Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why I am beginning to hate Facebook and Twitter...

Don't get me wrong I think the idea behind social networking is brilliant and for the most part it seems to be used in a decent way. Companies can exploit it to show their wares, while others can promote their widget or band or expertise or whatever and on and on...

At the same time it's become a place for lonely people and narcissists (in my opinion) to tell everyone what they are doing at that very moment: "Just went to Starbucks", or "Drinking wine in Santa Barbara, any takers?". These are the things that really bug the shit out of me. I have been guilty of the same thing (in my own mind) and though most of the time it's deliberate for the sake of mocking the whole situation, at times I do want people to know that "My baby girl just barfed all over my new shirt." And the cynic in me wonders why everything that everyone posts is always so positive. I never ever see anyone post: "This was the most fucked-up day in my life, I feel like slashing my wrists!"

What is it about this "networking" that has gripped most every person between the ages of 12-120? The very word networking is being abused in a sense. It's a word, really, that should be used to connect yourself to others and vice-versa, but now it has just turned into conversation, indirect at best. It's conversation with typed letters, IM's, chatting, and all that. So why am I involved with it? Why do I Twitter and have a Facebook page and blog here. Who the "F" knows. I have yet to truly figure it out. That's what this stuff does to you. It draws you in, or you are drawn in by people who say "It's awesome!", or "Social networking is it man." Is it peer pressure? I have yet to gather any information that has truly enhanced my life or work life. None of these social networks has yet to give me information that is indeed mind-blowing. Perhaps it's because many of the Twitter postings are mostly just forwarded messages, and Facebook is just enhanced or updated pictures of family, etc. Initially, Twitter was interesting to me but my interest has depleted because of the mostly mindless babble and banter between people. In fact, I have now eliminated many of the people I was following because I couldn't handle the random "Just took a nap", or "So and so just won the race," which is followed immediately by someone else forwarding the same message of who just won the race. The duplication and nothingness was driving me crazy, and what's weird is that I opted to "follow" these people. Now I don't. They may not know who they are, but I do and it feels great to "eliminate" them. "I have 3,500 followers!" Snore.

Facebook too was something someone referred me too. I made quick "friends" based on other peoples friend list, and my initial focus was to use it for work. Chat with cyclists and create web content for our ailing website. At some point I began accumulating friends from the past: from high school, former places of employment, elementary school! Connecting with people from the past was exciting and interesting. Seeing what they were up to, where they worked, who they are now. What the high school athlete now a fat retard? Was the hot chick now some crazy religious freak? Was the seemingly normal girl, now crazy and on meds? All this intrigued me and for a while I was loving it until I truly saw the dark side of a few people and replayed the drama on the "walls" of Facebook. "Hey, what ever happened to 'so-and-so'?" "She went nuts, over the deep-end... We're no longer friends." Plenty of divorce and religious conversions, and everything you can think of. As well, there's plenty of good things like an elementary school friend who is still artsy and funky and lives a stones-throw from me, or a friend who now lives in Italy that I will connect with in May.

I can honestly tell you that social networking for me is a classic case of a love-hate relationship. Either way it has drawn me in and I can't get out! Someone help me.