Social Media: I feel like I’m back in school
May 14, 2011 § 40 Comments
Once upon a time, I didn’t even have a facebook account.
I know, I know. These days that’s the equivalent of being undead. You’re not really, demonstrably in existence unless you are on the Facebook map. Even my grandmother has a facebook account.
Anyway, by this time I also have a blog (you’d never have guessed that part, right?) and a twitter account, which makes me feel pretty cool and social-media-savvy. These things do make it a lot easier to keep in touch with friends, family and acquaintances, and it’s a way to meet some interesting new people, too. I’d pretty much love it if the whole thing didn’t increasingly remind me of the school playground.
Since I’m given to rambling at length about things that annoy me, I shall explain why. Let’s start with where it all began….
Remember a year or so ago when everybody (actually just the girls) updated their status with random colours? Or after that when everyone changed their profile picture to a childhood cartoon? Or recently when everybody reposted the same heartfelt, meaningful piece of text about Japan?
Well… all the other kids were doing it.
Or how about this one, that I saw today:
ATTENTION. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU ARE ON MY FRIENDS LIST. I ENJOY MEETING YOU ON HERE. I AM NOT ONLY GLAD TO COUNT YOU AS FRIENDS BUT ALSO FAMILY. LET’S SEE WHO ACTUALLY PAYS ATTENTION. COPY THIS AS YOUR STATUS JUST FOR A MINUTE. I’LL BE WATCHING TO SEE WHO REALLY DOES CHERISH FAMILY & FRIENDSHIP….. THANK YOU
I laughed. I had to, because it was more fun than vomiting or stuffing my fist through my computer monitor. Here we have the school playground mentality in full swing.
If you don’t post the colour of your bra, you’re not really in support of cancer research, are you? If you don’t repost some trite phrase about Japan, you just don’t care that thousands of people are dying. And if you don’t repost this wall of text RIGHT NOW, I’ll know you don’t really cherish friends and family. I’ll know that you aren’t really my friend.
I’m just going to hope, really hard, that there aren’t people whose idea of a true friend is someone who posts text on their facebook wall on demand. I’m just going to have to hope that, because otherwise… I’m back to vomiting or breaking shit.
Let’s move on.
O GLORIOUS TWITTER
Ah, Twitter. You connect people. You enable conversations (if stilted ones) across worlds, races, religions, and fashion choices. It’s inspiring.
Here’s the precious, heart-warming communication I received this week.
@charlottenglish and (insert 5 more names here) unfollowed me today. Via #somestupidtwitter”helper”app
Now, I’m well aware that people try to game twitter by following hundreds of people, waiting until they follow back and then unfollowing them and following a load of other people. It’s touted as the quick way to build an enormous following. Therefore, there are some cute applications floating around that will helpfully tweet (on your behalf) every time you’re unfollowed. We’re calling those people out! They deserve to be publically exposed! I bet at school they were the types who would ‘accidentally’ clout the opposition around the head with the hockey stick in order to get ahead. Oops, my bad. Hope the damage isn’t permanent.
Course, you’re more likely to end up aiming those charming tweets at people who had legit reasons for unfollowing you. Therefore, what you’ve actually said is more as follows:
Hey world! I bored the shit out of 6 people on twitter today! Woo!
I’m such a foul-mouthed little bastard, I can’t write a single tweet without using the word ‘fuck’! These 6 people think I’m a total prick!
Hi guys! I’ve been posting links to my book/website/blog 85 times per day, every day, for the last week. These 6 people felt like they’d either have to unfollow me or they’d take out their own eyes with a spoon! Yay!
Etc. But, you know, nice try on calling me out.
Blogging, on the whole, manages to be less prone to playground behaviour than facebook or twitter. It’s certainly less prone to the obnoxious variety. But it’s social media, so it’s not immune. I’m talking about
Yeees, blog awards. Not all of them, of course; mostly the ones that read as follows:
“Hey, you’re such an AMAZING blogger I’m giving you this award! It’s all because I, personally, so much LOVED your personal blog that I just had to express my appreciation with this award!
…. Now go pass it on to fifteen more people!! Spread the highly individual, totally personalised love!!
What this reeks of more than anything is the CHAIN LETTER. Let me explain why I detest chain letters beyond all reason.
Once upon a time, when I was quite a little girl, I served time in a certain English boarding school. Not all that much of it – about a year – and I was a scholarship student, which meant immediate and lasting social death. But, unfortunately, I wasn’t completely ignored. I still received the chain letters.
This particular school kindly gave each student their own, school-based email address. They all had the same formula, so you could easily figure out the email addresses of all the other girls. That meant chain letters went through the school like a bout of plague.
Hi! Here’s a really cute picture of a kitten! Hope you enjoy it. If you don’t pass this on to 12 people within the next half hour, your entire family will die! Go! You have thirty minutes! Have a nice day 🙂
You see these things all over YouTube videos these days.
If one managed to be impervious to the threats of instant, mass death, the girls who’d sent it were probably in the same room ready to make one’s life miserable over it. So inevitably, one dutifully chose 12 more victims to send the gorgeous kitten on to. About five times a day.
Watching these ‘Blog Awards’ go around, then, is like a particularly putrid trip down Ye Olde Memory Lane. Let me just say that if anybody tries to send me one of these ‘Awards’ and expects me to bite, you’ll be disappointed. K?
Anyway, that’s it for the latest 1000-word rant. I’ll end by saying, that if anybody tries to unfriend/unfollow/unsubscribe on me in light of what I’ve written, I’ll know you were never really my friends. I’ll know that you’re probably horrible people. I bet you didn’t post your bra colour either, did you? I’LL BE WATCHING TO SEE WHO MY TRUE FRIENDS ARE.