A Rant about Social Media

I don’t care if your dog’s spinal operation went well.

I don’t care if your kid sings along to Adele in a cute voice.

I don’t care if you own micro pigs which can fit inside tea cups.

I don’t care if you proposed via the medium of song.

And I don’t care if you cried a lot when you were reunited with your brother after 12 years of separation.

Call me a cynic, call me harsh, heartless, cold or whatever it is you want to call me for I just don’t care.

Unfortunately, all of the above is exactly what my Facebook news feed consists of — day in, day out. Every post is about some magical moment involving a pug or lamb or a toddler or an old man. It’s bizarre. We are taking natural, normal and daily occurrences, uploading them to the Internet and blowing them completely out of proportion.

‘Woman gives homeless man a sandwich’ — OH MY GOD. SOMEONE GET HER A MEDAL. I AM IN SO MUCH SHOCK RIGHT NOW. PLEASE PRAISE HER. THIS IS UNHEARD OF.

Don’t get me wrong, this is really kind. She’d probably just bought it, it was probably part of the Boots Meal Deal, it was probably over priced. But this is not worthy of 90,000 likes and 45,000 shares. I mean, this is just a human being helping out another human being. From one human to another. I should think it’s also a fairly common occurrence so why should one woman get all the praise? I once gave a fiver and a cigarette to a homeless man and then I told him that I liked his dreads but I didn’t video the entire thing and post it online so as people could tell me how thoughtful I am.

It’s not just the homeless though. We are making mountains out of molehills left, right and centre. No wonder kids behave like brats these days. They do a little dance (if you can even call it that) and suddenly everyone who's anyone is videoing them and telling them how fantastic they are and that they were ‘born stars’. A kid smiles and everyone’s like ‘FILM IT’. It’s as if none of us have ever seen a child’s toothy grin before. Or a dog getting excited over food. Or a soldier cry when he sees his family for the first time in a year.

I don’t get it? None of these things are brand new to us? We all know that kids can be cute (sometimes) and animals can be funny and reunions can be emotional. So why, someone tell me why we’re so obsessed with watching it all online?

I will hear my own child say their first words and if I can’t have children or don’t have children I will see my sister’s or brother’s or friend’s children do it. I don’t get any joy out of seeing a total stranger’s 4 year old scream ‘HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE!!!!’ There is no joy in this because it’s not personal to me. I don’t know the kid, I don’t know the parents, the camera man, the old lady in the background with the watery smile and the proud look in her eyes. I won’t be able to say to this child when she is all grown up and about to come home from university, ‘hey, when you’re back, let’s watch that home video of you singing Adele. It never gets old.’

Some of this stuff is personal, you know? If you’ve proposed to your fiance through a song you wrote whilst lying under the stars and played it to her oh so sweetly on the guitar then that is very cute. Seriously, well done you. But it’s personal. Let your fiance do the praising and your nearest and dearest do the congratulating. Not the entire online community. Why do we all want to know about that? It’s an intimate moment between you and the love of your life. Not the love of everyone else’s life. If you post it online and suddenly it’s shared time and time again until you’ve reached 61,000 views and God only knows how many likes and comments, then it’s as if you’ve done this really thoughtful thing and then gone…

‘Hang on, no one knows. SHIT. No one knows how great I am and how romantic I can be and how much my fiance cried when she heard my dulcet tones. What should I do? These people MUST know. These total strangers, I want them to know how fabulous I am. I NEED validation from other usernames that proposing with a song is the cutest thing they’ve ever heard. Oh wait, I happened to catch the WHOLE THING on video. What are the chances?! I caught the whole thing on my little iPhone and now I’m going to upload it onto the world wide web so everyone knows how soft I am and how in love we are. Oh, and if you want to know how good the sex is, well I’ve recorded all that too.’

Seriously though, some things are better kept private. Tell your family, tell your close friends, maybe even tell the neighbours. But don’t upload it. We don’t all want to see it.

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