I'm getting social media fatigue. While it all keeps getting bigger and more pervasive and the terms of service keep getting revised in sinister ways, I can never figure out how any of it is supposed to enhance my day-to-day existence.Pinterest, for example. What the hell is a person supposed to do with Pinterest? Like everyone else, I had to have it. Basically, you cruise the web looking for crap you like, then you pin that to your page. Depending on how many people you follow, the page ends up as a bewildering hodgepodge of crap that other people like, mixed in with one’s own ill-advised choices. On my page, for example, I’ve pinned a pair of L.L. Bean sunglasses and a couple of cameras and a book and a picture of a vintage RV. How this is useful in any way, I have no idea. I suspect it has something to do with narcissism — and perhaps an evolving algorithm for targeting ads with laser-like precision. Somewhere out there, somebody’s getting ready to sell me accessories for a vintage RV I do not yet own.
Don’t get me started on Facebook. I’ve gone through several stages, most involving (a) enthusiasm for showing the world what a fun person I am, and (b) petulance when nobody seems to care. Now I’m at (c) annoyance. At this time, I’d like to urge all my Facebook acquaintances to please turn off the “social reader” sharing. Not that I’m uninterested in Lindsay Lohan’s shocking hair-removal secrets — far from it — but it’s maddening when I click on the link and end up on a page that orders me to enable sharing too. Ugh, no thanks. In the hierarchy of things to share, the fact that I’m reading celebrity gossip is right down there at the bottom.
Oh, and as long as we’re fiddling around with our sharing settings, can we all turn off the one that broadcasts every freaking two-letter word we play in Words With Friends? Really, if we can’t do better than “UT,” shouldn’t that tidbit remain confidential? Facebook’s data-mining mavens will understand.
I complain, but I never quit. Every time I tire of Facebook, I flirt with other sites. I’ve tried Tumblr and Posterous, two micro-blogging sites that have revealed themselves to be completely unsuitable for a guy like myself — that is to say, a haunted, bitter man who can barely generate enough content to keep this site breathing, never mind a bunch more. Ditto with Path. Ditto with Google+. All those services seemed designed for slim hipsters who are always upgrading their iPads or downing shots of Jägermeister in the company of beautiful women.
The stuff I throw out there, tepid blog posts and links to articles I’ve only partially read, seem to generate about the same buzz as flushing the toilet late at night. So for me, none of them are different enough from Facebook to warrant a permanent change.
I use Instagram, too. I like it well enough, but I’d like it a lot more if Facebook hadn’t just bought it for $1 billion. And I have a feeling my nine followers have already grown weary of my artfully filtered shots of the dog and food on the grill and day-to-day weather conditions. I know I have.
I guess the problem is that to really leverage social media, you have to be, well, sociable. You have to believe, at some level, that you’re the most interesting person in the world. Never mind all the evidence to the contrary.