Wherein Grumpy deconstructs, smacks down, & puts “social media” in its rightful place.
Grumpy here, ready to make complete sense of that whole social media craze all the kids are talking ‘bout these days. Don’t worry, it’ll be painless. For you. Maybe.
Foaming at the mouth to say something? Heard something that you just can’t wait to share with hundreds of your closest friends? Feel an overwhelming urge to tell people the minute details of your life? Twitter’s your man… er, site.
Thing is, nothing said on Twitter stays important longer than a few minutes. This is the place you go to spew the unimportant stuff. It all disappears faster than you can think of something else to say, and everybody’s forgotten it by the time they compulsively reload the page for the next batch, because everybody’s following way too many people to actually pay attention to what one of us says.
Twitter’s the Zen of social media, great for the info-junkie’s quick fix. What’d Bob eat for lunch? Who’s hanging out with the cool kids today? Everything’s in the moment, man. But the moment passes. Embrace the ephemeral nature of the Twitterverse and let your words pass into obscurity.
Remember when people asked you how your day was? That’s Facebook. Stuff sticks around a bit longer. Sure, they’re trying to be Twitter now, too, but honestly, if someone checks out your profile on Facebook, they actually want to know what’s happening with you.
Like employers. Oh, and mom and dad. Maybe it’s a good idea not to hook your phone up to Facebook if you’re going to get smashed on a regular basis. Facebook & cell phones equals drunken status updates. Maybe you wish there were sexy Puerto Ricans at the mansion where your friends are being mean but Jager isn’t, but hey – do you want us all to know that?
Don’t be an info-junkie. Come on in, see how your friends are doing, play a little Farmville, take a quiz, and get outside. And then take some pictures of your “real” life and post ’em up there to prove it!
Who the hell uses MySpace any more? At least they turned off the music autoplay on profiles. But still, nobody can actually read a damn thing on your MySpace profile because of all that garish decoration — if it even deserves such praise — you added.
Grumpy likes Flickr. ‘Nuff said. Especially if you take cool photographs. Like Grumpy. Except his Nikon’s in the shop right now.
Brightkite, Foursquare, GoWalla, etc, etc.
Once upon a time, only Big Brother and Ma Bell knew where you were at all times. Yeah, see, your phone knows where it is in the cell network, but CellNet became sentient in 2001 and knows where your phone is. In your pocket, wherever you are.
But we weren’t satisfied knowing the G-Man and the telephone monopoly knew our whereabouts, we decided to tell everyone else we knew, in the hopes that they might decide ‘Hey, I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll go eat sammiches with my buddy, don’t want him to lunch all alone!’
Unfortunately, you left the place 6 hours ago, sullen, because nobody came to join. At least you filled your belly! The geosocial services figured it wasn’t really that important to share the fact that you’re NOT someplace any more. Like the Hotel California, checking in is easy, but you can never, ever check out.
But hey, at least you’ll make yourself a little easier to stalk!
Because your own massive (and illegally begotten) music library doesn’t have enough music to keep you sated for more than 33 days of 24/7 listening pleasure.
Grumpy’s fortunate to have friends who listen to pretty unique stuff, so he actually finds something new once in a while. But if your friends all listen to the same schlock, what’s the point?
Want to hear something new? Listen to college radio! See what’s playing in the teensy little venues in your town. Hell, go into a Starbucks and take a peek at the CDs they’re schlepping and grab a few free iTunes cards.
There’s a reason the rest are ‘The Rest’ – they’re either too busy focusing on one thing (changing the world, anyone?) to get huge, or they’re just wallowing in obscurity because your friends won’t join yet another social site.
But hey, these are the independent coffeeshops of the social media. You might find something cool once in a while. Just beware: vanilla lattes vary widely from barista to barista in these places.
Grumpy’s Final Word
Grumpy’s not going to say anything about old time rock ‘n roll here, because he’s not one of those curmudgeons who wants to go back to a simpler time. He just knows that social media’s all about right now, right here. So don’t be all smug and self-important, Mr. Social Media. You’re today’s darling, but who knows if it’ll last!
Grumpy knows this: it’s all about communicating with the people who are important to us. That’s what it all boils down to (like maple syrup, which Grumpy’s now craving, thankyouverymuch).
So don’t lose sight of that, whether you’re on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, GoWalla or Grumpy’s favorite niche social network (because he built a shit-ton of it — Gaia.com); keep in touch with the ones you love, and you’ll go far.
Grumpy’s done for the night. Peace, kids.