The Curse of Social Media


I'm not sure how to feel about the likes of Facebook, G+ or my first real encounter with this beast - Myspace. I'm very well aware the utility of sites like these, so I won't be trying to make the claim that they're pointless because they're not. No moreso than casual bullshitting between folk tends to always be, in any case. For a lost cause like myself, social networking sites are (or used to be) almost the only way I communicate with people at all. I would be just as happy - happier, really - simply using email, but for whatever goddamn reason almost no women I know use it anymore, and where the vaginas go I am forced to follow.

There are some downsides to all of this, though. How many people keep personal blogs anymore, places where they just vent random things? Or rather, let me rephrase: How many people actually use them on a regular basis? It used to be that if a person was feeling frustrated, they'd make an entry of it. More often than not, an entry was significantly more involved than is a status update on Facebook or a Tweet or a whateverthefuck G+ calls it when you post shit. Do I care to read most people's blogs? No, of course not, but there are people I do care about and for those individuals, I felt infinitely more connected after I'd perused their blog.

I can see things through your eyes when the thoughts are expressed with more than 140 characters. If the person is a decent writer, they can pull me right into their head, make me give a damn about the typical boring shit that I would otherwise normally never spare a second thought for. You seem like a human being to me, instead of just another frat boy dipshit, pretentious cunt, asshole who's trying too hard to seem angsty (cough), starry-eyed newborn mother, whatever. You're more than a set of meta tags in my head, you're a creature that feels and deserves to be treated with at least a little dignity.

All of that disappears when I can't relate.

Let's take an old example, a horse's corpse that I've been beating on for a while. We'll call her 'T'. 'T' was a person that I used to know a number of years ago, a woman. I met her through a friend initially, and then again some time later. We ran into each other often enough that she decided to use her big, beautiful green eyes to bully me into signing up with Myspace. As I grew to learn more about her, it wasn't long before I was also browsing through the life she'd made public on various blogs.

I won't go into too much detail, but there were plenty of things recorded on those blogs and in those journals that would almost certainly never have made it to a place like Myspace, let alone a place like Facebook which is undeniably less personal. I became quite fond of this woman, and a major reason that I felt as connected as I did was because she was a writer, a good one who made liberal use of her myriad blogs.

There was more to my infatuation than just that, of course, but I'll likely remember the things she wrote long after I've forgotten almost everything else about her. This was how I came to know her - or the facsimile of her.

I'm writing about this because I feel disheartened to see social media largely replacing these avenues of communication and self-expression. Instead of writing about one's situation and putting the audience in her shoes, a person might now instead simply update their status as "feeling shitty". Instead of inviting a few friends to look around your journal, you condense complex opinions into 140-character chunks and broadcast it to an army of followers, almost none of whom give more than the barest hint of a shit about what you're discussing.

Blogs are very much alive and well for a lot of people, but for the more common person who isn't running a website, reviewing stuff or involved with the press in some way, it's just so much easier to type a sad face and hit enter. I hate to imagine what my faux-relationship to 'T' would have been like with today's prevelance of Facebook and Twitter. It might not have turned out to actually been any less pointless, but it would sure as hell feel like it to me.