I used to be somewhat obsessive-compulsive about social media. I checked my facebook approximately 62 times per day.* I posted at least once a day, sometimes 2-3 times. I would post silly stuff about my day, serious thoughts on current events, all my newest and cutest pictures, etc. I would vigorously debate strangers about theology or politics on comment threads whose obnoxious length were only rivaled by CVS receipts. I made long instastories rambling about my ineffective dry shampoo and other deep matters. Even on Twitter – which I always have and always will despise for it’s lack of depth and proclivity for promoting unbridled hostility – I would sometimes scroll and get incensed about whatever was incensing that day.
I began dating a social media dud** a few years ago. For over 18 months, I soldiered on with my social media OCD. When COVID19 started ramping up in the U.S., both my twitter and facebook became so saturated with zany posts I could feel the stress rise in my body every time I logged in, but I was having a super hard time not logging in since I was also effectively (albiet temporarily) laid off with pay. So I gave my boyfriend the password to my facebook and twitter accounts (yes I had 2) and asked him to be my meanie-pants social media gate keeper. He has performed this role with a disturbing but effective gusto. I have probably logged in — 6-8 times in the last two months. When I do, 95% of the 30-40 notifications I have*** are completely boring and not even related to me (e.g. “Joe-Joe added to his story” or “Your mother commented on your brother’s post”).
I am struck with how I have missed almost nothing, and gained the self respect that comes from restraint. Dignity! LIFE!
What used to be a delightful tiramisu has turned into a lifeless saltine cracker.
Okay maybe I’m being slightly dramatic. But it has been nice and I feel kind of amazed that I found it so rewarding not that long ago. But now, even Instagram, the one social media platform I kept because it tended to be light and fluffy and happy, has started edging into facebook/twitter taking-itself-too-seriously territory. The pictures are mostly okay, actually, but the stories are so full of virtue signaling and pedantic lectures on polarizing topics that I can go through an entire day’s worth of stories and realize the best story was an ad for sulfate free shampoo. (Quick disclaimer: I love deep convos and I’m not afraid of discussing controversial topics with people who actually care about my opinion, but I think social media is the absolutely worst place to express them. )
Should I ax the gram, or keep at least one connection to my interweb friends? What an important decision! I will flee to the woods for thoughtful meditation. But one thing I won’t do is create a post on facebook asking everyone what I should do. Success? !
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*Estimated by the Gallonoggin
**This is the only things he’s a dud about, trust me. Yowza!
***What can I say.. #popular
3 thoughts on “Social media in 2020: A lifeless saltine cracker”
Social media platforms are the perfect dish for the development of artificial intelligence algorithms.
Robotic profiles are carefully configured to collect information from users in passionate discussions in which they expose their opinions and preferences, and outline their behavioral profile in relation to topics and situations in people’s common lives.
I read this week a story about a lady who, when choosing to buy online an unscented shampoo ; gave an algorithm the opportunity to detect that she was pregnant, without her realizing it; because pregnant women are more sensitive to odors; and, started sending shopping suggestions to her husband.
This illustration exposes the fact that social media and all online activity can become the living legend of the Sphinx: “decipher me, or I devour you.”
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