Is it just me, or does anybody else feel like all of this social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc – is one big popularity contest after another? How many friends do you have, how many followers, how many people have liked that post, that picture, that meme, etc. Which is all well and good and people can choose to partake as much or as little as they please . . . except there really isn’t a choice. Social media has weaseled its way into the way that business is done, especially the arts. I know people that have lost out on jobs because their Twitter following wasn’t big enough – apparently if you have less than 5000 followers you’re not even worth considering. I’ve been told by a writing coach that talent has taken a far second seat to platform. Most publishers and agents won’t even look at you unless you already have a steady following and a built in audience. It doesn’t matter how good the writing is.
When did this happen? When did we all get shoved back into that endless popularity contest that was high school? I didn’t like high school. When I got out I ran as far and as fast as I could and never looked back. Yet here I find myself right back where I started. Life is now composed of recording every moment as if it is golden so that you can one up everyone else. You have 47 likes on your new page, well I have 562 and it’s only been up for 2 days. You went out for Mexican food and margaritas, well I went out for lobster and pinot grigio in Maine. Your kid painted a picture, well my three kids made the paper first and then painted pictures on them using minerals they crushed themselves.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m exhausted! I’m tired of feeling the need to compete with everyone around me at all times. I’m tired of relying on the capricious whim of a following to provide validation by “liking” my witty quips or adventurous exploits. I’m tired of trying to network 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You know what, sometimes I want to go home to a glass (or three) of wine, a tub of sorbet and marathon watch serial killers on “Criminal Minds” until I’m so freaked out that I seriously consider taking a baseball bat with me when I take the dogs out before going to bed. Because let’s be honest, puggles are not guard dogs! It’s not glamorous, it’s not note-worthy but sometimes it makes the perfect evening, and I don’t feel the need to tell everybody that I know – and a good handful of people that I don’t know – all about it. I definitely don’t feel the need to play a game of one-up and compare what everyone else did.
Why does it matter what everyone else is doing and where they are in their life compared to me? I think there should be a whole new site. One where you go on and post what you’re doing and working on and where you are in your life, and nobody else gets to see. Then three months from now when you throw up a post about how you finally made it to the gym, virtual confetti goes flying across the screen with bells and whistles as an old post comes up where you said that working out more was a new goal. Guess what, you just took a step toward your goal and that should be celebrated. It doesn’t matter that Joe Blow has rocked the gym every day this week, it doesn’t matter that Jane Doe has lost 10 pounds so far this month. What matters is that you improved yourself. You did better than what you have done in the past, and isn’t that what we really should be focusing on? Now that’s something that I can get behind. I say we call it MeBook.