Social networking. Understatement of the year, but most of us are familiar with it. Even my Nan knows what Facebook is despite not using it (please don’t encourage her, it’d be like trying to teach an excitable puppy to use an ice cream scoop).
Most would say I’m an avid Twitter user, my tweet count speaks for itself and my rambling has almost become automatic. Signing in has become an inherent part of my life; like throwing my purse in my handbag or locking the front door. It’s been 6 years for me since I signed up, 6 YEARS! And it’s only now I’ve really began taking a look at what it means to be part of it all and how it contributes to my life. I realise this is a bit 2004 as blog posts go..
Am I experiencing the 6 year itch?! I almost feel like I’ve got myself into a marriage and now I look at our evenings watching National Geographic over a warm bottle of Chardonnay and wonder what it all means. The sex is alright, but he poos with the bathroom door open now and whenever he farts he doesn’t even act embarrassed, in fact sometimes he lifts his leg and laughs and I’m regularly privy to his dirty boxers, I really hate that weird clicking noise he makes as he sleeps that was once endearing, has the thrill gone?!
My feelings about Twitter float between love and hate, like most passionate relationships there is no medium levels or apathy. I’m not exaggerating when I say that some of the conversations I’ve taken part in and tweets I’ve read on there have been some of the most fun times I’ve experienced (many would say this was utterly tragic, I’d say welcome to the 21st century, sugartits).
To be able to reach out to others via the tap of a few buttons has become a lifeline for practically all of us, some more than others; Twitter is particularly invaluable for the housebound and the sick, for those with various anxieties. It can be a sanctuary where we can vent and build friendships, largely on the fact we agree on or find the same things amusing. This is powerful and wonderful.
Then we have the irritating aspects: The cliques, the popularity contests, the ease of abuse and the USELESS report function, the constant self promotion. It amazes me self promotion on the internet even works anymore. Do our brains not totally switch off? Do they not dribble out of our noses? The internet is a hive of advertising, some corporate and some personal. For a freelancer this is a lifeline, I realise this but surely everyone needs to up their game more to get people interested and intrigued? Idea: Engineer it so that you can add a face punch to every blog you promote, you may have to pay extra for this service but it’ll definitely get people to wake up and take notice, you’d definitely get more hits LITERALLY in some ways. Granted people may become used to the constant black eyes after a while, but I bet it’d have at least a 4 year shelf life!
Social networking is almost like a parasitic relationship, with us being the host. The parasite is horrible at times, but without it we feel lonely, cut off and obsolete. “COME BACK!” we yell as it slithers away like a snake, dripping slime from its fangs and leaving a greasy spot on the floor; don’t even get me started on its consistent Candy Crush requests. It’s then that you reactivate and it slithers back towards you, meekly asking “So, want to go to Nandos?” “Oh alright then.” you reply reluctantly taking its moist and ugly hand.
My love of Facebook died a long time ago, I post when I feel compelled to but my activity is down to a minimum. Seeing the updates of people I know in real life (who I usually avoid) is mostly a dull and depressing experience, plus frankly the lack of 140 character restraint makes it a bit too anarchic for me. Facebook is a downer because it’s mostly serious and not whimsical enough. Say that you’ve seen Darth Vader in the carpet on there and you’ll get “U OK HUN?”, say it on Twitter and you get many other weirdos who have either experienced the same or enjoyed the sentiment. As someone with thoughts that waft around like tits in the breeze, I’d rather not be bound to something daft I said days ago as it stagnates like an old banana on my page. Plus given my news feed is mostly people my age who are doing serious things like raising children, it makes me feel even more alienated. Like attending a funeral dinner dressed as Cher.
So will I leave? Will I fuckety. I’m resigned to the fact that I’m in it for the long haul, just don’t be surprised if I appear at strange times confused and discombobulated. Even George Harrison had to have a break from things and escape to India at one point, though I won’t be growing a beard or wearing those hideous 70’s prints, God forbid.
I can deal with the social media parasite in healthy doses, just remind me to buy a leash.