Monday, May 13, 2013

Please "like" if you're not a complete jerk

Social media is making me crazy. No, wait... not crazy, because that would be silly. 
Social media is making me feel like a major a$$hole.

I used to enjoy making fun of "Brag"book and its tendency towards posts and updates that are nothing more than people showing off. OK, you're on a boat... we get it! How much you truly "like" your friend typically skews how you read a post. So it's either, "Oh my goodness, how amazing that this person is writing their own book. They are so smart/funny/interesting. How exciting for them." OR "OK, we get it! You're smarter/better than us! Seriously? That jackal can write a book? I can F-ing write a book too..." etc. 

But it has gone pretty far beyond that now. I am left longing for the simpler time when posts were merely a recount of your latest achievements: new pets, jobs, kids, sexual conquests, et al. For some unknown reason I continue to check in on my friends via Facebook and Twitter even though it makes me some combination of angry, sad, guilty or frustrated WAY more than it makes me happy just to hear how everyone is doing. I willingly choose to subject myself to the guilt, agony and ridicule found lurking in the seemingly innocuous status updates and tweets I read. 

Of course it is amazingly convenient to point the finger at social media rather than self-examining my own laziness, guilt and jealousy. But that's what I'm doing, so deal with it. (regarding that amazing convenience - see laziness referenced above)

I check in on my friends regularly. I am hoping for pictures of their new homes, cars, kids, friends and the time and place of their next vacation, but what I also get, as an added bonus, is a laundry list of things to freak me out and make me feel like crap. 

So here it is, My Top 10 list of Ways Social Media Makes Me Feel Like An Arsehole:

1-What I read: N is asking her friends for a dishwasher detergent recommendation that doesn't contain X chemical.
What I think: Holy sh!t. So now I am killing my family because I use f#$king Cascade? Natural dishwasher detergents don't get my dishes clean. Sh!t! I have to choose between the health and well being of my family or clean dishes? OK, give me a sec. But I really like clean dishes. I hated not having a dishwasher. I love not having to wash them myself. But now, if I'm using Cascade, I'm a horrible person who doesn't care about her family. Damnit!

2-What I read
What I think: OK, but not every piece of fruit I have consumed has been subject to this seemingly simple washing solution, so what does that mean for me? For my kid? For my husband? (not necessarily in that order, of course *blush*)

3-What I read: P just clocked in a run of 8.6 miles with her Nike Facebook app.
What I think: Ok, so not only does P find the time for an 8+ mile run with two kids running around at home, she is tech savvy enough to sync it with her sneakers, or her phone, or her socks or something... I don't know what, but she got it on Facebook for everyone to see. Thanks P. Nice reminder that I am not only unhealthy, but tech illiterate too. Sweet.

4-What I read: Please look at this optical illusion and respond in the comments section or click like to see what happens next... it will blow your mind!
What I think: No it won't. It will disappoint me. And then it will show my friends that I like it, when I really don't. In fact, is there a way for me to block these types of messages from appearing in my feed? I seriously don't care how many rectangles everyone can see or if the bear is going to jump off the mountain. I want the five seconds it took to look at it back.
Stare at this picture as long as you like, nothing's going to happen. I just wanted to use it.
5-What I read: Please adopt this incredibly cute, incredibly sad dog pictured here. 
Cue Sarah McLachlan song
What I think: This dog is incredibly cute and incredibly sad... kind of like the other 30 incredibly cute, incredibly sad dogs you posted this week. Clearly I have a lot of friends who are dog supporters... frequent-posting dog supporters. And I am truly grateful for their work on behalf of the dogs. I hope they get them adopted. But at the end of the day, I am neither in physical proximity to these friends, nor in a position to adopt these heartbreakingly sad dogs. So I just feel like a MAJOR jerk for not being able to help while secretly wanting the posts to thin out a bit.

6-What I read: I am running/walking/spinning/dancing to support XXX charity. Please support me.
What I think: F#$K! I totally do this! I post my charitable requests online asking friends to help with my run/walks. Then when I read the requests of others, I donate sometimes and then just feel incredibly guilty for not being able to donate to everyone. I seriously would. If I had more money and more time, I would sit and click on every page and make some sort of a donation. But I don't always do that. Checking Facebook on your phone (which is how I read Facebook 90% of the time) makes clicking on links and entering credit card details more time consuming and difficult than it should be. Unfortunately this inconvenience is usually enough to prevent me from going home, logging in and remembering who was requesting money from where and going on to contribute to their drive. Of course, when I am soliciting donations for my cause, I am baffled by how few people do just that. So the requests really just point out A-what a jerk I am for even asking and B-for not making the time to help everyone else. I really suck.

7-Don't even get me started on the mind-f#$ks/invasions of personal space that are the "sponsored" ads. They possess an uncomfortable level of relevance to my life. When it showed a bench that I had just been admiring in a magazine that was sitting in my lap, I actually had to spin around to make sure someone wasn't physically looking over my shoulder. It's pretty damn omniscient and it freaks me out.

8-Or how about the crisis of conscience I experienced after changing my profile picture to show the red marriage equality signal? They asked to change it for a day, then extended it for the week. Cut to the awkward moment late into the following week when I was like, shoot, if I change my profile picture from this, will everyone think I just up and changed my mind about marriage equality? Am I meant to keep this up until we have marriage equality? Can I just change it because I finally have a cute picture of my kid that I want to share? What do I do?? Again, unnecessary stress and anxiety brought on singlehandedly by social media. 
I mean, come on government... just get SOMETHING done already!
9-Let's not forget the incredible restraint we have to show when our friends of friends post incredibly ignorant or politically aggressive tidbits. I once made a snide comment in response to one of these posts and instantly deleted it, fearing both a pseudo-intellectual debate via the comments section of our mutual friend's photo and/or that my friend would side with the other person and not me. I wasn't interested in either option so I just deleted it, but not before a separate mutual friend "liked" my comment. Phew! At least I knew I was in the right. I just lacked the social media conviction to pursue it any further.

10-Yeah, um, I don't actually have 10. I have noticed, though, that most of the more popular articles and posts are formatted in this way. So I went back and revised it to read as a Top 10 instead of my usual prose. Because, let's face it, Top 9 just doesn't have the same ring. I suppose we could make #10 the need to oversimplify and over-categorize things in the quest for public acceptance. Or we could focus on the MAJOR a$$hole-ness involved in making a Top 10 list out of 9 things... yup, that one's on me. Curses to you, alluring appeal of famous Top 10 lists!

So, for the most part, I am looking to continue my shallow existence in/on(?) social media. I want to see your pictures. I want to hear about your achievements. I want to watch the first few seconds of your videos. I want to hear what news you have. I do not need to know when you're moving your car for alternate side of the street parking. I don't care that you like Best Buy and think that I should too. For the most part, I do not need to know that you have completed major feats of talent or strength if you want anything more from me than a "like." Let's keep it light people. Save your soapbox forum for your blog (as I have), or your budding political career. Please stop giving me stuff that helps me makes me feel like crap. I mean, I know I can be kind of a jerk, but stop making me feel like such a major a$$hole!
Thanks in advance, 
Miss Spartacus

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