I feel like I’ve cheated on myself. Today I Tweeted for the first time. Yes, I know I’m about 8 years late to the party; actually, I’m pretty sure I created the account at least 2 years ago and left it at that. “What’s the point?” I questioned. I still question.
I still have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love that it connects me to friends near and far and that I don’t have to wait weeks on end for a response like in the olden days with “snail mail”. I can see pictures, tags, status updates, Instagram videos in an instant and feel like I’m in the loop.
But boy, do I see too much; and I’m not talking about a delicious Facebook fight that makes me run to boil the kettle so I can make a cup of tea, sit back, observe and relish in the drama that is not mine. What? You’ve done it too.
I’m talking about the pictures that should never see the light of day, let alone broadcast to the world; the hurtful, slanderous remarks that would never be said to a person’s face; the way beyond inappropriate public displays of affection/rejection; not to mention what seems to be the somewhat dying art of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for one another (sock it to me).
But, the really weird thing about Facebook is the two dimensional world it’s created; where one now has to stop and question an introduction with, “Oh, have I actually met you or have I just seen you tagged on Facebook?” And then you remember what you actually saw on Facebook – It can be an awkward memory if that person has been tagged in any of the above grievances.
What’s also awkward is telling someone you saw the photos they posted and their expression resembles that of slight recoil/deer in headlights/creepy stalker alert. And yet, they “added you” as a “friend”, made their pictures accessible to you, “tagged” their friends and most likely themselves, “liked” and “shared” to their hearts content and yet, heaven forbid one should bring it up in face to face conversation. “What are you crazy?” “Why are you looking at my pictures?”
I watched an interesting video here titled, “Here’s What Facebook is Doing to Your Brain”. Take it with a grain of salt as I’m not sure of its academic references, but it does make some valid points; the main of which is, in our attempt to become more “social” using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., we’re actually doing the opposite by creating filtered projections of ourselves to the world. By editing ourselves, our conversations, our pictures – Our “image”, if you will, we are in fact, isolating ourselves. It’s worth the 3:55 minutes viewing time if you can spare it (and if you’ve read this far, then you probably can!).
It was noted how easy it is to still feel ostracized and disconnected despite however many hundreds of friends one may or may not have in one’s social network. I worked out, for example my average number of “likes” for a picture to the number of “friends” I have – It’s an average of about 4.25%. I noticed that people who posted pictures of their pets get more “likes” so as an experiment, I tried it too. It bumped my average up to 6.43%. No wonder I hate Facebook sometimes.
So, in all of this, I have to ask, is Twitter going to be a help or a hindrance? Am I going to get hung up on the fact that no one is re-Tweeting my Tweets or that I have less followers than the Joneses? Will I delete it like I previously had my Facebook, only to come crawling back because it was like cutting off my life support?
Because like it or hate it, Facebook & Twitter have become our main sources of communication. I rarely get an email anymore…let alone a letter (Does anyone know what a regular stamp costs anymore? I looked it up – 70c!). They are also fantastic marketing tools – Brilliant, economic resources for self promotion and creating a virtual stamp in the world.
I just can’t help but lament the fact that my expression must be limited to a mere 140 characters! It’s almost archaic if one likens it to a telegram and it’s not as if we pay per character! But, then, I guess if Hemmingway somehow paved the way and wrote his famous heartbreak shortest story of six words (I can’t even: Read it here), I must learn to adapt. And that is progress….isn’t it?