Reasons Why I Hate Social Media
2012-01-07, 7:16 p.m.
I seriously hate social media. I kinda feel like it's ruined the Internet for me to some degree, and god knows I was a total online hoor before it. But social media is probably the first major online thing that I have NOT wanted to participate in (okay, MMORPGS, but that's not socially mandatory). And not wanting to gets uh, fucking awkward these days.
You know, I registered at a few sites (Orkut, Ravelry, uh, other ones I forgot) way back in the day. I looked at them for a day or two. Other than Ravelry, I got super bored with them all after that and quit. I have a Facebook page only because my volunteer job put up a really amusing page about us all being tie-dyed hippies. Then again, I got bored with this stuff after two days and ignored it.
Except with Facebook, the rest of the world did not get bored of it. OH LORD THEY DID NOT. And then it was followed by Twitter, which I despise with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns.
Let me tell you why. (Note: I'm just gonna loop all of them into one giant bitchrant rather than a separate list for why Twitter sucks and why Facebook/social networking sucks.)
1. Nobody actually writes any more. Hey, you guys! Remember when people wrote online journals? They had awards, they had cons, there was an online journalling community?
Yeah. That is mostly done these days. Those of us on Holidailies (and thank y'all for coming back) are the last holdouts. For a brief period of time, everyone got blogs, which were also a form of online journalling--or funny link passing, whatever y'all want to do-- and it was marvelous and I loved it. I loved how actually writing stuff had come into vogue, especially since my generation and the ones below don't actually seem to like to read or write much.
But now, everyone is tweeting instead. tweeting replaces bloody everything. If I had a dollar for the number of professional writers, journallers, and even authors who have said, "I used to love writing, but now I just tweet and... I'm done," well, I'd have a nice pile of dollars. And I find this really disappointing and sad. What a bloody waste of getting a record of people's thoughts, to have them down in one shitty sentence you wrote on your phone. I think that's contributing to people's writing skills getting even worse. Ugh.
2. Tweets and Facebook updates-- short updating in general-- are boring. They don't inform you of enough information. Almost everyone's one sentence updates are boring as crap. Even when Stephen Fry was trapped in an elevator and tweeting about it. The only Twitter feed I actually find amusing is the YourAuntDiane one because that manages to be breathtakingly shockingly funny in one sentence and I don't even feel like whoever writes it needs to add more to it. But most of y'all are just not that interesting in one sentence. I need paragraphs in order to stay interested, people.
Twitter is fine for lazy-ass pic and link sharing (if you must), and I guess in an emergency, but beyond that, I just find it frustrating. During the recent Work Drama, I was forced to resort to checking various people's Twitter feeds to find out what was going on. And all I got were brief sentences barely indicating what was going on. Grrrr.
And also, if something major has happened to you, like if you got in a car accident? YEAH, I THINK YOU NEED TO ELABORATE SOME MORE ON THAT ONE THAN ONE DAMN TWEET OR FACEBOOK UPDATE. Come on, people.
3. Social media makes people stupider than usual. I'm not even going to link every "celebrity said something that got them in trouble on Twitter" link, because you know them all. It's amazing how many people are getting in major trouble and/or fired (see below) and/or harassed by a governor's uptight staff lady for tweeting something they didn't think out because it's so easy to share your thoughts immediately to the entire Internet for life. I don't think the quick n' easy is working out for people because they're not thinking shit out before they post it. You know, the way they might if they had to write a paragraph. Just saying.
There's also the ease of stalking. Think about that, you guys.
Disaster spreads farther if you use social media to say something dumb, apparently.
4. Drama bombing. If I had a dollar for every time I heard about someone having drama specifically about Facebook posts-- who said what and how obscurely subtle they were being and if they were trying to do a stealth insult or not, who posted to whose wall and what they said, blah blah blah-- I'd have a gajillion dollars. It gets old. I hear it a lot. It does not make me feel like jumping in and playing too so much. Hell, even I have had Facebook drama occasionally and I don't even fucking update it. (Don't ask.)
5. Real names policies are a bad idea. Yes, I know Facebook at least seems to sortakinda allow fake names if they don't notice that you are using one, but it's still an issue. See below.
6. Workplaces now immediately go look at your Facebook page first. This boils down to, you'd better not use your page for anything that isn't 100% sanitized for workplaces. (Or your family members.) Which really sucks considering that the thing was originally intended for college students to post their drunk pics. Unless you put the privacy settings on. Oh, wait...
7. Privacy settings change constantly and who the fuck can keep up any more. Yeah, I know, supposedly they're going to opt in rather than opt out, or something with this. I don't really give a shit any more, but given that anything that was even briefly public online might show up incriminating you in being a human being, it doesn't seem worth it to me to try to post stuff and hope to god the privacy setting hides your drunk pics from employers, because who the hell knows if that will actually happen?
It seems to me that the only way to cover your ass is to, you know, not post stuff. Which I do not. I have never updated mine. But you still don't have control over who tags a drunk pic they took of you and post it on their own page with your name, do you? Again, good thing I am generally sober and the worst shit anyone posts of me is me dancing. Which looks odd in still photos, but whatever.
Really, it's just a giant amount of drama trying to cope with this shit. It makes me want to, you know, go back to my own webspace where I control shit, or go to Livejournal and use the friends list, because I have yet to hear of anybody's friends-list posts ending up all over the general Internet. I don't really care a hell of a lot most of the time, but you never know any more who's going to get offended by SOMETHING.
8. Searching for people online is no longer fun. Okay, so this is just a me thing and nobody else will agree, but I used to like searching for people in the 90's, see what kind of webpage they had, what cool stuff they put on it. (I, for example, put 5 billion animated GIFs, because I was kewl like that.) I liked seeing the variety.
Nowadays, the first thing anyone sees is your damn Facebook page. Which comes loaded with limitations and drama. Fuck it. I don't even bother looking for people any more if I find their writing interesting.
9. Reuniting with people looking for you on Facebook is not all that and a bag of chips. Now it's like high school reunion day all the time. And I never wanted to go to the high school reunion in the first place, you know? Let's just say I wish a few folks hadn't bothered (see #4) and "friending" has nothing to do with actual friendship or actual anything.
Quoting Diablo Cody over here: "I mean, we're actually taking pictures of ourselves and posting them on Facebook, and keeping in touch with people that should have been out of our lives 15 years ago. Obsessing over who's getting married, who's having kids, who's more successful. It's like we're recreating high school every single day using social media. And it's weird."
10. Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus crap is infecting the entire Internet like a virus. It seems like at least half of the websites out there are trying to get me to log onto one of them in order to use their site or add comments or even hell, just because everyone's doing it. Because it's an excellent idea to tie your real name onto certain places...see #6 again.
I very vaguely considered joining Google Plus because they sound less noxious in some ways, but if they are tying everything into your Gmail and your Google Reader and any other Google product, I... don't think I wanna. There seem to be some issues with that too.
11."Follow me on Twitter" makes me want to punch people in the face. Also, if I want to read your writing, I want to read...you know, actual writing. Which tweets are NOT. Sorry, they are not. They are not a "conversation" so much as they are the equivalent of drunks all yelling in a room, either. I hate that Twitter is apparently everyone's default webpage when it isn't Facebook, or both.
12.Everybody and everything and every organization has to have a Facebook page and Twitter, even if there really isn't any reason to do so. Yeah, yeah, I know, "branding," but for fuck's sake, not everybody actually is going to use or need that. I've seen a Twitter feed for a place that cleans up after homicides. Why the fuck do they need a Twitter feed? Why does anyone want to read this? I don't want to know. (And as I recall, they didn't update it much either.) Hell, my work got Twitter, specifically because our client base doesn't read. Yes, that was actually said. I wanted to cry. I am at a complete loss as to why anyone would want to follow what we do on Twitter voluntarily. I am just grateful as fuck that nobody is making me have anything to do with it.
I would like to get rid of my Facebook. I signed up for it in a bored moment of whim when it was still college-only and now I hate what it's become and I want out. However (a) much like the roach motel, once you're in, you can't ever get entirely out, (b) there are certain organizations that will ONLY tell you what they are up to if you specifically log into Facebook to check them and if I can't log in I can't look up when their damn event is, and (c) if you lose shit locally, someone will find it and tell you on Facebook. This seems to be the only thing it's good for for me there. So I have to keep it and I don't WANNA. Also, see below.
I have vaguely debated getting a fake name and doing it, but...eh, fuck it, too much work for something I still don't really like.
13. Back to the real names thing again: it can be a problem with regards to work in another fashion. For example: take the woman who has a stalker out there somewhere. She gets a job doing well, pretty much anything, it doesn't seem to matter what any more. Her boss lays down a policy that everyone has to have a Facebook and/or Google+ page, tied to work. She very specifically has to use her real name for this. What the fuck do you do in this situation? Odds are the woman's either gonna get stalked or have to quit...and then run into the same shit at the NEXT job. Y'all, we had pseudonyms as an option on the Internet FOR A REASON. Some folks still need them. Let's not make everything all real names, mmkay? Because even the most innocuous, well-behaved folks (such as myself, har) can find themselves getting into trouble over SOMETHING. And who wants that to affect their jobs?
14. You can now write an entire article based on nothing but looking for Facebook pages. This would make me weep for the lack of future of journalism, if I hadn't already been crying about it since 2001.
15. And finally... Everybody else is doing it, SO YOU HAVE TO TOO. I'm just flat out calling this social blackmail now. And this is the #1 thing that pisses me off about the whole thing. It is rapidly becoming impossible to opt out if you don't like social media, or even don't like one specific form of social media. Especially with regards to work. Odds are fairly high already that you're going to be forced to have Facebook and/or Twitter at your job--if not now, then soon. One friend of mine who didn't want to get Facebook got forced to do it for grad school, and then it turned out her entire grad group didn't give a shit about using it either. (Lucky her.) If you're job hunting, you're forced to join Linked In and you'd better be using Facebook and Twitter to network somehow. Of course entrepreneurs, or authors, or anyone who works in any kind of art anything for any reason, now must constantly Facebook and tweet. And all of this stuff is under your real name, permanent record, for life. Writing under a psuedonym from your non-work account will not save your ass any more if you want to drunk tweet, either. Just so you know.
Seriously, I don't even get up to shit and this day and age makes me paranoid anyway. With good reason.
Now, I'm happy to not actually USE Facebook-- I probably log into it about twice a year when I am forced to for some reason or other. I am de-fucking-lighted not to be tweeting. (And you know what's nice about going on vacation and not being online much or at all? Not having to hear the words "Facebook" or "Twitter" all the fucking time, or at all.) But much like I said I wish I could quit Facebook and can't, I cannot swear that I will never tweet. Because I know very goddamned well that within a year or two, somebody is going to be forcing me to tweet. Because EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT, SO YOU HAVE TO TOO. And I will hate myself for caving in, but someone's not going to give me a choice (see #13). Especially if uh, I'm going to need to do job hunting. Or actually try to do work in a creative field. Or finally cave in and start my own business, something I know I should do but so far have no real enthusiasm about when it comes to the business end. I have even less enthusiasm at the idea because all entrepreneurs HAVE TO use social media constantly.
And just like everyone else, I'll be tweeting incessantly, like the shrieking bird outside your window at 5 a.m. Whether I want to or not. And that really pisses me off. Because even though I really hate social media, in a year or two I'm going to be forced to join everyone else who just loves it, possibly digging myself public sinkholes, and posting boring shit that even I am not interested in when it's only written in 140 characters. And then I'll become what I most despise. Fucking awesome.