There’s trouble in paradise lately between social media and its users. More-so than usual, people everywhere are bemoaning the frequency and questioning the usefulness of status updates from Facebook users, the caliber of the tweets tweeters send on Twitter, or the quality of the Instagram pictures people share. While I think we’ve all resorted to the frequent eye-roll or exasperated sigh at the content we’re bombarded with on our respective social media feeds, I think there’s one important question we need to ask ourselves: what did we really expect we were getting ourselves into?
The basis of social media is that it offers us the opportunity to share just about whatever we want of our lives in text, picture, or video format. The tricky part about that is this: it’s still based on our everyday lives, which usually, are only occasionally exciting. So when someone posts a (questionably) funny remark about their parents, an anecdote about something their dog did today, or a happy birthday message to their aunt, should we really expect anything more? This is the boring stuff of our everyday existence. Granted, it’s nonessential information, but what else should one be posting about? Political events you’re not informed enough to comment on? Social issues you have no interest in? Books you haven’t read? Social media is predicated on the notion that every happenstance, thought, or event the user deems worthy is fair game to throw up on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and I guess we’ve all been a little let down by the realization that everyone else’s lives are every bit as boring as ours.
Though, lately, it seems the complainers’ numbers are increasing–it takes a little time for people to get jaded. The concept behind social media hasn’t really changed that terribly much since its acceptance into our culture, so the only explanation for this increase in criticism must be because people are simply getting bored with it. Is that a legitimate reason to voice complaints about something that you once happily participated in? I don’t know the definitive answer to that, but it’s clear a lot of people think it is. What’s most fascinating is that many of these complaints about the vacuousness of social media posts are actually posted on social media platforms. Oh, the irony!
What I humbly suggest disillusioned users to keep in mind is that your social media presence is really what you make it. If you’re fed up with the lackluster Instagrams of someone’s lunch, the ambiguous lyrical Facebook status update that foretell a relationship status change to “it’s complicated,” or the mindless tweets about doing laundry, you’ve got three options. First: set an example by sharing some updates from the clearly much more exciting, thrilling, and intellectual life you must lead; two, opt out of social media altogether and become a curmudgeonly recluse; or three, accept social media for what it is: a place for people to share any manner of humorous, though old, Youtube videos and original, though banal, introspections that really belong in a locked diary under your bed. Unfortunately, we’ve created this monster, at the very least we can acknowledge that.
Some social media updates I’m personally working on:
- Happy Birthday Mom! Even though you don’t have a Facebook, will never see this, and none of my friends care, I want to broadcast to everyone that you managed to live another year, and that I obviously must have a close-knit family since I write status updates about family member’s birthdays.
- I’m about to Instagram a picture of a weird mole–”like” it if it looks like Melanoma to you.
- I’m going to tweet a picture of myself with #nomakeup, but really I’ll be wearing foundation, concealer, eyeliner, and mascara. Nobody can tell, right?