In 2002, when I was six years old, computers were bulky, ugly machines specifically designed for me to play my Barbie Pet Rescue CD-Rom and give my parents some peace and quiet for 45 minutes (15 minutes longer than I was supposedly allowed). In 2003, while high schoolers checked out the new MySpace, I ventured onto websites like Disney.com to play Kim Possible-themed arcade games. Fast forward to the end of sixth grade, and I remember slightly altering my birth year in order to obtain a hip new Facebook. Fast forward again to the summer after eighth grade, and I entered the Twittersphere so I would have something to do during my downtime while selling shaved ice. I am part of a generation that hardly remembers life before social media.
Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, SnapChat–I have them all, and most of the time, I’m glad I do. Social media can be informative and hilarious and great for shameless self-promotion (e.g. this blog). But social media also sucks sometimes, and here’s why:
1. Selfies: Instagram’s #SelfieSunday isn’t innately bad. One or two pictures of oneself every couple of weeks does not mean one has Selfitis–that happens when that number exceeds four or five a day. I don’t know why people think they live in a world where others want to see twenty nearly identical photos of someone’s face taken in a public restroom.
2. Creepers: I’m all for maintaining a respectable follower-following ratio, but I’ve felt the need to block quite a few creepers on all of my social media accounts (except for my Tumblr because I’ve accepted that everyone on that platform is a little creepy from the get-go). The unfortunate aspect of blocking someone is that it doesn’t really protect one from the creeper viewing the profile from a different account or by way of a proxy. Anything posted on the web is public, regardless of private settings. If someone really wants to read your statuses, watch your vines or peruse your Instagram photos, having a private profile isn’t definitely going to prevent him from doing so, which is sort of a bummer.
3. Obligatory Follow/Friend: “Hey, why don’t you follow me on Twitter?” People have straight up asked me this, usually in a public setting, surrounded by mutual friends. In such a situation, I can’t just explain that I don’t want to read about them having the worst job ever or the best mommy in the whole wide world or three yummy meals a day. Instead, I must force a laugh, smile and say, “Oh, golly! I don’t follow you? What! I swear I did. Crazy.” Then, in front of god and everybody, I must slowly tap the “Follow” button on the person’s profile. Twitter and Facebook both have a form of a mute button that keeps certain people’s tweets or status updates off one’s feed, which leads me to believe I’m not the only one dealing with this issue.
4. TMI: I shouldn’t know every intimate detail of someone’s life simply because he friended me on Facebook or I glanced at his Twitter. Before I post something, I ask myself, “Will anyone care/Is this important enough to share with the world?” Usually the answer is no. Does that mean I always don’t post the status/tweet/photo/video in question? No, not necessarily, but discretion is cool, and more people should try using it.
5. Fights: Not sure why people feel the need to hash it out where everyone can see. With Facebook Messenger, Twitter’s Direct Messaging, texting and good old-fashioned email, there is absolutely no need to get into it in the comments or mentions, but people do anyway.
6. The “Send All Drafts” Button on Twitter: Why. Why does this exist? I can’t think of anyone who would want to send out 20+ unfinished thoughts to the universe all at once.
7. Trolling: The illusion of anonymity on sites like Whisper and Ask.fm, as well as on more mainstream social medias opens the door for people to say all sorts of things they wouldn’t even mutter under their breath face-to-face. And, the biggest issue with the bathroom wall of the internet is that it isn’t easily painted over.