^ I just looked at around twenty of these 'Socially Awkward Penguin' things and was able to relate to at least 19.3. Oh dear.
Like any nerd exposed to the outside world, I spend a lot of my time fumbling through conversations with people I have no real desire to talk to but am forced to thanks to the constraints of social etiquette. That's fine though. Whilst I rarely initiate the conversation, I've managed to get this 'small talk' thing down to an art - a greeting, ask how they are in a the manner of an 80s sitcom character ("What's shakin'?" and "How's it hanging, brosef?" are two such colloquialisms that help me fit in) and exchange general banal pleasantries before finally making polite excuses and scurrying away from further interaction. Because most people are far more adept than me at communicating with one another, any degree of awkwardness in the conversation is made up for by the other person's understanding of the communicative process. It's not a great conversation, but it's functional. However, I've met people who are worse at these inane exchanges than me and let me tell you, what ensues is not pleasant. (You will be able to tell who I am in this example through my use of bodacious vernacular).
"Hey man, what's shakin'?"
"Not a lot."
"This is the point where you reciprocate the question, you potato."
If you don't have the rudimentary skills to even return the question "How are you?", you should not be allowed to converse with other people. You should stay in your room, watching television shows online and vicariously living through the cast of How I Met Your Mother until you learn how to be around real people.
Shockingly, this can be made worse. There is a specific breed of the socially awkward that are blind to their own conduct and appear, as if from nowhere, at the most inopportune moments. They are poised for inaction, ready to harass you with statements that stop conversations dead in their tracks. These Surprise-Awks (look, I'm not good at naming things) will join you in a group situation, interrupt what you're saying and then proceed to talk only to you, ignoring the other members of the conversation. They pull you away from your friends and force you to interact with them whilst everyone else continues the discussion you were once part of. Eventually, your forced private exchange will die out and you will return to the larger discussion at whole - only for you to say something and the Surprise-Awk to drop another comment meant exclusively for your ears, thus destroying any fluidity of group debate. It's pretty simple; if you can't engage with more than one person at once, don't attempt to. Stop ruining one of my few moments of sociality with your ridiculously unhelpful comments about nothing.