Social networking is now one of the most-used, or maybe overused, applications on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter being the most popular. You can keep in touch with family and friends and let the world know what you’re doing. You can “tweet” to your heart’s content or post the latest family photos to Facebook and hope everyone on your buddies/friends list sees and comments on them. Everyone’s just got to be interested in what you’re doing, right? Wrong!
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t care about what grandma is making for dinner. Am I invited? Of course not, she’s six hundred miles away. If I’m not invited to taste some of her delicious orange Jell-O mold, then I don’t want to know about it, but that’s what she wrote in her “tweet” for the day. Lucky for me there’s only so many characters you can use to “tweet,” or I’d be reading about her visit to the doctor last week concerning her painful elimination problems, or worse, having to read the recipe for orange Jell-O mold. Same goes for Uncle John’s latest fishing trip. He has a lot more space on Facebook than Twitter to excite us with a riveting account of his week off from work. Besides a blow-by-blow description of the trip itself, and the cost of a gallon of gas at every stop, we’re subjected to badly taken photos of the whole thing. It’s about the same thing as pulling out the photo album and boring your friends with eighty-six pictures of junior’s first birthday party, face in the cake and all. Uncle John’s fishing trip would only be interesting if he had landed a mermaid on the deck of his dinghy. Since the best he could do was a two-pound crappie who’s picture was captured on a digital camera for posterity, I’ll pass on reading all about it. If he’d been fishing on the Left Bank in Paris, maybe I’d be compelled to look at the photos, but still not likely. A two-pound crappie out of a lake in Minnesota weighs just as much and looks the same as a two pound crappie pulled out of the Seine.
There’s a special feature on Facebook where you can add your comment to whatever anybody has said or displayed. This feature supposedly will endear you to the posting person if you write a nice comment. All the comments are ones of praise and in gushing tones making you wonder where you left your hip boots:
“Those fishing trip pictures are so exciting!” Comment left by one of the fisherman’s employees who’s bucking for a promotion. Other people are now using social media as a platform where they can take advantage of opportunities. Whether it is good or bad, it is important to always consider the impact of your action to other people in the long run.
“Little Johnny looks like he’s growing like a weed!” Yeah, eating two Big Macs, three orders of fries, two milk shakes and an apple pie for lunch every day for the last two years has made “Little Johnny” into a much larger Johnny. He’s been growing more “out” than “up.”
“Wish I could have been there.” They don’t really mean this. The comment they’re leaving is about the posting person’s trip to Tampa during the hottest week in August and the family reunion that no one ever goes to.
“Been there, done that,” or “BTDT” in texting lingo. This comment usually concerns some kind of screw-up or unfortunate situation the posting person has experienced. It shows empathy for them and shows that they really are human after all.
Twitter is much better in keeping the useless information and trivia to a minimum. With a limit on the amount of characters and words you can use for one “tweet,” it’s an economical way to say something nobody really cares about hearing. It’s speed-reading for the short attention-span crowd. Facebook requires much more concentration and attention, especially navigating the website-too many links and features to click on. You can easily end up in “Link Hell” ending up at some website you never wanted to go to in the first place.
Since everyone can now find the most mundane information fascinating, it makes you wonder what would happen if something really big did happen. Between Facebook and Twitter, you can waste away the hours by reading about things you never knew you wanted to know. Take your pick. Social networking is here for the duration, so either get with it or go fishing, but be sure to take a lot of pictures. Everyone will be dying to see them.