I’ve had some sort of social media account for more than 7 years now. Like most people I started on MySpace and eventually moved on to Facebook and, of course, now there’s Twitter, Google+ and who knows how many others. Trying to keep updated on the multitude of sites could be a full time job depending on how many you subscribe to and how many people you’ve added or been added by.
When I first started on MySpace it was fun and new. I had just moved to a new town and I used it to discover local things to do, including the music scene. I met some interesting people and considered my initial foray into MySpace a success.
Skip ahead, Facebook appears. Again, very freaking cool. Suddenly I could keep up with people I had never really been friends with. That kid in kindergarten who moved away before first grade? Yep, found them. That friend I had in Arizona who I’d lost touch with after I moved as we had very little in common aside from hanging out in person? Yep, found them and others besides.
I loved it. I would check in daily, excited to see what was new in the world. It was similar to having a first crush. Everything was cute and, yes, I clicked like and poked people and followed links and learned way more about people – and human nature – than I ever thought I wanted to.
It’s been 7 years. Did you know the cells in the human body regenerate every 7 years? Technically I’m a different person than I was when I first discovered MySpace. In some states, had Social Media been an actual person, we’d be Common Law married now and it would be entitled to half my stuff if I decided to divorce the various accounts. Not that I would, never fear.
Upon reflection of how Social Media has changed I realized something. It’s no longer that cute crush I want to check in with first and last thing each day. Warning, there’s a simile afoot.
Every job I’ve ever had, every office/restaurant/store, has had that one person who knows everything that’s going on. They know the boss’ dog had an upset tummy last night and that’s why the boss didn’t get enough sleep. They know who’s birthday it is and they’re in charge of collections for a card or ice cream cake or whatever. I don’t want to check in with this person each day but I have to. I talk to this person to get the skinny. I generally feel dirty afterwards as I have nothing in common with this person, had no desire to talk to them and, worse, found myself sharing information which would be broadcast “to Infinity and Beyond!” Generally I want a shower after.
Don’t get me wrong. I love pictures of cute cats doing goofy things. I like seeing pictures of my childhood friends’ babies. But.
The majority of what I see posted on Social Media isn’t about that anymore. It isn’t cute babies that I might actually know. It’s turned into people sharing other people’s links and thoughts and an awful lot of those read like advertisements for big companies.
I’m not leaving Facebook, it has it’s uses. As I thought about this blog posting I checked in on FB and, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel the need for a shower after. A classmate of mine from high school passed away. I didn’t know him well but well enough as we all went to a small town school.My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Had it not been for FB I never would have known now that I live 1800 miles away. So, thank you, Social Media, for being that nosy co-worker who gossips unceasingly.