Social media is a conspiracy to make me feel inadequate. It is the organized mafia of high school cliqueish-ness. A self-evolving, Star Trek-y Internet Borg designed to suck unsuspecting souls into its web of information overload, hashtagging its way across the universe.
I am a colossal failure at it.
Facebook is for old people and therefore generally manageable for me, ancient that I am. In the olden days, 18 months ago, I’d get a lot of useful information about friends and family, keep up on their kids’ lives, see wedding pictures of distant cousins and get an occasional upliftingly cheesy message about living life to its fullest. And it was all warm and fuzzy. But my newsfeed is more little advertisements, recommended pages and political snarkiness than it used to be and I have to scroll down a long way to get to the meaty parts with my friend’s backpacking pictures and cute kid videos. And it is all just a touch overwhelming. But I feel like I have to stay up with it because I might miss a post of someone I hardly knew in high school but who has a pretty awesome life and I like the little window of connection that we share. Sort of like a mini soap opera but in real life. So I keep scrolling past all the crappy stuff to stay up with her latest happenings.
Several years ago I opened a Twitter account to follow one specific person from a past job who will remain nameless. (Unless you go to my Twitter page (my terminology may be off here) and see who I follow and you might be able to figure it out who it is.) I wanted to see how outrageous this unnamed person would be. Turns out it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. I haven’t Tweeted since December of 2012. I have exactly eight followers. It says I’m following 21 people, but I haven’t looked at my Twitter feed (?) for two years, so I don’t think “following” is the right term. And yet I feel like I should be a Tweeter and tell my 8 followers what I’m up to and what I think about and all that and so I feel a little bit bad once in a while that I’m not better about oversharing.
I have a LinkedIn account because you pretty much have to have a LinkedIn account if you’re a grown up who has had a job. I haven’t updated it in a couple of years. Someday maybe I’ll pay more attention to it.
And I have an Instagram account because sometimes my son posts cool pictures there and sometimes it’s the only way I know he is alive and well when he is on a trip somewhere (because he doesn’t do much with Facebook because Facebook is for old people). I get on Instagram from time to time because I like seeing people’s cool pictures. I have exactly 16 followers and I follow 40 people. I have posted 19 pictures, the last one was my kid holding a drumstick on Thanksgiving. #proteinrocks
I don’t understand the point of Snapchat, except that it seems to be the source of endless amusement for my kid. I’m older than 18, therefore Snapchat is beyond me.
Reddit? I don’t even know what that is.
Pinterest. I tried to sign up for Pinterest about a month ago when I wanted to see a recipe for vegetarian something that was there somewhere. I couldn’t do it. I tried. Really. It kept telling me I had to click something to activate my registration and so I clicked it but then I was just stuck in an endless loop. I now get little taunting emails from Pinterest telling me about great “Pins” that I should check out or that my friends have on their board(?). By the way, how does it know who my friends are? Creepy.
I haven’t had time to figure out Google+, although my sister and her daughter both show up as being in my circle???
There are a lot of other sites, of course. If there were truth in advertising, they would have names like: Time$uck, and IfYouWereCoolYouWouldBeHereAndKnowThis and KidsKnowAboutThisPlaceButTheirMothersNeverWill. Since I am such a failure with the handful of social media sites I have attempted to interact with, I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be one of the hipsters out there Dribbling and Tumblr-ing and Vine-ing.
It seems to me that the Internets are absorbing the next generation into some great warped reality on the fringe of obsessive information overload. Wouldn’t that be anxiety producing? Maybe I’m projecting my own insecurities onto our future movers and shakers. Once again I channel my grandmother: “Young people today . . .”
Since I started blogging, I have gotten a lot of helpful advice from other bloggers who want me to engage them to enhance my “online brand presence.” I could use the help, for sure, given the extent of my ineptitude. But part of me doesn’t really want to be out there yelling into the internet universe all the time. I think I’m ok being an out-of-touch social media fail.
“Picard as Locutus” photo credit: picture from DS9: “Emissary”. Via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Picard_as_Locutus.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Picard_as_Locutus.jpg