A bit about social media and how we behave.
I was talking with a friend today about how our generation makes up all of these terms to explain how shitty our attitudes are. We are a society of people who want to explain things with cute words and terms instead of actually talking about how we feel. I even fall into this category. I use a lot of the terms too, not ironically, and as someone who prides themselves on their vocabulary that irritates me.
This might get kind of bloody, I hope you’re not easily upset by the crucifixion of words, because I’m planting stakes.
I am a part of a generation of assholes who are “talking” to one another instead of explaining their feelings, who would sooner smash someone and not see them again despite the implications that it may have on their futures, our guys have side chicks and our girls have sides of bullshit too. When all the drama from relationship gets to be too much we get lit at parties and pride ourselves on blackout drinking. We describe one another with memes meant to throw shade and destroy each other’s public opinion. When a conflicting ideal rears its head we sooner turn to white pictures with text on them instead of talking about our differences, over a cup of coffee or a blunt I promise it would be better than sending “Fuck Trump” memes. I don’t care for him either, but there is a reasonable and intelligent way to discuss it, but instead of searching for validity so many of us choose to investigate the holy words of our almighty Queen Beyonce and the ever revolving pool of drool take your pick, Chris Pratt, Brad Pitt or Chris Evans so on and so on. When we come across someone who aligns with our narrow and shallow idealistic portrayal of reality we choose to bind ourselves to them in moments shorter than milliseconds and they become our best friend. We also aren’t great at making decisions, either. I call three different men my best friend. One woman too. So I make criteria to divide them. My best girl friend + my girlfriend, and then my best friend from childhood and my two best good buddies and it’s all bullshit. We would rather roast one another and disappear when we go too far instead of recognizing that we just dragged someone when they didn’t deserve it. We form allegiances based on religion, political affiliation and educational ideals but not exactly because half of us don’t even understand what the fuck is going on because we were too busy voiding our intelligence in favor of reblogs, retweets, likes and favorites. So many people in my life would rather meet up online with their friends, rather than go outside and talk in person with them. Myself included. I’ve become a hermit who has fallen into laziness with the way I speak and act. Then, to cap all of this off if things don’t go our way in relationships or life, we have no qualms with dropping everything and disappearing without a trace from others lives. We call it ghosting.
Well, I’m here to haunt.
Before I continue I’m going to make this perfectly clear, I am not saying all of this from a place of arrogance. I am just as bad as the rest of us about how we speak and act. I am passive aggressive, I would rather use these bullshit made up words instead of talking about things in a real way unless I’m worried about the outcome. I am selfish and confused, confusing and hardly amusing so I feel the need to take to a blog I’ve been running for four years now to receive the attention I feel I am owed by the public just because I spend hours every week writing novels I haven’t released or really even spoken about for a year and a half.
I am not above this, but that being said, the best way to destroy a tower is to topple its foundation.
Language exists because we as a society needed a way to communicate. Each language and all of the words within, slang or not, serve a real and powerful purpose. Romantics, Encouragement, Dissent and Growth are just a number of the hundreds of things we can achieve with language.
Language itself also inspires something much more powerful. It is the reason we are capable of connecting and being true to one another. So when we dumb things down, like romantics, for example, we turn dating into seeing each other, seeing each other becomes talking, talking becomes nothing. I’ve believed for a long time that the concept of “talking” to another person when used this way eliminates all the possibilities of being hurt. If they aren’t interested, if they screw you over, if they hurt you, it doesn’t matter because it wasn’t actually anything.
“We were just talking.”
Of course on the other hand, we give up all of the wonderful things that come from romantics. Putting your heart on the line for another person and having them accept it. It gives a rush like nothing else in this world. It opens up parts of our heart and mind that couldn’t have been opened otherwise. By reducing romantics down to “talking” “hooking up” etc. we eliminate the possibility for that hurt to happen, but at the same time we limit the ability for us to feel the things that should come with relationships. The same can be said with how we interact with one another. Using digital conversations like twitter messaging and texting instead of truly spending the time with others limits our ability to be hurt, but also limits our ability to be connected. All of these things evolve into a quick recipe for us to lead half baked relationships and still inevitably feel the burn of them falling apart without holding the truly great memories close to heart. Girls I’ve “talked” to have totally shit all over me, and I realized that the moments we had spent together were hollow and filled with nothing that mattered. They were jokes to both of us because neither of us would take them seriously. This even falls into platonic relationships and workplace friendships. We have become masters of wearing two faces. So kind and jubilant to the faces of our coworkers and friends when behind those faces we are scowling, filled with anger or frustrations at their actions.
We choose not to talk to them about it and instead, like I have done so many times, passive aggressively try to mediate the inevitable confrontation by making underhanded comments to others that I know will reach the person I want them to reach.
Our personalities can so quickly become hollow and built up to fulfill some kind of social media image that we don’t even notice we have lost ourselves. Instead of voicing true frustrations and engaging in conversation we shortcut all of that by blocking people who disagree with us, telling them they are worthless if their vote cast last November somehow makes them invalid as human beings. I see it on every side of the political spectrum. My conservative friends are just as insufferable as my liberal friends who engage in the playground game of tag.
“You’re the reason our country is going to shit. Unfollow me.”
On the other hand we scream powerful opinions and defame those who stand against us. There are plenty of things I don’t support or approve of, but bringing those to light against the wrong crowds will not get me engaged into a debate or a conversation, it will get me blocked and unfriended like the number next to my twitter handle means something significant to my personal life. My author profile is another thing, and carving those groups out so that I have found an appropriate audience can be frustrating, but most of us don’t run author profiles. Most of us are just us, we don’t have alter egos that write books or make movies or music, we are just us on twitter, a bunch of wet white sheets snapping in the cold winter wind. Ghosts on a timeline.
There is so much more to get into, but I will leave it here with this…
I will consider the language I use. Each word was created for a purpose, some of them are incredibly hollow. I decided that instead of ghosting out on those people who need to hear what I have to say (or, what you have to say.) We should instead, haunt them.
Say something powerful. Be honest. Expose yourself to pain and happiness and don’t hide behind the weak walls of social media. The man or woman you are on the internet is not who you are in real life when you must carefully craft every line you tweet and every picture you post. Just, for a while, take the ghost costume off and look each other in the eyes. Get to know one another, over a beer? Maybe?
I bet you at the end of it, good or bad, you’ll understand what I’m talking about and you’ll stain your costume with spilled whiskey to set it on fire. Maybe we can burn with something other than selfishness and social image. Maybe we can value ourselves based on something other than Twitter favorites, Insta likes and number of sexual partners.
Maybe not, maybe I’ve exaggerated the whole situation.
After all, we are not really who we decide to be on social media.