Saturday, April 30, 2016

It's Complicated (My Relationship With Social Media)

Blame my cat for this.
It's not even 7 on a Saturday morning, but the cat woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep, so I checked my phone...

On Facebook -- where, by mutual agreement of family members, I neither took nor posted a photo of our dinner the previous evening (although, for some reason, I checked in at the place on what's left of Foursquare... because, like Kilroy, I want to leave a mark that I was there) -- I was directed to a post by a very talented, social media-savvy colleague.

It pointed to a story about why the new "Ghostbusters" trailer is the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history. And, by "disliked," it apparently means, a license to post misogynist comments about the all-female leads.

Because I read this story, any subsequent website I visited (thanks, Google) featured suggestions to click on stories posted on "ZergNet," an aggregator of stories such as: "9 TV Shows That Should Have Been Cancelled By Now," "The Real Reason Meg Ryan's Career Was Ruined" and "Daniel Craig's Harsh Words About The Kardashians." This is just a random sampling from this morning. There's much worse on the site, which seems to cater to Baby Boomers who like a cesspool of snark disguised as "celebrity news." I was rescued by a popup alert from Medium...

On Medium -- where I reposted my prior post from here (the one about the abandoned asylum... more later) -- I was intrigued by the headline, "F*** You, I Quit — Hiring Is Broken" -- a long read about a programmer's interview experience in the tech industry. It was a fascinating look into how bizarre the tech business has become, including mentions of the hiring process at aforementioned Google and over-my-head inside-baseball programming references. The author posted his Twitter handle...

On Twitter, I was alerted to an even more bizarre long read: this piece about Yelp Girl. The title explains it best: "The Revelations of Lady Murderface -- Talia Jane wasn’t any naive Millennial when she outed Yelp for its low pay and triggered raises. If you’d had her bizarre life, you might overshare, too." This made me think to check in at work...

On email, my company is currently involved in a labor dispute. The issues involved are important, complex and clouded by so many people having so many agendas that workers wound up caught in the middle. I see today that the striking unions have hired a former White House spokesperson who has launched a parody site where there are photos of six executives aligned like the Brady Bunch. They have been labeled the Greedy Bunch, and you can roll over each photo to view anonymous, sophomoric personal insults.

Seeking refuge, I turned to a place where people can only post if they create something, and it's usually filled with stunning photography, often accompanied by heartfelt or funny commentary...

On Instagram, I had recently posted photos of the abandoned asylum in my old hometown -- mostly because it evoked a deeply learned boyhood lesson about compassion, which I tried to capture here.

You almost always get likes on Instagram or simple expressions of encouragement, but this morning I noticed that someone I don't know had made this comment about my Totowa photo collage:

"I can tell you care about the place, so you should know that posting stuff like this is bound to bring the site negative attention. Vandals, thieves, and even security & police have access to anything you post publicly. That's why most of us never discuss the real names or locations of these places."

Point taken. And, I don't know, maybe I shouldn't have posted it. Too late now. In the meantime, just let me say this:

I do care. Very deeply. And, ultimately -- despite everything I've read this morning -- I have faith in goodness. I have faith in vandals and thieves, in the strikers, in the executives, in millennials and job-seekers, in entertainers and artists, and in all the people laughing and taking selfies and raucously singing "Happy Birthday" in the crowded and noisy restaurant last night.

It's complicated, but I have faith.

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