- On Good Things Utah this morning – We all have that friend on social media: The one who can’t go a day without checking in at the gym. The one that can’t pass up sharing the umpteenth #tbt photo of their wedding. The one whose Instagram stories are 43 slides long. The one who virtue signals every chance they get. The one whose whole feed is selfies. In the social media age, every one of us is a content machine. It’s not just influencers who do it; we’re all our own personal brand, strategically revealing bite-sized parts of our lives and personality that, in the aggregate, look really, really impressive (or at least seem so.
- Unfortunately, sometimes our friends’ online selves aren’t nearly as lovable as they are in person. What do you do when you adore your friend IRL, but find them a little bit obnoxious online? Lest you think I’m sub-writing (or whatever the journalistic equivalent of subtweeting is), I wouldn’t be sharing this if I didn’t fear I was becoming that friend: Am I over-posting my articles on my Instagram story, when maybe I should just keep the work-related stuff to Twitter? Posting too many food pics? I was even one of those Grainy Concert Video People last week, sharing a few zoomed-in clips of Elvis Costello performing deep cuts at the Greek Theatre on Instagram. (“Very niche flex but OK,” an internet friend replied, which, yes, ouch, accurate.)
- Sam Higgins, a comedian in Brooklyn, has been on both sides of this admittedly first world, Seinfeldian problem, too: “I post and then my inner monologue goes, ‘What if no one actually cares?'” he said. When he’s on the other side of it, he takes full advantage of the “mute” buttons on Twitter and Instagram. “I mute but I like to think of it in the same light as avoiding bringing up irreparable climate change at a wholesome family event ― good for everyone involved,” he joked. (How many friendships do you think the mute button has saved?) Ryan, a 27-year-old who works in communication in Chicago, avoids Facebook altogether because of the things his family and friends post. He considers the site the “epicenter” for his “least favorite kind of content.” “It’s hard to put into words, but Facebook is like a steady stream of the least self-aware content on the internet,” he said. “Emotionally manipulative, long political screeds, incessant FOMO pictures. The worst part is, considering I know most of my network IRL, I can’t unfriend them.” If we’re all semi-aware of how annoying we can be online, why are we still posting what we do? We’re social animals. Sharing on social media doesn’t just allow us to package ourselves in a way that shows off our best, most “likable” angles, it bonds us, too. We like the performative nature of social media ― that with each carefully composed food pic or vacation photo, we have a say in how people perceive us ― and we like watching others document their lives and self-create, too. We hope you tune in as we dive right into this Hot Topic and so much more this morning on GTU!
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