Why I Don’t Like Likes

Suzy XYZ and ten other people like your status.”

We’ve all seen the notification, after hitting the globe with the red rectangle that tells us someone thought of us today. For me, finding out that that red flag only means someone “liked” something I wrote is only mildly satisfying. And then I realize that I’m the problem, I’m the ghost in the machine.

When I started regularly Facebooking a year ago (“No Facebook, ever!” I had always firmly held, but my resolutions melted when I found it was the only way of keeping up to speed with our swiftly tilting planet), it didn’t take me too long to realize that the majority of users don’t actually produce regular content. Perhaps I was just spoiled as an internet babe, cutting my teeth on the blogosphere as my first form of web discourse. When I joined Facebook, I knew that it wasn’t going to be greatly satisfying, but I joined anyway. Scanning the news feed, looking for actual information about my friends, I found that the more popular pastime is reposting news articles and memes.

I’m a high-content guy. I recently sent a writing partner my share of ideation on a piece of work we’re doing, and she responded, basically, “Nope. I can’t do this. To much information. Break it down.” She suggested crumbling the (very big) project into smaller chunks…the sizes she cited left me with a sense of impatient disappointment.

Perhaps Facebook isn’t the problem. And I’m willing to accept this as a major possibility, because I know I’m a major social anomaly. Maybe I’m the problem. Facebook isn’t a social catch-all; it’s tailored to a certain set of efficient people. So, while I may enjoy taking two minutes to craft a comment for someone’s post, others will just hit “like.” A binary love note will appear on my dashboard…like getting a signed Hallmark card from a long-lost friend.

This speaks to the infrastructure of the website, though. It is, in many ways, a depersonalized social machine. I suppose that, since the average Facebooker has approximately 500 friends, it needs to be depersonalized for it to work at all. If each of those 500 friends posted regular content daily, one would never get through one’s timeline. And if you commented on the daily statuses of 500 people, it would take an eternity to catch up. Hence, it is much quicker just to hit the thumbs-up button. Liking and sharing, rather than leaving text, is a pragmatic shift in interactions, designed to cope with how fast users must consume “content” in order to get up to speed.

If the majority of Facebook users spent more time crafting content and responding thoughtfully to statuses, we would spend a lot more time on Facebook. As a result, people would have to start rethinking how many people with whom we are willing to keep in touch. 500 would become 50, and perhaps 50 would even become 5.

However, once again I realize most of this is me. Not everyone likes high-volume text–Some people would rather eat candy than cake. Ultimately, Facebook is an exercise in mass-production, and as with all manufacturing operations, processes must be streamlined and optimized to work efficiently.

Kachunk. Kachunk. Whirr.

Tweeting, Acgh!!!

How do you pronounce “Acgh?” you may be wondering? Well, I think it’s somewhere between the “AAAAAAAAH!!!” one screams when falling off a cliff, and maybe the “Ich!” one might say when practicing one’s German, or the “Ugh!” one might utter when one has to go outside in the winter. Barefoot. In the rain.

I have recently started Tweeting, acgh!

I opened up an account the other day, and I’m now starting to get the hang of it. At first, I posted a generic “Just trying this out” tweet. Then, I shouted-out a “I’m a twitterer!” at someone I knew. Then, I posted a very business-like Banager’s Lights announcement.

Today, I started to get into it.

I rolled up my sleeves. I got down in the mud. I announced that I killed my internet so I could get writing. And when I clicked “Tweet,” and saw my message pop up on my timeline, I felt this nice, happy, “Ooh! I wrote that!” feeling.

It’s kind of scary.

Twitter has the potential to be a time-consuming monster. I mean, I find myself clicking the “Twitter” bookmark a LOT tonight.

It all happens so fast! That’s the thing with social media. Everything happens at lightning-speed. If I were to have a Facebook, I could status-update from my phone, “I’m in the car leaving work.” Ten minutes later, I could status-update, “There’s no place like home!!!” Etc. etc. all night long. If somebody checked Facebook twice a day, they might see that I’m on my lunch break, and the next thing they know, I’m arm-wrestling my nephew over a bowl of chips. I mean seriously? They’ll miss all that happened in between if I am constantly status-updating, whereas they only check twice a day.

But now…I ramble. 🙂

I guess the point is…Social Media can be life-sucking. Control it, don’t let it control you. Take it like chocolate…enjoy it but in moderation. Don’t spread your entire life on the internet. Save some time for real life.

Save some time to go for a drive with a buddy and eat McDonalds fries and listen to old tapes.

Don’t get too busy for the real world and all the blessings God has put in it for us to enjoy.

…Don’t blog your life away. (Dude, did I just say that? What am I doing now?)

Why am I still writing? Acgh!!!

(And that’s more of an “Acgh!” you say when you pull your hair out!)

A Letter

Dear Bloggers—

Greetings from my corner of the world! I know it has been a long time since I wrote, please forgive my delay. I have been having a crazy life recently with school, work, and that etcetera that we all have.

That etcetera that we don’t really want to publicly hang all over the internet…not that it’s bad, or embarrassing, or humiliating, or anything negative like that. In fact, there’s some wonderful stuff going on. But as you have probably figured out by now, I’m wary of the internet, and I just don’t want to write every detail up on here. I don’t even have a facebook, lololol…

So, this is me, in an old skool way, writing to you all. Let’s pretend this is a piece of paper. There’s a coffee stain on it, as well as a change in ink halfway through because my first pen died. The second type of ink is even nicer, though. The letter came in a heavy, green envelope. On the back is a”Get well Soon” sticker—an indicator of how rushed the endeavor was.

Warmest Regards,

—Seph