When I was in grad school, I worked with a guy who was studying for his doctorate. One day, he came into the office and had a sort of exasperated look on his face. I asked him what was up.
“Well, my fianceé was cleaning the house all weekend, and she asked me if I could help. I told her I was super busy, which I was because I had a lot of reading to do. She understood, but I mean, I was lying on the couch reading all day while she was sweeping and dusting. What I was doing didn’t really seem like work.”
I was thinking about that little exchange today because there are things in Social Media that remind me of just that kind of scenario. If you take a step back (I know, it’s scary, but there’s not a cliff back there) and really think about some of the things we do and say in this crazy online world, it can seem pretty darned funny. I submit to you the following examples.
1. Have you ever noticed how often people talk about how tired they are? Does it ever occur to you as you read those tweets or status updates that if that person took a nap rather than tweet about their tiredness, they might be less tired?
2. The participants in Social Media seem to have a vested interest in keeping Starbucks afloat. The number of foursquare check-ins I see (with reports of what beverage is being ordered) almost gets kind of cult-like.
3. Speaking of Foursquare, do you notice sometimes that people check in to the weirdest places? Why do I need to know you’re at your dentist’s office? And you’re the mayor? So, who is that smiling face in your avatar?
4. People can’t talk enough about content, but our writing seems to be getting worse and worse. If I see one more person say “your” instead of “you’re,” I might..oh, well, there it is.
5. People lament that other people get lots of attention in ways that will get them lots of attention. Kind of Escher-like, that one.
6. Speaking of beard-scratching thoughtfulness, have you ever noticed that sometimes people say things trying to be really like, beatnik philosophical, but it just comes out as pure unshredded cheese? Like, “If you are leading people, you’re probably in front of them.” Ayup.
7. And speaking of anatomical body parts that 50% of us may not have, there is rather regular talk of people needing to grow some…well, you know. There has to be a female counterpart for cajones. If not, we need to create one, cuz I don’t know about my sister Social Media users, but if I grow me some of THOSE, I’m going to be worried. Really worried.
8. Burn-out is a rather common topic in the online spaces, and it’s true, your brain can shrivel up into a little raisin (or a craisin if that’s more your liking) when you tweet or blog a lot. However, imagine telling, I don’t know, a police officer, a construction worker, a firefighter, a postman, or really anyone else on the planet, “Oh man, I’m so tired. I’ve been sitting here typing for hours.” I don’t think you’d get a sympathy vote.
9. We love Social Media. I mean, we really love it. When Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday evening, Twitter was dominated by two things. Clever tweets about how bin Laden got caught and tweets about how Twitter broke the news. Like, holy perspective shift, Batman!
10. We hate Social Media. Of course, the only blog posts or tweets that go more viral than the “yay, we rock!” ones are those that “call BS” or otherwise comment on how crappy the online world is. Do you ever wonder if the people writing those posts considered maybe just taking a break from the online world if they hate it so much? I wonder these things sometimes.
11. Speaking of calling BS, what is it with Social Media folk cursing worse than sailors? I mean, seriously. My grandpa was a sailor and sometimes language I see in tweets or blogs makes ME uncomfortable.
12. Social Media consigns everything else to death. Remember the second Ghost Busters movie? I know, I barely do either. But throughout the movie that little green slime monster goes around and eats everything. I kind of view Social Media that way. It can’t stand, as an entity, the fact that anything else exists. Therefore: print is dead, the web is dead, marketing is dead, B2B is dead, agencies are dead, and Elvis is…still alive somewhere, and tweeting, apparently.
13. The retweeting thing is fun to watch, especially on “follow Friday.” Have you ever watched the phenomenon where a person is mentioned, they retweet their mention, someone else who was also mentioned retweets the mention, and then the first person retweets THAT because it mentions them again? It’s always people with strange Twitter handles, too. Like, #ff KittyWaWa17.
14. Have you ever seen a case where depression over success is more prevalent? “Oh, man, I just have like, way too many people around who think I’m a god. What a bummer.” I mean, seriously. A) You probably worked towards that and B) well, there is no B. Just gimme a break, will ya?
15. I really enjoy spam bots, I must confess, because they are so obviously spammy it’s funny. I think I got followed once by a bot called Angst Forever or something like that. The Big Lebowski bot is also good for some laughs.
16. There are more false retirements than Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan had put together. How many times can a single person quit a chat, quit a group of people, or quit Social Media altogether? There should be a limit, surely.
17. People forget that you might be following them on multiple platforms, so sometimes you’ll see a person on Twitter espousing good manners and a serene outlook on life whilst they’re dropping f-bombs and making The Cure sound like a happy waltz on Facebook. I’m kind of envious of that ability, I admit.
18. People say women are the best at being passive-aggressive, but in the online world, men and women have certainly achieved equality when it comes to cattiness. “You moron stupid dumbo except you aren’t that smart or cute person! Wait, what’s your problem? I was trying to help!” I guess this goes back to the cajones thing, eh?
19. Does the “I got mentioned!” thing ever kind of creep you out? I mean, I turn into mush when a big name mentions me, too, but do you ever feel kind of weird about that? It’s like, did I just get blessed by the Pope? Oh, no, I was mentioned on a blog. Hmm.
20. My #20 favorite hilarious thing about Social Media, at least for today, is actually about mentions. Have you seen the person absolutely seething because they aren’t as famous as xyz, or they haven’t gotten enough attention from xyz? Then they write a blog post that links back to 7 different posts that influencer wrote so that they can get attention from said influencer. It’s like people turn into Gollum when they blog. “We hates them! No no, they’re our friend!”
So there you have it. What are some of your favorite hilarious things about Social Media? I’d love to hear about them!
1st Image by Paul Mata. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/drakemata
2nd Image by Dan Whetton. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Frenzy