Tag

Social Networking

I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is reach for my phone; I sift through the notifications; who ‘Likes’ my pictures? Who has replied to me, mentioned me? I am hooked on the feedback drip. Increasingly I feel less sure of myself in real conversations; I can’t read faces. Real people are a blank mirror. I clutch the cold glass brick of my hand in my palm to feel better.

Do I have a career right now? Will I refer to this time as part of my career later? When am I going to have a career? Is this a career? Is this life, or is life going to happen later? Is everyone still getting married and settling down? Is that something everyone’s eventually going to do? Or did everyone stop doing that? Like, you know how everyone’s parents got married and then got divorced? Is that our destiny?

And it’s so gently unsettling that now, for the first time in human history, we have this funny, innocent little peephole into the lives of others. An acquaintance, an old flame, in any other period of history, would have faded away just as quickly as they came–now, they are here indefinitely. They linger on the bottom of our screens, they pop up in our news feeds, they are still here.

I am the internet. I am anything to everyone everywhere. I am a mass channel for organizing a cultural revolution in Iran and finding a free ottoman on Craigslist. If I had a status update it would be, “So busy today,” and it would actually be true, unlike you.

Given my social networking experience, which is extensive, I see a lot of status updates on Facebook. Without belaboring the point, here are the five most annoying categories of status updates, counting down to the single most upchuck-reflex inducing bile that gets spewed, Team America style, all over my newsfeed.

Probably neither of those. We define ourselves through our relations to other people. We are mother, husband, lover, sister, teacher, friend, son, enemy. Without links to other people, we disintegrate. We need anchors to society. To label someone is not to negate them. Even derogatory labels, whilst unpleasant, acknowledge a place in society, somewhere to belong. An identity.

How to be an Artist: Start an Etsy ‘store.’ Draw small robots, animals or ‘things’ on printer paper. Add minimal color using the markers you used in grade school. These drawings’ overarching theme should be one of ‘cuteness’ or ‘twee.’ Frame these drawings and list them on Etsy for $20 a piece. Facebook status update that you’ve “finally” started an Etsy page “so [you] can FINALLY start selling [your] art.”

At parties: Feel a tingling sensation in your thumb, begging you to refresh your feeds during every awkward moment. Feel a strong inclination to whip out your phone during any silence that lasts over ~1.5 seconds. Find that you can usually fight the urge, but instinctually check FB and Twitter when conversations cease and you’re unsure of whom to mingle with next.