revealed that the use of ‘regards’ instead of ‘kind regards’ in emails often became more passive aggressive as it has a fixed PA rating.
Professer Sandy Storm, head of the study, said that there are three distinct types of ‘regards’ and each has a fixed PA rating:
- Kindest regards (PA rating 1) – suggests the very nicest and most gentlist of regards, but is, in fact, just a way of saying ‘cheers mate’ in an officious capacity.
- Kind regards (PA rating 20) – you merely wish that the corresponder will die in their sleep or, perhaps, even slip into a temporary coma and only hate them as much as you might hate Marmite.
- Regards (PA rating 58) – you loathe everything about the corresponder and sincerely hope they die of anal necrosis.
By comparison, Professor Storm said of the blue thumbs up, “this is a slightly different kettle of fish. The blue thumbs up is rarely a replacement for death threats, but it’s still extraordinarily passive aggressive and says that the number of fucks you give is more or less equal to zero.”
The study showed that the PA rating when compared with the ‘Blue Thumb of Doom’ correlates on a word to word basis with the length of the other person’s statement.
Storm explained the science: “we determined that the PA rating can be defined by the number of words in the message to which the blue thumb is a response. The higher the word count, the higher the rating, the higher the hate.”
“For example, a blue thumb response to a three word message such as ‘see you tomorrow’ has a relatively low PA rating of 3. That’s almost friendly, though not necessarily friendly.”
“By comparison, a blue thumb response to a 20 word message has a rating of PA 20. That’s dangerously high and not at all nice.”
“As a guide, Adolf Hitler’s attitude toward the Jews returned a PA rating of around 60 to 65, while a Brexiteer’s hatred toward ‘unelected Bureaucrats in Brussels’ goes all the way up to 72, so the level of nasty goes off the scale very quickly.”
Storm explained that the unique rating system can also be applied to real-life interactions, saying that the phrase ‘excuse me, can I help you?’ Had a PA rating of between 5 and 150 depending on how stern the speaker’s expression is and whether or not they have their arms folded at the time.