A Novel Blog – Part 5: In Defense of Social Media Updates and Selfies

We’ve all seen the posts – 10 things you should never do on Facebook, 13 Reasons You Need to Stop Taking So Many Selfies, What Not To Post On Twitter – from high-profile news sites down to simple blogs, everyone has a view on others’ lives, and more importantly, how they share that lifestyle.

We all have preferences on how we share, and what we see in return. Do we reserve the right to an opinion on what shows up on our own timelines? Of course! Do we need to get all sanctimonious about others’ posts? Apparently, though I’m tiring of it, and I’m tiring of it fast. Sometimes I feel like it’s a case of the generation gap biting. The desire to yell ‘shut up oldies, this is the world now’ burns within me, though at 34, I’m not exactly a young person myself. And there are youngish peeps who also pass judgments on what is shared on social media. So, hell, if everyone else can be all judgey, so can I.

Photos of every meal of you have

Okay, yes, this can be annoying. But if someone I know goes to an awesome restaurant/cafe and Instagrams the meal, it’s not exactly irritating. I am much more likely to try a place, or a recipe, if someone I know has been there/tried that and raved. They are doing me a favour – I don’t want to try something new and it turns out shit. I’ll try what someone else has recommended via a saliva-inducing pic. Are they showing off? Yes, and who cares? As for pics of food at home, that’s just sharing what they’re doing. That’s the point of social media, right? To be social? I have no interest in craft beer, but if someone wants to rave, then have at it.

Cryptic statuses

Example – ‘Boy, at times like this, you find out who your friends are’. Critics argue this is classic attention-seeking on Facebook. ALL SOCIAL MEDIA IS ABOUT ATTENTION. Geez. Someone on your timeline is having a shit time of it, and needs a chat. They didn’t feel the need to explain it all in the opening update. Their choice. Deal with it. I have someone on my timeline who regularly posts things like ‘things will be better tomorrow’. She had a shit day – she doesn’t want to discuss, she wants chit-chat instead. No biggie.

Baby photos/Wedding photos/Holiday photos

Don’t like pics of my kids? Why the hell are you following my Facebook page? I don’t like your photos of the 518652156 football matches you watch, but I’m not going to tell you not to post them. Each to their own. Same goes for shots of your holiday, or SUP excursions, or your jewellery. Don’t let anyone’s high-horsed opinion tell you on what should be on your Instagram et al.

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Tweeting random thoughts

That’s what Twitter is for, right? Plus for hate-watching reality shows and tweeting with like-minded watchers near and far. And for getting the news, tweeting to David Duchovny, and for stupid memes that you love to share. Twitter is a great place; random thoughts are shared and gone. That’s the fun. Plus with following options and mute and block functions, you only see the random thoughts you want. Filter out what you don’t need.

Sharing too many links/Liking too many posts

Okay, yes, on Facebook, this can be annoying. But there are options so you only see some posts by some people. You don’t need to see what others have liked. You have options so certain links from certain sites don’t show up. Quit whingeing and adjust your settings already.

Humblebrag

Someone has posted an update that ‘annoys’ you. ‘I had to jump through soooo many hoops to finally arrange that all-expenses paid tropical holiday’. Maybe they didn’t want to show off too much and tried to tone it down. Maybe they are New Zealanders and risk having their heads chopped off by ‘tall poppy syndrome’. (Seriously, why do kiwis hate the successes of others?) It doesn’t matter why someone does the humblebrag, the question is, why does it annoy you? Have a cookie, and unfollow.

Details of your workout

People are exercising. They are posting it online. They are feeling good about themselves, so what if they share it? The fact others don’t like hearing about it is lost on me. I don’t care if someone is craving wine every single day, but that seems okay to share. People do what they do. Deal.

Asking questions that Google can answer

Yeah, okay, a little weird, but rather than pointing that out every time someone asks a question, maybe they want opinions from people they know and (maybe) trust rather than Google? Perhaps they are short on conversation starters. Let’s not be picky.

There are things you shouldn’t post on social media – your schedule, your private info, photos of your family on open accounts, relationship statuses/fights, when you’ll be away from home, bragging about skipping work or hating your boss, but these things are for your safety. There are things I hate to see on social media, such as anything racist, shaming the poor, or shaming women who have/had/support abortion, anti-immigration rants, and people getting their kit off. You will be blocked by me for these things, and I have no intention of making a big deal about that; it is what it is. I’m no fan of getting a pic of your celebrity crush and superimposing it with a dolphin/fairy/teddy bear with a full moon background, but those never seem to go away. But that’s just my opinion.

Post away, my friends.

SELFIES

You don’t like selfies? Boohoo, they aren’t going away. Do I take selfies? Hell yeah! I do some things where I am alone, or in the company of children, so who is the photographer? I am. Selfies are not just vain pics of yourself (though can be), they are now a way of conveying where you are and what you’re doing. Rather than just taking a shot of a view, now you add yourself to the view. It’s a new way of sharing. People don’t write that they are bored; they show a pic of themselves bored. That’s 2015. Do we need to see people clicking off selfies in the toilet, or at funerals, at emergencies (fires, car accidents)? No, but there are always people who can’t tell appropriate from inappropriate. I have a photo of myself at Pearl Harbour, circa 2000. Everyone says pics at memorials aren’t appropriate, but to me it’s just a photo I wandered into. Chill on the selfie hate, peeps. I don’t need to see the same person’s face in the same expression/place/filter every day either, but that some people’s prerogative. The novelty wears off everything, and getting your blood pressure up over someone’s (clearly not real) no makeup, no filter head shot is utterly pointless. As for selfie sticks, I know a guy (virtual and IRL) who has a selfie stick and takes Instagram pics of himself every single day. Is he vain, is he a show-off? I don’t think so. The photos are totally amazing, in various places as he travels the world, mostly on the beach, a hike or out on a SUP. He looks great. The shots look great. He is documenting his life and the life of his young son. Okay, maybe not everyone with a selfie stick is doing an ace job with the technology provided. If you want to get all fired up over an issue, take on sexism or racism, not selfie sticks.

I’m a selfie lover. I don’t have photos taken very often, but I like to commemorate fun moments myself. Some I publish, some I don’t, and if someone thinks it’s gratuitous, or a humblebrag (never is, if I want to brag, then I shall), or unnecessary, feel free to not follow me. I’m not posting for likes, I’m posting for fun. Because it is.

SELFIE EXPLOSION

The bottom line is, why spend your energy on complaining about what other people are doing? If you don’t like posts, or updates, or photos, why are you following these people? Ask yourself why these things bother you. Before you say that young people are oversharing, remember, all generations may have been the same, had they had the technology available. Selfies are as old as time. Henry VIII had dozens of portraits painted. To me, standing for hours in your golden garb while a man paints you is way more vain than snapping a pic. Rumour has it that the artists made him look better than reality. Henry may not have had Instagram filters, but he had peasants to filter his look for all time.

Facebook has brought me to so many people who have helped me in many ways, from simple friendships to networking and writing novels. Twitter gives me news that MSM can’t, and has promoted my books and I’ve sold them by the thousands. Instagram is a quick way of sharing, Pinterest provides inspiration and Tumblr is where all the coolness hangs out. So many positives. Less moaning, more leading by example, please. 

Stay chill with your opinions on others on social media. Better yet, monitor your own updates, maybe you’re breaking your own rules. Listening to people moan about other people’s social media usage is like listening to your grandparents reminisce about the old days of the telephone exchange or the price of stamps in the 1957 – pointless, but harmless. There is truly harmful stuff out there, like Facebook pages dedicated to violence, abuse, degradation, sexism, racism and bullying. Feel free to tackle those rather than getting irritated by someone’s 156 photos of their Fiji holiday. Plus, once you share something, it exists forever. If people make mistakes, it will haunt them, not you.

Yes, the view is great from up on my high horse. I would like to think it’s a super chill unicorn.

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