Social media has become an all-consuming and unavoidable phenomenon, especially since the advent of smart phones which make it constantly available to users. What was once isolated to our homes and leisure time has invaded pretty much every aspect of our lives for better or worse. We are buried in our gadgets communicating to a vague audience while neglecting the people immediately around us, but it’s become so indoctrinated into daily life that it’s almost impossible to avoid without feeling completely disconnected or ignorant. Most of us have just accepted it and children born into this phenomenon have no perspective of a world without social media. Like all things, there are good and bad things about it, so lets take a step back and really take a good hard look at some of our social media.
Facebook: One of the oldest and most creepy forms of social media.
Pros: Great way to keep in touch with people. People come and go in our lives, but Facebook allows us to be involved in each others’ lives one way or another. By being able to see the pictures, advertised milestones and even have the ability to communicate, geographical distance between family and friends becomes irrelevant.
Cons: Facebook is basically eavesdropping on a global scale. Millenials have perfected the “Facebook creep,” diving deep into people’s profiles, pictures and friendships. Ever wave at someone you’ve only ever observed on Facebook? Don’t lie, I’m not the only one! Also, beware the Facebook parent. Some are harmless enough with their corny yet charming comments, but then there are the ones constantly spewing their political doctrines. Some of us aren’t much better but at least I can unfriend that guy I haven’t seen since high school. You can’t unfriend a parent or relative, you have to see them at some point. Censorship is also an issue when parents get in on something. You don’t want to disturb their sensitive disposition so expressing yourself freely is harder. Dammit, I’m just tired of friends deleting my comments for fear of their relatives seeing it.
Instagram: High art or selfie hell?
Pros: Social media for the photography lover. People who are involved professionally in photography or just like the hobby have a place to share their work with like-minded people. Great for models as well who want to showcase themselves. Also just a great place to share moments of your life through visuals. It’s less involved than Facebook and I think more fun.
Cons: Photographs used to be more deliberate as people did not want to waste film, but digital cameras in our pockets have made absolutely every little thing worthy of photographing. And now Instagram has become a place where the minutiae of daily living is documented and thrives. Moral of the story: You’re face is pretty and all, but please diversify your posts. I don’t care how happy you and your boyfriend are, I don’t want to see your post coital selfies. That food looks good, but your meals don’t interest me and I don’t care that you’re vegan. Also, you can’t post pictures from your computer which is a real pain.
LinkedIn: “I’ll get a job soon Dad! I’m building up a sweet network and everyone is endorsing my skills in Microsoft Word and Excel. It’s only a matter of time….”
Pros: It’s cool actually seeing and growing a professional network that may help in acquiring work. Friends and colleagues can endorse your skills and provide recommendations right on your profile which expedites the whole resume process a bit.
Cons: Not the kind of social media you can have much fun with. Essentially an online resume, it’s not a place to express yourself in the way Facebook or Twitter is. You want to make a good impression and it becomes another thing to agonize over, like a resume or cover letter. How easy is it to get a job on LinkedIn anyway? I’m skeptical only because I find there to be unrealistic expectations on both our and employers’ parts. Three years experience is NOT entry level!
Twitter: Listen to ME!
Pros: Minimalistic. Fun way to express thoughts as well as follow celebrities and friends. Ability to reach a large network of people with a lot of radio, TV shows and news networks incorporating Twitter into their programming.
Cons: Over-tweeters who inundate us with their minutiae of daily lives. Character limit can create lack of context and make certain tweets more offensive and controversial than intended. Also, there’s something about the internet that emboldens tweeters to be rather malicious, especially to celebrities (See the Jimmy Kimmel Live segment “Mean Tweets”). That is not to say that all are perfect, or don’t deserve to be humbled, but if you think about it, some of those guys must receive thousands upon thousands of notifications of sh*t talking. It’s just bullying people.