In an age where social media is becoming an ever more vital aspect of our day to day lives, and with news that Facebook intends to challenge Twitter’s advertisement revenue by introducing its own version of the hashtag, the time seems ripe to examine the five things I hate the most about social media.
Selling Your Social Image
The thing that I’ve come to notice about Facebook in the last couple of months is that it has become a platform for people to advertise themselves as a sort of social package. First and foremost, you choose a cover photo and a profile picture which you feel adequately portray and express whatever image you’re trying to achieve. These are the first things any potential social customer will see, and you have to make sure they’re interesting enough to entice them to read your bio, browse your Spotify or Netflix history, or maybe even add you as a friend. This is making friends for the 21st century; it’s fast, it’s competitive and it’s a cut-throat business.
We all know people that can only be enjoyed in small doses before becoming unconscionably and irretrievably annoying. This is no poor reflection on our personal character; it is a simple truth that as human beings, we will inevitably find some people easier to be around for extended periods than others. For these others, some respite is necessary before we can stand to enjoy their company again. The problem today is that almost anyone that you have ever spoken to for more than five minutes will probably add you on Facebook, which means you’ll be subjected to their virtual presence on a minute to minute basis. Small doses are hard to come across with social media.
The Language Barrier
It’s no secret today that the internet plays host to a whole new level of slang. Now don’t get me wrong, I have zero problem with the language of the internet; it’s sarcastic, it’s expressive and most of the time it’s hilarious. While that’s all well and good however, social media means that many people are overexposed to a culture they’re too lazy to understand, and we are becoming a generation of people too stupid to appreciate our own slang. As I heard one iPhone toting girl say the other day: “I didn’t actually laugh though, but I lolled inside.” LOL.
It’s not just since the dawn of social media that people have been using advertising to try and sell things to each other, but it’s only in the last few years that we’ve really made ourselves easy targets. We tell Facebook and Twitter what music we like, what movies we watch, where we want to go on holidays and what we’d like for breakfast in the morning on a daily basis. These sites can then sell this information to advertising agencies, things like “22% of 18-25 year olds like Diet Coke,” or “1 in 3 teenagers likes My Chemical Romance.” Facebook now intends to introduce its own version of the hashtag, which will allow companies to tailor their ads to suit our desires on a minute to minute basis. For example, if you were to post #thirsty, Facebook could pop an ad for Pepsi right in your face. Scary stuff, especially when smartphones mean that this could happen at any second of any day.
Perhaps the most irritating thing of all about social media is that, for all its faults, hazards and shortcoming, it is utterly and unquestionably indispensable to modern living. Try deleting your Facebook account, even for a week; I have. You will find all of a sudden that, quite aside from increasing your phone credit bill a thousand times over, you will miss birthdays, anniversaries and be entirely out of the social loop. It can even affect your professional life. Classes use Facebook pages to share notes, businesses use Twitter accounts to post notices, and if you aren’t part of the institution you will be left behind. As irritating and potentially dangerous as it may be, social media has its uses, and I’m afraid we might be stuck with it.