08 September 2010

on social networking

I have fallen out of love with social networking, yet and still I use it daily. It’s almost like divorced couples that still have sex—well maybe not that complicated. It is a bit odd, however. We’ve lived hundreds of years successfully with out a Facebook account; we could definitely go without one. The caveat is that these days, every aspect of our lives is on a social network. Employers won’t hire you if they find a picture of you taking shots at Hooters. Relationships get rocky because of something someone wrote on a wall or tweeted. Things of this nature, I have come to accept. I’ve had a Facebook account since 2004 and I’ve tweaked the settings to where I can elect who sees what. Same thing goes for my Twitter account.

The lack of privacy does not bother me. I willingly divulge the bits and pieces of my boring life for all to see. For me to rant about social networking might be counterintuitive if I’m letting people into my beeswax. I’ve fallen out of love with social networking for a few other reasons. The first one being that it has become boring. I think I’ve been on Facebook so much, I know more about my friends and frenemies than I care to know. When I get on there, I rarely get a surprise. On Twitter, I find myself following a few people who babble about the same stuff all the time. Tweeting about man problems, gossip, and how great their life is as opposed to everyone in the world. Moreover, some of these people aggrandize themselves in a manner that doesn’t reflect the person they truly are (In the black community, we call this perpetratin’). I applaud the few people I know that are the same person digitally as they are in person.

I abhor these people who come on Twitter and Facebook and try to tell people what they should and should not do on these sites. I call them the “Social Networking Politicians.” They post things like “Don’t come on here detailing the events of your daily life” and “don’t tweet about (insert topic here).” Who the hell are these people to tell me what to do with the social network account that I opened? Is your name Mark Zuckerberg? Are you the creator of Twitter? If your answer to the last two questions were no, it would behoove you to shut the hell up about it. Let people do what they want, and if you don’t like it, delete them from your space.

I’ve fallen out of love with social networking also because it is confining. I have never worked well with confines. Social Networking Politicians peeve me for this reason as well. They make it their duty to delineate what matters versus what doesn’t matter. That is, whereas a tweet about Kat Stacks getting slapped by some broad in an Atlanta club gets lots of attention, a tweet about a James Baldwin essay gets the attention of only a few people. I guess that’s a human nature thing as well, but it bothers me quite a bit.

Although I hate these things about the social networks I use, I continue to use them to stay connected to the people who matter to me. I want to know what’s new at my alma mater. Whereas a good friend doesn’t call me often, I’ll still be in the loop when he or she has good news. I keep up with cousins who are part of the generation who don’t know how to use that Alexander Graham Bell-invented device that rings. Hey, I might even get my next job from applying to a link that flashes across my Twitter timeline.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you wrote this. I have a love hate relationship with social networks...as soon as I get tired of one, another one comes along and grabs my attention. I've abandoned facebook for twitter, and am now turning my attention towards the newly discovered tumblr. I have the same peeves that you do about them as well. It's kind of like you can't live with them, and you can't live without them...except you can.

    It's funny how the world has shifted itself to this form of communication. Cell phone manufacturers are making it imperative that they incorporate social networking applications into their devices....its the age of technology....I'm writing this with my phone when I have my laptop sitting right in my lap!


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