Social media: Resistance is Futile?

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

Judging by many of your blogs, Facebook addiction is a dangerous thing. I’ve just finished reading several posts about the difficulties one experiences during de-Facebookization. Serious stuff, that. My sympathies to all of you trying to quit.

Generally speaking, social media isn’t something I care to write about because so many of you are already doing it. In fact, social media isn’t even something I care to participate in. Mostly, again, because so many of you are already doing it.

It’s maddening, though, that I am participating in all kinds of online social networks and communities, whether I like it or not. In September I set up a Facebook profile and friended all of my relatives living around the world. To my shock, though I was new to Facebook as a user, my face was old news in many of their photo galleries. I stumbled upon dozens of pictures featuring me picking flowers, me driving a car, me standing in the rain, me picking my nose, me looking up at the sky, me eating a plate of pasta, me struggling with a pair of socks, me watching TV, me after a nasty trip to the dentist. All good stuff. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to see all that? On Facebook, apparently, there’s more pictures of me than you’ll find of Jennifer Lawrence if you search Google Images. I am a popular Facebook commodity. Now all I have to do is find out how to monetize my ever-present presence.

I admit that I don’t really get Facebook. I don’t understand the point of it. Call me stupid if you wish, I just don’t get it. Read my lips: what is it all about?

Hold that thought, I’ll get back to Facebook in a moment.

Twitter, on the other hand, I’m starting to comprehend. Twitter is like one big happy party. Everyone’s shouting the first thing they can think of, and then everyone else shouts back incomprehensible responses such as ~***~. It’s like being in a house full of drunken people. Drunks always think they’re making perfect sense. “What is wrong with you,” you’ll hear them say, “why aren’t you understanding me?!” They also think that if they overpronounce every word, nobody will notice they’re plastered out of their minds. Drunks often achieve enviable diction in their speech, which is more than can be said about most sober Twitterers (or Twitts? I don’t know, what do you people call yourself?).

Last week I set up a Twitter account. Easy as pie, as Americans like to say. Or, the cat’s cough (mačiji kašalj), as we Serbians like to put it. I didn’t even have to use my real name or an actual phone number. Now, how rare is that?! Two clicks, boom, bang, and I was ready to tweet. Within seconds, before I even had a chance to post a single thought (I was torn between “Hello world!” and “Has anyone seen my car keys, please?”) I had three followers. I felt so flattered. Here were three fellow human beings so trusting of my ability to be interesting and generally worth their while that they decided to follow me without even reading a single word from me. So, I politely responded by following two of them. The third turned out to be a young woman incapable of sitting up straight, apparently, having photographed herself with both her legs tucked neatly behind her head. Her message to me was “I give you good sex. You want? 2 for 1.” Interesting. I was particularly intrigued by the 2 for 1 part. Did that mean that I would pay for just 1 but actually get 2 sexes? Sexes nowadays being sold by the piece, evidently. Unfortunately when I posed this question to my follower, she promptly de-followed me. Lesson: when offered sexes, don’t ask any questions. (P.S. I’m saying sexes because the issue, I thought, was with the offer of more than one sex and, as everyone knows, the plural of sex is sexes; also, using the word sex and/or sexes as many times as possible assures me of a wider readership, I believe)

Back to Facebook. What is it all about?

After setting up my profile in September, I only logged one act of Facebooking. I uploaded a picture my father took of me when I was about three. In this photo I’m standing in the middle of a dusty parking lot. Nobody in my family remembers where exactly this lot would have been located around that time, and my father doesn’t remember what we were doing standing in the middle of it (or why he thought it provided a great backdrop for a picture of his little kid). In the photo it’s summer and it’s an exceptionally bright day. I’m squinting at the camera under a mop of messy hair. My eyes are bright with unconcealed anger (I hated/hate having my picture taken). I am the cutest child you’ve ever seen.

After months of my Facebook silence (relatives having given up on trying to contact me through it and instead opted to reach me by knocking on my door), I received an urgent notification from a middle-aged woman with a vaguely familiar name. She wanted to be my friend. Reluctantly I logged into my account and accepted. She was, after all, vaguely familiar. Within minutes she popped up in the little chat window on the bottom of my screen. After explaining who she was, she told me she decided to contact me after seeing that parking lot picture of me. “I imagine you’re still exactly the same; only older, of course,” she said.

She must be thinking I’m some kind of mischievous lovable adorable goof, I thought. She told me she remembered me as exactly that type of kid. Great! The only problem being, I’ve never been that to her. I barely remembered her, and I know for a fact she never registered my existence when I was a child. She was a teenager when I was three, and though we lived on the same street, I’m pretty sure she would’ve been hard pressed to remember my first name if anyone had asked her. If I had been a gorgeous little devil wreaking havoc on the entire neighborhood, she never would have known it.

So what is Facebook really all about?

Everyone sees whatever they want or need to see in our little artificial Internet profiles. But in the end, they can only see what we allow them to see. Social media lets me be anyone I want to be. Better yet, it permits me to become anyone I’m expected to be. In real life, however, the real person often turns out to be nothing but a faded version of a stunning profile.

Facebook is really just an elaborate lie. Twitter, on the other hand, does provide some much much needed laughs. Though, in the end, it’s nothing more than radio static.


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