Tag Archives: social media

What if Facebook Told the Truth?

Social media is on everyone’s mind nowadays…bloggers, corporations, college students, retirees, mid-level dental practitioners, etc. We are all talking about it. For better or worse, we’re putting social media on our salads, marinating pork chops in it, and using it to style our hair.

Gah! I'm nameless!

Some see the advent of social media positively, as an exciting new frontier, the way of the future, and a symbol of human innovation. However, others fear the advent of social media signals our civilization’s decline, with meaningful relationships being transformed into an insipid system of likes and reblogs.

One criticism I hear consistently is that social media networks allow their users to construct false portraits of who they are. They can choose a flattering profile picture, carefully select their favorite movies, books, and music in order to put forth their best self, or at least the self they want to present to the world.

In theory, this might make it more difficult to tell if a person is a loser, but it seems the fools are still easy to spot. People shamelessly admit, with no hint of irony, that they love Jersey Shore and Gossip Girl, that they only read texts written in Ottoman Turkish, and that they prefer to listen to Disney classics covered by a famous jazz flutist you’ve never heard of.

Perhaps it’s most frightening to consider that our facebook profile is the most accurate portrayal available of our mind-self. Nevertheless, the information is still selected by the user, for the most part.

But what if facebook told the truth about us, all of it, in addition to the profile we create and the photos and posts we censor? What if, in addition to statuses filled with articles, Bible verses, smiley faces, and humorous thoughts, facebook also posted things like, “had black thoughts of hatred towards innocent person” or “took the last cookie out of spite” or “hurt someone on purpose without remorse?”

What if facebook recorded our interactions with others and organized it in a virtue and vice section, with characteristics such as selfishness, unfaithfulness, joy, and kindness. And what if it filled in the other categories too, revealing our guilty pleasures and secret loves, like country music and chick flicks and picking our toes?

If facebook reflected not only how we see ourselves, but how we interact with others and how others see us, what would that be like? Are these things already apparent? Would we be any better for knowing the truth? When we knew the dirt on everyone, would we lose all faith in humanity because of our iniquity and poor taste?

If it really showed everything, including our struggles, our darkest thoughts, and the sense of hopelessness we all sometimes share, I think in most cases we would see that we are more alike than different, even the people that like country music; the disclosures would reveal a common humanity that is not at all shameful and probably not even surprising.

Isn’t this precious? I’m imagining a reaffirmation of humanity through the use of an omniscient social network. Orwell, what are your thoughts?

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YouCave: An Unsocial Media Website

Leave. Me. Alone. -YouCave

Do you struggle with finding enough alone time? Do you secretly resent your friends for all those hours you wasted hanging out with them playing Settlers of Catan?

Have you ever fled to a beach resort, excited for uninterrupted internet usage in the lobby? Were you then dismayed to find your friends’ intrusion continued through the devilish devices of social media? Are you frustrated with how your computer has been transformed from a haven of solitude into a communal nightmare, where even your self-diagnosis for back pain at WebMD can be shared?

Your FaceFriends have the potential to know everything you’re doing online, and soon full disclosure will become mandatory, forced upon us by advertisers and facebook overlords. We will be too busy sharing our favorite brand of toothpaste to realize our white shirts have turned to yellow from body oil because we have sat in our own filth for months. This is the future we face.

Welcome to YouCave, an unsocial media website. Think of YouCave as the ultimate form of online solitude, the antidote to social media.  No YouCave profile can ever be connected. The friend requests that are made will be responded to with an automatic “Leave. Me. Alone.” accompanied by a picture of this cat. This response is simultaneously tweeted, facebooked, instagramed, and foursquared to all of the unfortunate user’s applications to keep them from making the same mistake again. They will learn to love the quiet.

You can post whatever you want to your YouCave wall, e.g. Yahoo News Articles, kitty pictures, memes, etc. because no one will ever see it, not even you. After posting something to your wall, it automatically begins sinking into the depths of the YouCave Lake. Through the use of expensive animation, you can even watch as your newly posted information slowly descends into the inky blackness, disappearing forever.

Each user is only allowed to upload one picture. All other uploaded pictures will instantly sink into the depth. This picture will sit in the middle of the screen, surrounded by dark colors and a texture that connotes a cave like environment. In addition, all YouCavers have the choice of turning on sound effects, such as the cavern water drip and an occasional furtive scurry. After being welcomed into the cave environment, most of our users simply stare at the screen, breathing in the solitude like a sweet elixir. At least, this is what I do. I have no idea about anyone else because YouCavers do not share information.

If you’re tired of your life becoming one giant show for the comment and criticism of others, join YouCave and get back the life you deserve, one of complete isolation and darkness. Enjoy.

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This One’s for All the Bloggers Out There

So this is what a hangover is. I don’t remember this picture being taken. Why am I putting this on the internet?

I was eating a PB&J out of tinfoil during class and thinking about blogging, as I often do. I had recently read a friend’s blog that he just started a few months ago and doesn’t update very often. Its future doesn’t look good—a few more months it will likely become another blog corpse silently occupying net space.  As I read his first tentative posts, I was reminded of my own blogging beginnings that stretch back to my senior year of high school.

It was a secret blog, called The Drevet (now deleted), and I posted a mere two times. The first one was the obligatory and awkward, “Hello world,” in which it seemed I was preparing to face all of humanity and be utterly rejected. It was the kind of introduction that set the bar so low even I couldn’t reach it. After only two months I stopped thinking about The Drevet and life moved on.

As I continued to reminisce and munch on my sandwich, I stumbled across another phase of beginnings: college. At this point, I suddenly realized the striking similarity between getting drunk for the first time and blogging for the first time.

When I first overindulged, not a moment before I turned twenty one (wink), I was fascinated with the very experience of it. “Wow,” I thought, “so this is what being drunk is like.”  It didn’t matter what came next in the evening because we were already having an awesome time through the act of inebriation itself, which was to us was inherently interesting.

In the beginning, I was also captivated by the phenomenon of blogging. The fact I could publish whatever I wanted for strangers to read and maybe enjoy was both thrilling and terrifying. And just as newbies feel awkward around alcohol, like they’re doing something taboo and exciting, I would get nervous in front of the computer screen, staring at the blank blog post box and wondering what I would say to the world. What if someone actually read it?

As a baby lush, I felt the constant need to discuss my level of sloshedness with my fellow drinkers, “I’m not drunk guys,” “Do I seem drunk?”  “I’m drunk drunk drunk drunk drunk,” etc. To everyone else this kind of blathering indicated it was time to change conversation partners. The more experienced drinkers had already found out that being drunk is not interesting or special, but to me the topic was endlessly engrossing for everyone and worth repeating dozens of time in the same night.

Similarly, in the first blog posts, I was self conscious about the fact I was blogging and tended to talk about the act itself, how it was hard to think of something to write or that I didn’t think anyone was reading it (no one was), and the end result was that I wouldn’t say anything at all and my predictions would come true. And just like a group of okay friends that get drunk at home hoping for something exciting to happen and then end up going to bed early, I wasted the potential of blogging by using it in a sarcastic and apathetic manner, only to defeat myself in the end.

Through many unfortunate nights and some unfortunate blogposts, I learned the real magic comes with a critical combination of both substance and medium: blogging and content, or alcohol and activities. But like most things, this is the kind of lesson that one must learn through their own experience, though we hope for our own sakes that newcomers learn it before anyone heads to the bathroom to vomit.

And my metaphorical vomiting days aren’t over yet. I will always be learning both how to drink better and how to blog better.

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It’s a New Freaking Theme

How raw? Uneaten food raw.

Is this a rant? You tell me.

And if you think I’m going to apologize for writing this ridiculously long sentence with poor syntax you better get your mind right and in fact I might make this entire post a single sentence, even though many people would advise against this and say that it’s sloppy writing and that I need to edit it but what do you know. I may have edited that sentence a hundred times, or thousands of times, my life blood spilling out into the words as I painstakingly edit them with the q-tip of my cursor until I form a smiley face of blood on a paper plate that’s stained by pulled pork grease. Too graphic? You better believe it. I’ve got a new WordPress theme and it’s a freaking new day.

You may have noticed I decided not to write this entire post as one sentence. It did sound sloppy, so I stopped, but not because I’m scared, because I don’t get scared anymore. I left the above paragraph because I wanted part of the process to remain visible, like the paint on a weathered dresser or a slightly undercooked egg that you really want to enjoy but you just can’t.

Because I’m being real.

There are a lot of changes going on around here, and with this bright new WordPress theme, things are about to get unpleasant. They’re about to get dirty and disgusting, and the teal accents on the left side of this very post have no idea what they’re about to complement.

I’ve never felt so ready to delve into the very depths of humanity itself, to sift through the garbage dumps of the human heart and spray the refuse out onto the hot city sidewalk of the blogosphere for the entire world to see. It’s going to stink, and with this new layout, you’ll be able to smell it from a mile away.

Sure this theme is fresh, friendly, accessible, and simple.  But it’s about to get nasty raw. This is not your rare prime rib kind of raw or crunchy potato raw. It’s going to be the pink, flabby raw of uncooked chicken or the grotesque red of a ground beef sliding down a glass door. It’s going to be uncomfortable.

I don’t care who has used this theme before and how amiable it seemed. This blog experience is about get intense. And I’m not sorry to those who use this same theme. I didn’t copy you. Well, you know what? Maybe I did copy you. I thought your blog looked nice, and I said to myself, “This layout seems easy to read and user-friendly. I’m going to take it and make it really offensive.”  Are you really surprised that I’m using it when it’s one of the most popular themes on WordPress? Just look at how airy and crisp it is. It’s an f-ing treasure, and I’m going to take it and twist it into something it was never intended to be.

Blogosphere, get ready for the raw, the rude, and the objectionable* to be presented to you in the most delightful of ways. You’ll never know what hit you.

*Disclaimer: actual change is unlikely. Author saw fit to use theme change as a post topic.

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I’m Unhappy About This Free Service

this is just how it turns up on my news feed. Is that weird?

Dear Facebook,

Recently I’ve been unsubscribing with remarkable pace from many so-called friends I am connected with on your social networking website. After debating for months over whether or not I wanted to hear about these acquaintances’ marriages, babies, or fun nights staying in with a blanket and cup of cocoa, I have decided against the mundane and released myself from hundreds of people and their accompanying facebook drivel.

I expected my newsfeed to become a haven, a place where I could go and see what was happening in the lives of people who are close to me and the interesting or laughable lives of others I am not close to. Alas, this has not happened. One reason is that as I unsubscribe from my facefriends, friends that lurk deep within my friend well have come to the surface, gracing me with one status update or a tagged photo before I try to recall who they are and then unsubscribe from them. This is obviously my fault. You didn’t force me to accept their friend requests or friend people after knowing them for one evening, after which we never saw each other again except for on the sidewalk where we both maintained awkward silence and averted our eyes.

However, another chief reason for my dissatisfaction with the “cleaned up” newsfeed is the garbage facebook continually highlights. I speak, of course, of the continual promotion of prof pic changes, the ubiquitous “so and so and 10 other friends changed their profile picture.” To be frank, I don’t care who changed their profile picture after spending hours and possibly weeks mulling over which snapshot succinctly captured their humor, beauty, or relationship status.

Actually, I can’t think of anything more uninteresting. It might as well read “so and so and all of your other friends used their computers today.” Honestly, what’s the purpose in knowing who changed their profile picture? Not only does it not reflect in the least bit any change for better or worse in their own lives—it’s quite possible to dig out a prof picture from happier months—it is anti-news. It provides no new information while making one feel vaguely anxious and insufficient: “Should I be changing my profile picture so I can appear to be moving forward in my life?” It is iceberg lettuce, the filler in Taco Bell meat, and worse than Yahoo! news.

Facebook, I know that you provide a free service. I know that I have trapped myself into a cycle where living without this service would be undesireable, if not impossible.  Furthermore, I realize that I am powerless against you and that you  will have your way with the facebook-using pawns and wreak whatever kind of layout changes and privacy destruction you wish. That’s why I’m not asking you to stop highlighting profile picture changes on my newsfeed. This letter is actually an urgent request that you do not harm me or my family once you take over the world. This profile picture thing is my only complaint and despite it I will always be loyal to you.

Your eternal and groveling servant,

Emily

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