Redefining “Social Media”

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest… the list goes on and on. The way we interact today is completely different than ten years ago… oh, Jesus, I’m getting old. Okay, let’s make that 15 years ago. Though the media through which we connect is ever changing, and puking our personal lives right into each other’s laps, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Unfortunately, there are some awful trends that have come about, and I am here to tell you to cut the shit. We still have to coexist, we still have to be decent people, and we still have to be responsible people. Ready? Here is a list of things humanity needs you to address ASAP:

1. Use a little discretion when posting photos– Dear Lord in Heaven above, please. I know it’s fun to be edgy and naughty. It’s my MO. Slut it up by all means, but don’t post pictures of you making out with your best friend with a bottle of Jager in your hand and one tit out. On a Wednesday. Live your life, girl. Party it up. But the internet SERIOUSLY is forever. Even if your profile is private, we can still find these pictures. It seems cool now, but when you’re 24 and your CEO calls you to tell you to take down pictures from your page you forgot existed from dark nights past, it won’t seem so awesome. It’s an awkward phone call, and it actually happened to, um, someone I know. Coughmecough.

2. Like pages and pictures with caution – I get that you want to see pictures of women in their panties on top of sports cars. There is no judgement there. But remember that your entire friend list just got a blurb in their newsfeed that you like “Slutty Teen MILFS in Bathtubs” or “Nasty Whores Doing Nasty Chores.” It’s weird for everyone, Uncle Jerry. Additionally, that hilarious meme or quote you just liked came from a page called “I Am a Silly Butt Pirate.” If you don’t want people thinking you sail the seven seas of anus, double check where the photo came from.

3. Google before you post – A good 67% of my time online is spent disproving ridiculous stories that my wonderful, yet gullible, friends and family repost. I am not a super genius, just your run-of-the-mill genius, but it doesn’t take one to spot the signs of a false article. Your first warning sign is that it didn’t come from a reputable, AP-backed news source. Sometimes you can google the headline and the story will come up on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, whatever your biased media outlet of choice may be, and then you’re free to post. However, if all your articles come from PatriotMericaJernal.com, chances are the article is slightly more false than true. Not everything you read is real. Other warning signs include: no author listed on the article, overly descriptive or impassioned language (although, our local news is lately guilty of this as they hire more 20 year olds to write online articles and run social media), and lack of sources or references by facts and figures. If an article sounds outrageous or ridiculous, it probably is just that. No, McDonald’s does not serve human meat, and that little crying white girl was not being sold as a wife to a terrorist. Google. Just google. It’s so easy. I love you, seriously, but I will call you out.

4. Keep it private – I hesitate to post this one, because my life is SUPER boring, and God knows I derive untold and unhealthy amounts of pleasure from reading your highly personal life drama on Facebook. However, I am just your acquaintance, but now I know a whole lot about your baby-mama-drama. And, oh look at that, you’ve changed your relationship status BACK to “In a Relationship” for the 3rd time this week. This is the social media version of that guy on COPS covered in blood in a wife beater, screaming, “I luv yew, Jinny! I didn’t mean ter hit ya!” and she’s crying in the doorway of her single-wide screaming that Rufus is a no-good cheater, with a baby bawling on her hip. Guys, we know Jinny and Rufus are getting back together as soon as he posts bail, but there’s a reason Facebook doesn’t have a “Toxic and Dysfunctional” option. It just goes without saying, and you’re saying it way more than is necessary. I can only type the words, “You guys should probably stay broken up,” so many times in a month. Just keep it private. Talk in real life. Seek counseling. UNLESS your sig ot is a cheater-pumpkin-eater or abusive and you’ve broken free, then you’d better put them on blast. This is more equivalent to the scarlet letter, and public shame is required.

5. Don’t be a troll – For those of you who are not familiar with trolling, it is the act of commenting or posting for the sole reason of getting a reaction out of people. I can’t understand why someone would do this. It baffles me, seriously, and is like that kid on the playground that said you had ugly teeth just to watch you cry. They don’t really think you have ugly teeth, but they have something broken in their brains that causes them to seek attention through negativity. Look, gross dude in his mom’s basement covered in cheetos and self-loathing, get some therapy. Unfortunately, the interwebs serves the same function as a KKK hood. You’re filled with hate, but you’re kind of a bitch, so you bully people behind a mask to dodge any consequences. You’re a sad person, the scum of the internet, and I pity you. But you know this, and that is why you continue. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by you seeking therapy… That got a little deeper than I intended, but that’s the reality of it.

The other side of trolling are those that feed into the BS these losers are posting. Don’t give them the power! Don’t react! It’s what we all learned in middle school about bullies, and we have all somehow forgotten. Just ignore the sad people, and they will feel lame and go away. Or, as I like to do, troll them back by playing into their game. Beat them at it. It’s so much more fun that way.

6. If you don’t have anything nice to say – I’ve never bee particularly fond of this adage, because sometimes the truth needs to be told, and it isn’t always nice. So if you don’t have anything nice to say, and you’ve determined there is a true need for you to say this not-nice thing, who am I to stop you? By all means, blast away, BUT do not think that you are somehow free from any sort of social consequences. If you hate your job, your boss, your mother-in-law, and you post about it, you do not get to say things like, “This is my private page!” or, “OMG you take Facebook way too seriously.” Communication has changed, and social media is very real. If you’re going to say it in the virtual world, be prepared to face actual consequences. Your boss will find out you think his neck looks like female anatomy, or that you spit in someone’s curly fries. The internet is never a private forum. Sound off, vent, get angry, but think twice before you post. I say this from actual experience. And while I still mean EVERY word I posted about a certain institution, the harsh reality is that I suffered far greater consequences through my angry (but true, for the record) status than I imagined.

This is a pretty hefty list to get you started. Clean up your Facebook front yard. Hide your crazy. Use discretion and Google. Put down the joint, and for goodness sake, put your nipples back in your shirt! Happy posting!

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