Social media of some sort has been around for quite a while now so you would think that people would know how to use it. But no. No. Every day, or should I say every hour (I’m a Facebook Crackwhore), when I log on to Facebook, I see things that piss me off, and I’m not an irritable person. OK. I’m definitely an irritable person, but still. How can we as a species not understand general netiquette in 2016?
Since this bugs the shit out of me, and since I am a Type-A control freak, and since I mixed Sudafed with my coffee today, I have decided to prepare a brief lesson on social media netiquette. Get yourself a glass of wine, water, bourbon or tea and read these basic rules to remember when you are surfing the Net for selfies and cat videos.
It’s OK, you guys. I’m not zombie or slut shaming. I can use these derogatory terms because I fit in both groups. I can also use the words chubby, short, and bitch for the same reason, but that is fodder for another day. Let’s just stick with zombies and whores for now.
How many of you are also zombie whores? How many of you are flipping through Facebook, either on your phone or on your computer, maybe at work, looking for that person you hated in high school to see if she’s fatter than you? It can’t be just me. Or maybe I AM your hated fat person. Like a lot of us, you are probably wasting HOURS every week getting in touch with people you never really cared about in the first place, when you could be doing something you’ve always wanted to do. Social media is an all-consuming time clustersuck. How many times have you stepped away for an hour and returned to 20 notifications. Notifications that someone’s Republican aunt also posted a comment on their Obama meme. Is this life shattering information?
Most of us non-Amish folks are all over social media, posting tidbits about our lives, funny memes, and cat pictures regularly. We like to feel like we are a part of the Internet world. We comment on news stories, or share them to alert our other friends who get their news from the Zuckerberg News Network. When a TV show posts a hash tag phrase, we all jump on it like trained flea-bitten circus dogs. This is not intelligence; this is not the information age. This is the zombie age.
It’s such a problem that there is actually such a thing as Internet addiction. Like, it’s Dr. Drew legit, you guys. There is actually software to monitor your social media usage. This is how bad it has gotten. There’s an app to track app usage. It’s like a 12 step program for geeks and hermits.
Before you get your panties in a bunch and turn on your troll light, actually read what I’ve written. I’m not judging you. I’m judging us, all of us, who waste our time every day on social media. It’s not social anymore. Well, I guess to quote John from the Breakfast Club, it’s demented and sad, but social.
Case in point: me. I am currently writing two novels. By writing two novels, I mean that I’m not writing them, like ever. Instead, I’m just flipping through Facebook looking for that psychotic ex boyfriend to see if he’s bald yet.
I set out to be a novelist, a paperback writer as the Beatles sang. I had it all planned:
Write a book.
Get an amazing publishing contract.
Have the book be hugely popular.
Have it made into a movie.
Have John Cusack star in the movie.
Walk the red carpet with my family and cry tears of joy at the premiere.
Instead, I allowed myself to become a third rate blogger and all around social media whore. No offense to the first and second rate bloggers out there. In order to be a writer in this here information age, you have to build a following online. So, whether you want to or not, you have to blog, and get oodles of Facebook likers, and Twitter followers. I’m told I should be building my Pinterest boards like mad, but to be honest, I hate Pinterest with a white hot passion.
I like blog writing; it’s short, sweet, and often fun to do. I just hate the sales pitch song and dance you have to do to be a successful blogger. I am NOT a salesperson. Way back in the day – Miami 1990 – I worked at Macy’s. I was always “in arrears,” meaning I sold so little that I didn’t even earn my hourly rate in commission. A woman once asked me if a dress she was trying on made her look fat. I said yes. NOT A SALESPERSON.
In addition to being a salesperson, being a blogger is like being a fat third-grader trying to get picked for the kickball team. “PICK ME!! Oh read me! READ me! Pick me! Publish me! Love me! Put me on the Today Show!” Blah, blah, blah. I get tired of my own inner fat third grader, never mind everyone else’s. I am looking at you, selfie every day.
While it is cool to have your stuff on the interwebs, the cha ching value is usually low, like zero. In other words, most bloggers, like a lot of creative folks, make diddly squat for their efforts. Every writer’s dream is to be paid to write. So, the blogging world has become crowded, competitive, and common. It seems like EVERYONE is a blogger. When something becomes crowded, competitive and common, I lose interest.
I’m not saying that I’m definitely going to be the next great writer, or actually have a movie made of my book, or that John Cusack even knows who I am, or would sign on for my movie. I’m saying that I have to at least focus more on the writing I love doing, and try to make my dreams come true. So, I can’t sit around all day trying to think of 140-character nonsense. And you shouldn’t either. What are your dreams? Have you achieved them, or have you just found all of your elementary school friends and their siblings? Let’s take a big step away from the internet, and take our brains back.