Monday, May 12, 2014

Social Media in the Time of Cholera

Though everyone tells me that no one uses Facebook anymore, I am part of the Facebook generation, and all my friends continue to use Facebook, whether for the purposes of shock, awe, or just silently watching people live (or ruin) their lives. Facebook is a way of life now. Checking it is just as much a part of my morning routine as the coffee I drink so I don't accidentally walk out into oncoming traffic. We could very well be updating our statuses from our nursing home cots. But they probably won't be known as statuses there. They'll be something new and innovative which my mind, born in the 20th century as it was, cannot hope of grasping in the year 2014.

It's been said that the internet and ease of staying connected can be damaging, in a way, for it forces us to continue old acquaintances and connections which would otherwise be lost in yearbooks until our grandchildren go through them to see if they can spot younger versions of ourselves. 

That's an understatement. Facebook is a war zone. 

Well, all of social media is a war zone. Suddenly it is clear that the people we friended on a hazy freshman night are not the types of people we would want to know in this brave new world of late twenties/early thirties-hood. Thegirl didn't seem like the type to post detailed photos of herself giving birth to each of her three children, but now we know that she most definitely is that type, and she's pregnant again. 

But, ever user friendly, Facebook has made it more simple to ease those friendships into the past with this wonderful little invention called the unfollow button.

And the unfollow button is the single best thing social media has ever invented.

In vain have I searched for a button like this for Twitter and Instagram. But no such button exists. You can unfollow relatively easily on Twitter, but you know those people will eventually find out, and you don't want messy feelings should you decide to ruin a day by going to homecoming in twenty years. So here is a list of tested and approved ways of disentangling yourself from people you have no desire to ever talk to again.


For Twitter the only thing to do is create a very involved thing called a List. Transferring all 358 people that you actually want to your List and excluding the four people who really drive you nuts with their ranting on made up subjects, is labor intensive, to say the least. I've wasted money on apps which promise to do this but fail to work as well as Twitter's little app. It's horrible.


This is a little simpler. Because the premise of Instagram is a little crazy already, (in that it undoes thirty years of technology and makes your photos look as bad as the ones in your grandparents' scrapbook), a crazy solution is usually best. All you have to do is suddenly announce that you are unfollowing anyone who is not a cat or posts regular cat pictures, and because you are unfollowing everyone en masse no one will take it personally. Eventually you can ease back into it by claiming that you shall follow anyone who you think would be a cat in a different universe. The life lesson in this is that yes, acting crazy can get you out of a lot of annoying situations.


Just delete it. Nothing good will ever come from an app like this, where you broadcast your location to the world at large. Do you really want that crazy guy who friended you on facebook after one bad date to show up at your birthday party? The answer should be obvious.


Easy. Don't ever send them snaps. Don't ever click on their stories. Freeze them out of existence.

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