Tag Archives: social media

the non-people

blank mannequin heads male and female

Before I even start today’s post, I have a feeling I’m going to upset some people. I suspect that even some avid and supportive readers are going to make frowny faces in my direction. But I just have to get this out.

To set the stage, I want to ask you to go beyond mere reading for a bit and to actually take a moment, as best you can, to imagine that a certain personal situation is true and happening to you right now. Envision it. Feel it. React to it.

I want you to imagine that a concerned friend has emailed you a link to a social media post in which you’ve been the topic of discussion, but yet in which you have not been tagged. You follow this link and find that a group of people – some of whom you know but many whom you don’t – have posted a less-than-flattering candid picture of you (or, perhaps, your kids). You don’t know where this picture has come from, only that you didn’t take it.  The caption added to this picture is ridiculing you. What a train wreck you are. How delusional you are. How monstrously un-cute your kids are. What a god-awful spouse you married, and how it’s no wonder that rumors are circulating that you’ve been cheating with someone else who is named in the post.

Below this is a long train of comments where “friends” and strangers alike are joining in to add their two cents, mostly agreeing, really ramping up the humor of it. Adding more pictures designed to humiliate or embarrass. They jab at your body type and how you’ve really let yourself go. One person even goes so far as to say your “very existence is an insult to humanity.” Another says they are “surprised evolution allowed such a step backward.” You scroll and scroll, but it never seems to end.

How would you react? How would you feel? Would you keep reading, driven to know every rotten thing people had said? Would you add a comment to spite them, call them out or express how hurtful this was?

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bigger than the bubbles

social media alert bubble

I heard this week that Amazon.com is expecting to begin implementing a flying drone program this year, which will get products to customers’ doors about a half hour after placing an order online. I suspect that, not long after this goes into effect, people will be standing by the door 31 minutes after ordering, shaking their heads in irritation about their “late” delivery.

In a society that is ever more fast-paced, it’s easy for people to forget that we have control of (and responsibility for) things as integral and personal as our own thoughts and reactions.

As technology advances, “developed” humans find ways to take multi-tasking and expectations of results to increasingly higher levels. Pencil-and-paper math problems were replaced by simple touch calculators, which were replaced by smaller and more complex computers. Currently, I can just ask Siri to figure out my math problem for me. And in most instances, automatic algorithms predict my needs and solve problems in the background without my ever realizing the math is happening at all.

The faces of our smart phones are arrayed with neat rows of a hundred apps, all with little red bubbles demanding that we must find out RIGHT NOW that our friend Sarah “loves peanut butter so much (!!!)” or that someone just recorded himself riding a unicycle across a rain gutter. And we have accepted, for the most part, that relieving ourselves of these red bubbles is acceptable at any time: at work, while with family, out to dinner with a friend, on the john.

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