Social Networked.

Hello, I’m Lindsay and I’m addicted to facebook. I have, in my life, been involved with MySpace (now dead, mostly), Twitter (lost interest, I’m long winded), Goodreads (love books), and am just creeping on to Instagram (I am a sucker for sepia, what can I say), but facebook has probably been the longest relationship in my life. I joined in college, when it was still new. When you connected via schools and shared your class schedule so you could find friends in the same courses. At first I couldn’t understand it. When my sister tried to explain that she didn’t necessary have to be friends with her friends, after she accepted a friend request from someone I knew her to not be keen on. For some reason I remember this conversation taking place in our high school Biology room, though I accept the improbability of this since before this fall I hadn’t stepped foot in my alma mater since Winter break of my freshman year of college, but all of this is besides the point. She explained that it was a networking site, to keep in touch. And perhaps she’d bury the hatchet with so-and-so anyway. I understood, mostly. So when I joined it was tentatively. It didn’t mean much. I couldn’t friend my bestie because she had graduated already and didn’t have a college email address anymore. Facebook was off limits to her, for then. Now, obviously, facebook is global. Anyone can join and anyone frequently does. I have my mom’s friends, I have ex-teachers, I have women I babysit for, and now I have my best friend. In fact, I think I talk to her more than anyone else, despite her being a phone call away. I was always awkward on the phone. People now think it’s kind of hilarious when a log on to facebook with my email address as heller.61@osu.edu, but what can I say, thems were the rules. Zuckerberg made it that way! Until he came to the inevitable conclusion that he could make a boatload more money if he expanded it beyond it’s original concept. That’s okay. Ohio State, unlike Harvard, doesn’t have a facebook anyway.

Now, social media has taken over the world. My mom and I watch The Walking Dead, though I can not understand why. She doesn’t like gore and spends seventy percent of the episode tucked into her sweatshirt diverting her eyes going “Ooo!”. But inevitably at one of the commercial breaks Chris Hardwick (the Nerdist for those Twitterers, the Hashtag Guy to my mom, and that guy from Singled Out to Daniel) comes on with his hilarious upbeatedness and announces the hashtag of the episode for people to start tweeting about. And I admit, the way he gives them is hilarious, ie. “Man, was that disgusting! The hashtag of the day is #OneLeggedHershal!”. My mom laughs hysterically. Hysterically. You would think that she’d just heard the best joke in the world. One episode his spot came later in the episode and halfway through the commercial break my mom started panicking: “Where’s the hashtag guy!?!” She knows what a hashtag is, but she still derides Twitter as nonsense. I considered that oversharing was generational. But, no. I have two of her friends as facebook friends, both share plenty, and a good portion of my aunts and uncles. I don’t talk to my extended family a lot, I’m just terrible at keeping in touch (terrible), so it’s nice to know what’s going on with them, without having to pick up the phone and make a show of calling. That just leads to uncomfortable silences and my palms sweating in my hatred of phones.

There’s also this; I’m a bit of a loner. I’m completely comfortable in my own company. In fact, I relish it. I like hanging out with people, of course, but I get a lot more done on my own. And by get stuff done I mean reading and writing and keep on top of my million television shows. I have actually found myself, as I get older, thinking “Hmm, maybe I can get home from this party by 11:30 so I can read.” But just because I prefer my own company doesn’t mean I don’t like a tether to the rest of the world. Facebook is easily that tether. If someone remarks something amusing, I can respond, but I don’t have to. I can just scroll down my feed and see that there are other people out there. Some are at parties, some concerts, some are sitting at home, like me, remarking on a movie they’re watching, but they are out there. Some I haven’t seen for years, but they are my friends.

When groups that haven’t seen each other for awhile get together they catch up. Some of the stuff they tell you you’ve probably already seen on facebook. Last year when I was at a camp reunion someone brought up their new dog and someone else said “He’s so cute!”, then everyone remarked on how weird that was. We just got the information, but we already knew the information. I don’t think it’s that weird. Of course when you see someone in person you update them on your life but I always have the nasty habit of saying that not much is up. Sure, things have happened in that five years since you last saw me, but I can’t recall them all at the precise moment I’m asked to. Besides, it would be likely weird to see someone you haven’t seen in a while and to tell them that you just had the best sundae in the world and try to explain why this is the highlight of your week. Which is why I like facebook. I put stuff on there for people to see. If they miss it, fine. If not, great. I don’t think it’s weird that you’ve all seen pictures of my cat, because I put up pictures of my cat for you to see. It doesn’t seem like rocket science, we’re not piecing the world together because we’ve just found the Rosetta Stone. We’re sharing our lives with our friends on facebook, so why would it be weird when they’re aware of our lives? In a greater way, sure, it’s a little strange because the world didn’t always work this way. We used to write letters and make phone calls and it’s not like those thing aren’t available to us. I do like writing letters. I write more letters than I am sure most of my friends do, but I also like facebook. It’s more immediate, more spur of the moment, more at my fingertips. I’m not going to write a letter about the hockey game I went to last night, but I will post that Canada can suck it, since we won. It’s a new world, brave or otherwise. Best adapt.

There are those, on facebook, who change their name to their first and then middle name to keep corporate crawlers, or other undesirables  from finding them if they are looking for a job. Okay, valid maybe, but seriously grow some balls. I stand by most of what I say on facebook. Honestly, this blog would be far more damning than anything I’ve ever said on facebook. Except maybe “My job is the worst thing that has ever happened to me!!!!”. There are better ways of saying that. I call it HOE sometimes, or Hell on Earth. Also, the seventh circle, though I’m not sure why it was never elevated to the ninth (I guess it would just be too cold. And who wants to attempt work with pesky Satan chomping on Judas Iscariot in the corner of the room? Not me, thanks.). I’m not always professional, but this is my personal life, I don’t have a problem with it and hopefully anyone who would be hiring me could look past a few college photos of me with a red Solo cup or a buried comment about my not liking my minimum wage job that I’ve had for four years now. Seriously, every time I get a raise they raise minimum wage, it’s chasing me and I can’t break free. I don’t plan out my assassination attempts online, and nor should you. I also don’t brag about my plans for corporate espionage, though it’s my favorite hobby. I’m just not that worried about it. I don’t know anyone who’s ever been called out for having something on their facebook page that their employer didn’t like. I’ve never heard of any of my friends not getting a job because of what they post online. I’m sure it’s happened, but wouldn’t that company be pants to work for anyway? Just sayin’.

Then there’s the people who proudly exclaim that they don’t blog or tweet or friend or whatever and then go on to pretend that they don’t know what tweet means. Please. Even my local news has their facebook friend of the day and tells us to follow them on twitter for up to date news. For gods sake every show I watch has hashtags posted to get themselves trending on Twitter. Not knowing what tweeting is does not make you clever or avant garde, it makes you stupid because, whether you use the service or not, you apparently can’t be bothered to look around you and see the world has changed. This is how people connect now. If you have a business and don’t have facebook, that’s a bad choice. I’ve seen businesses start and flourish out of the sheer power of their twitter followers, more than once. Food Trucks couldn’t survive without social media because no one would know where they were located. Facebook mobile has this feature that actually tells me what business are around me. That’s handy.

Now, obviously I’m not saying that everyone needs to jump on Twitter and start telling everyone the contents of their pockets. I’m not propagating a day long itinerary complete with Instagram pictures of all your meals. That’s not necessary, but if you feel the need to do that I will happily glaze past it on my way to posts that actually amuse me. I don’t read everything everyone posts. I don’t care about a lot of stuff, as I am sure others don’t always care about what I say. I complain sometimes about the influx, as I get older (bleh), of pictures of people’s kids, and cute things their kids did, and inspirational mommy quotes. Sickening, really. It’s not that I don’t like kids just that I don’t like kids. That’s not even true. Actually, it’s their parents I often don’t like. But, I respect their right to post about it. They probably have dozens of friends who do care, who also have kids and also want to do nothing but talk about their kids. I’ll bitch about it for a moment but then move on, because I don’t have to read it all. I don’t have to look at their sonograms, even if they give me in the option. I am, gasp, not complacent in this. I’m not forced to partake in everything they say. I am not a facebook victim!

About a month ago the bathrooms at my work broke, again. This happens all the time. The reason for this is that apparently when they were re-outfitting the building and putting in two bathrooms where their once was a small employee use one they didn’t change the plumbing. At all. Now, I’m used to toilet issues. I went to camp. In relatively rural New England. For those of you that don’t understand what this means it means this: septic tanks. Instead of waste being flushed out through glorious city pipes like the ones I am used to it’s pumped into an enormous tank that lives underground. Of course, then, these tanks must eventually be emptied. With a hundred girls abusedly using the bathrooms every day for two months you can see how eventually this will probably lead to some interesting situations. Alternatively, my cousin has a cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, which also sports a septic tank. I know sewage, my friends, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Still, it was an unpleasant event when I sat down to do my business at work one Saturday only to hear a gurgling, a silence, a pause, and then have dirty toilet water shoot up from the pot and bidet me in the ass. I screamed, clearly, freaked out as poop water started to seep up the drain, nearly cried when I saw someone else’s dirty toilet paper in the bowl of water that had just touched me, and then promptly posted this event to facebook. After about a half hour, when it had well and truly become hilarious, my sister responded with something like “Ewwww, why would you post this on facebook?!?!”. The answer is simple: it’s fucking hysterical. Toilet water shot me in the ass. I mean, yes, I can see how it’s very disgusting, and I’m sure my disgust was a part of me posting it, but in the world of sad sack, my-day-was-way-worse-than-yours stories this is comedic gold. You know it’s true. I invite you to judge me every time I post something on facebook, or twitter (though I haven’t truly used it in years), or this very lovely blog here and I expect you to do it.

I wrote about Wizards of Waverly Place once in a negative light. I really did genuinely enjoy that show but there were certain aspects of it that I found to be not very appropriate for school age kids. I had a problem with their negative light on academics and their insistence that sports and popularity were more important. I think that is very valid. People, generally these school age children, hated me for my criticism and continually called me sad and pathetic for posting negative things about Selena Gomez (certainly not my intention, I actually like her!). Point is, this is my space, though not MySpace who’s there anymore?, I can post what I want. If I have a particular thought or something quite hilarious happens to me you will likely hear about it on some form of social media or another. But here’s the thing; I cordially invite you not to read it. You’re not obligated. If it’s weird to you to know what I’m up to when you’re not talking to me directly, that’s fine. For me, someone who’s terrible, TERRIBLE, at keeping in touch in more archaic forms, social media is a god send. It let’s me know what my friends are up to and gives me a sort of liferaft if I need to keep in touch with them. It connects me to everyone I know from different walks of life. I don’t lose people. It let’s me know about events that are coming up. If I really want my best friend so finally watch that Lady Gaga video we’ve been talking about for three weeks straight but she keeps forgetting to check it out, I can post it to her wall. I can chat with friends, I can look at their vacation photos, I can make quips that I think are hilarious and count how many people agree. Or, alternatively, I can do none of that and just keep my profile in the event someone’s looking for me.

I said at a party once that I think everyone should have facebook, just to keep track of their friends. I was met by skeptical looks, this was the beginning of facebook after all  when we still were interconnected by our relative universities, but at some point in the evening my argument must have sunk in because the next day I received a few friend requests. And you know what? Those college friends that I probably would have lost track of? We’re still facebook friends.

Want to friend me on facebook? Feel free.

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About Lindsay

I have a C'est Moi page, you should probably just read that.
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