Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Diagramming the Social Media Sentence

Why hello!

Image result for like buttonIn my blogging absence I've written another book. And another short story.

In the in between moments I do what most people do in this internet age. Which is to say I waste time on social media and try to convince myself that clicking on 'like' buttons is a valid form of human connection.

By now, we've all heard social media is less about connection than competition. However, the more time I spend scrolling through feeds, the more I realize our lives all follow similar patterns that break down sorta like this:

Image result for stick figure family smilesPeople celebrate things. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations and holidays. Pictures are posted of children who have grown to resemble their parents in high school.

Everyone is smiling.

It's tempting to think those smiles and cheerful moments are the defining characteristic of a family. Don't give in to this temptation. All the moments that define us in the internet age are happening off stage.

People grow ill. They have surgery and request prayers. People they love die or they die themselves and the people they love post notices on their Facebook pages. Everyone comments they don't want to hit like, but then they do anyway because there's no other option provided.

Image result for babiesChildren are born. There are lots of baby photos that morph to weekend activity photos as children grow older.

People read things they agree with or are entertained by and post them for other people to read.

Vacations happen. Pictures of foreign places, sunburns and food are posted.

Lately, I find myself more interested by the sameness of the social media feed than its individualized content.

Image result for social mediaInstead of being one of the tools we use to obsessively track each other's status ranking, social media feels more like reassurance that we all progress down the same paths. There are divergences of scale, of course, but the similarities outweighs the differences.

We are born. We celebrate. We vacation. We eat. We like lots of things. We dislike other things. We have a forum for discourse about those things. We grow ill and occasionally we feel the need to rant.

The novelist in me is glad for the similarities that bind us together in our human condition. The human in me is reassured by the pattern displayed through the aggregate of these snapshots.

What about you? What's your take on social media from a consumption standpoint? Reassuring, boring, waste of time (for sure) or bringing about the end of civilization as we know it? Oh, and by the way, of course I missed writing here! But my hope is readers and friends alike will soon get to see the fruit of all that time spent elsewhere.