This post is part of the You Write the Title series – title submitted by Sac. He also submitted “Hot Chicks With Douchebags” and I think I’ll combine them.
My mechanism for knowing when I’ve spent too much time on social media is when I catch myself mentally telling someone to shut up. I don’t suffer fools well, and sometimes I don’t suffer perfectly nice people that well either. Usually shyness prevents me from saying so out loud. But online, nobody can hear when you tell them to stuff it. Which can be nice.
The problem with social media is that it can become entirely about reputation. We hear a lot about people who bad at managing their reputations: posting stupid things that ruin them. But what we don’t much about is the tamer version – that sometimes, the person that a person thinks the world wants them to be, isn’t a person that the world actually likes very much at all.
Most people want to be liked. When someone says they don’t care, it’s normally bravado. The thing is, though, often we don’t get it quite right when we try to figure out what would get that job done for us with other people. (Not a surprise to anybody who has ever been on a blind date.)
And – particularly online, though not always – we try so hard, sometimes, to be That Person – the person we think is more fun or interesting than we are – not realizing that Just Plain Us is actually quite a lot nicer and cooler than this persona.
And so, we get douchebags, and me rolling my eyes telling Facebook to shut up.
The moral? Get off the internet before you turn into either a misanthrope or a douchebag.