Monday, July 15, 2013

What Has Social Media Done for You Lately?

Sometimes I get the urge to rip out every plug from every wall, every device, and go be a bum on the beach. Sadly, I live nowhere near the beach. That makes being a beach bum kinda hard. 

I don't think I own the right outfit for beach bumming.

Unfortunately, I don't own a tutu and I live in the mountains. Mountain bum doesn’t have near the same ring to it. It actually sounds kinda creepy. 

I don’t think I’m online too much or too connected, even though a lot of people would surely disagree. I think I’m just too casually connected with people I flat-out don’t like. How come in the real world nobody expects us to give even a nod to people who drive us crazy, but many of us find ourselves smack in the middle of online discussions with people we can’t stand?

We’re still allowed to not like certain people, right? Or did I miss a memo...

Facebook has this magical, sparkly, happy-kitten, wondrous ability to bring people together. Especially people who would be much better off not knowing that the other existed. That’s like tossing a bee hive into a hornet’s nest just to see what happens. 

Let’s all be friends! 

Lions eat gazelles, you know. They eat elephants, too. Didn’t Animal Planet teach us anything? 

I don’t like the way excuses for bad manners are made as if a person’s hometown makes it all ok. Rude is rude, regardless of where it hails from. New York, Knoxville or Los Angeles, surely we all have some idea about what’s rude and what isn’t.

I got not time for rude. And I don’t want to grow a thicker, elephant skin. My skin is aging fast enough as it is, thankyouverymuch. And I don’t want to be eaten by a lion. 

So with this questionable experiment called Social Media, we’re shoved together all in the name of friendship. But some people were never meant to be friends. I stand a much better chance of keeping my karma in good condition if its not tested every damned day. 

Lennon said that instant karma’s gonna get you. I always wondered what “instant karma” meant, but maybe this is it. We do live in a world of instant everything, after all. Instant gratification on all fronts, including communication. 

One theory about instant karma is instant accountability for your actions. Holy crap, what a concept! The Internet takes away a great deal of accountability. A keyboard and the anonymity of not saying things to a person’s face makes us 10 feet tall and bulletproof. 


Sure I would, since I don't actually know you. 

The sensation of no accountability online is pretty dang ironic considering that we’ve all heard the warning: What you send out into the  interwebs is there forever and forever and forever. 

And forever.

My darling Mr. Vagabond avoids all social media as if its lava. I’ve teased him about that, but I think he might be onto something. 

Being the loudest, the most forceful, the one with all of the “real” answers, and the one with the quickest wit--what does that actually mean? 

Does it mean anything at all? Or is it just a facade that lets the bully feel important for a minute?

You!  No, YOU!  

It is bullying, you know. That’s pretty much a given, and we’re supposed to shun bullies nowadays. That’s the right thing to do, correct?  Or is that only true if you’re five and on a playground?

Of course anyone would tell you that all social media lets its users decide who they want to see and interact with. But wasn’t this supposed to be fun, and not another job?

Myspace was fun.

If we don’t treat it like a job, staying on top of all of the changes that happen on pretty much a daily basis, it's our fault for being at risk of whatever. 

That’s actually another thing that pushy people love to remind everyone else about. “Well, you know that you can (insert remedy for whatever is pissing off someone else).” And then the educator feels all super-smart and good about himself or herself, and the one who is already having a shitty day feels worse. 

Let’s all be friends! Remember: Animal Planet. 

No, I don’t think social media brings friends together, or at least that’s not its primary function anymore. If you don’t believe me, scroll through your friends list and see just how many people you actually interact with, and how many of those you would consider friends out in the “real world.” 

No, dear. There's no arsenic in the tea.

In my case, the percentage of real friends versus acquaintances online is about the same as the percentage of those among people I know in the flesh-and-blood real world. 

So are we really making lots and lots of awesome friends? Or are we just broadening connections that don’t enrich our lives? I’m “friends” with a few rather famous people. Some of those people have interacted with me personally on Facebook and Twitter. Some of them, I have even shared space, time and cocktails with out in the real world. I do not, however, expect to get an invitation to their next BBQ or birthday party. 

If we’re only broadening connections, how long until we’re spread so thin that there’s not a whole lot of our real selves left to devote to the people who actually matter to us? 

I think I need a margarita on the beach, my toes in the sand and some time to think this through. Or some moonshine and dirt, since I am unfortunately a mountain bum. 


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