Social Media Contrarianism or All the Cool Kids are Doing It

"Who Am I Stalking?" Saturday...

Post the Color of Your Bra in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness, or Technicolor Boobs, or the American Foundation Garment Foundation of America...

Virtual gift swaps, and Which Teletubby Would You Be If You Were Creepy and Mono-syllabic quizzes... And Post the Fruit You Most Resemble Weeks and... I don't know... Photograph Your Favorite Fish Day...

It seems the more the social media wants me to do something, the less I want to participate.

I clearly have Social Media Contrarianism.

And I feel guilty about it... I really do... because my online friends are a great bunch of people. Folks I love reading, exchanging ideas with, and getting glimpses into their lives.

But I don't also need to glimpse into their underpants. Especially en masse. There are some things best left to the imagination.

Plus, it's the marketer in the back of my mind (well, maybe not the back, more of the frontal lobe region) that keeps whispering how all of these Facebook apps are not-so-subtlely based on some never-ending cycle of reciprocity that isn't about us at all.

I give you a Farmville cow, you give me crap... er, fertilizer... fertilizer for my fields.

You demonstrate your loyalty to my mafia family by a well-executed hit, I "Make" your little brother Vinnie.

I buy you virtual mockingbird, you buy me a virtual diamond ring.

Until suddenly, we're drowning in this giant time-suck whirlpool. Virtual cows swim by. And virtual Auntie Ems. And when we look around us, the only one who ends up with anything tangible to show for it is Facebook, who just waved six extra hours of ads for whiter teeth in front of our eyeballs.

So my Facebook Event Invitations pile up like the snow on my car.

And Twitter FollowFridays are left unstalked.

Open Houses in the Farmville real estate market will not find me attending, inspecting potential property investments or enjoying the virtual hors d'oevres.

Perhaps I'm missing out. Perhaps I'm a bad virtual friend. But I'd like to think these same folks know they could count on me if they needed something for real. Something that mattered.

Something that didn't mean active involvement in pixelated livestock hoarding.

Just sayin'.


Shieldmaiden96 said...

I hate the games, I must say. They just seem to get sillier, to the point where I don't know why people aren't embarassed to send some of the 'gifts'. I'm waiting for 'So and So has just sent you a cancer-awareness Pink Vibrator!' Send one back!


I'm cranky today.

Melanie said...

It's all too much. I had a pink ribbon request something or other this morning. What earthly good is my accepting or ignoring or pasting a pink ribbon anywhere on facebook going to do? None.

Anonymous said...

I, too, eschew Facebook foo.

[That was too much fun to say]

Granted, I am sometimes curious about what other people are doing, or how many different sorts of egg-based creatures there might be. But not enough to let FB apps have access to my computer.

Maybe I would have been more open to the games if the first ones I encountered weren't such emotional blackmail: "Are you a good friend?" "Charlene needs to know she's a good friend"... ?!

Jaffer said...

(Waving to Jenn from Twitter =D )

Anonymous said...

I don't mind that you don't play the games. They are mindless fun for me to relax with after dealing with 3 wild kids all day. I know they are simple and silly but there is some social interaction with them. I try not to play too many or post stuff up from them unless others can get good stuff from the posts. I honestly don't notice the adds while playing the games. I notice the adds more when I'm looking at my home page on facebook.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Hey lady, I don't have time to fruit trees are withering and I've got to go water them! To-doo-loo!

(Honestly, I hate that crap too and have blocked them from my facebook...don't ask me to plant a tree for you. I won't. It will die.)

Unknown said...

Shieldmaiden- My issue with those requests are, a lot of the personalized messages are automated by the Facebook apps themselves. So it's not really even our friends making the direct request. It's Facebook demanding we participate. I'm not really keen on that.

Melanie- I know. In the great scheme of things, there are only so many symbolic actions like that that have any effect as a cause.

Rhet- You totally hit on that "emotional blackmail" element. My poor friend Shirley had a quiz ask her would she try to save me if I threatened suicide, fer pete's sake! That was horrifying.

Jaffer- Pip-pip! :)

Susie- I pretty much figured most of my Facebook friends know me well enough to not be offended I'm not playing along, to to take it personally. If folks find joy in it, hey, that's wonderful. It is funny, though, how much pressure the apps themselves try to put on FB users to be a part of it.

Lisa- Don't worry. You saw what happened to my cow. I will be cultivating nothing in the FB garden. :)

ReformingGeek said...

That was funny, Jenn!

I don't play the games or send virtual gifts either. I don't want to make time for the games and the virtual gifts can overwhelm my friends' feeds. I "hide" all the applications and games that I can in order to keep my feed clean.

I don't mind if people want to play the games but if they can avoid posting about it, I think we'd all be better off.

I find it funny that someone who sent me a virtual gift followed up with me to see if I liked it. Um.....

Princess Stupidhead said...

You know, it's like I always say, Facebook would be great if not for the people on it. If FB was so fun, you wouldn't need those stupid activities to keep you from falling asleep at the keyboard. You wouldn't need prompting so that you had something to post in your status update. Let's face it, FB is for most people the first attempt at online social networking and most of them just don't get it.

I just had my first FB sleepover (a long lost friend who hint-hinted himself over for the night while passing through town. Let's just say it was 8 pm for like 12 hours.

Unknown said...

Reforming Geek - It is nice there's a Hide feature for a lot of those apps. It just seems there are so many new apps all the time that there's always something else to hide.

Janine- Hopefully you didn't end up spending the entire evening hearing about how he rawks Farmville or Mafia Wars. :) If so, you deserve some sort of Purple Heart.

Gloria Kelley said...

Love this one! Couldn't have said it better myself. My friends and family spend hours on end on Farmville and Mafia so I can relate. I can't get into those, I have a life LOL. But you hit it right on when you said you didn't need to get into underpants. I didn't need to know the color of everyone's bra. Good one.

Unknown said...

Gloria- I appreciate the fun of gaming-- I just don't feel swapping corn stalks, tulips and sheep icons can fulfill that need for me personally. :)

Homemaker Man said...

That pretty much sums up my feelings on the phenomenon. It was playing farmville that eventually led me to give up facebook all together. I realized the immense amount of time I was wasting and figured i could do the same thing watching Office re-runs.

Found you through Knucklehead. This is a mad cool blog.

screwdestiny said...

I hate all that social media crap. I have a MySpace that I spend maybe 10 minutes a week looking at. Don't have a Facebook or a Twitter. They're all just dumb. I understand their use for connecting with friends that don't live near you. Or maybe even for friends you've made online. But how is playing Farmville or whatever stupid apps they have nowadays really connecting with your friends? Like you said, all it is is a time-suck, and a lame one at that. I'd rather spend hours reading blogs or catching up on Desperate Housewives.

Jenn Thorson said...

Homemaker Man- Knucklehead is a super fellow. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your past Farmville addiction! :)

Screwdestiny- I've used Twitter successfully in getting quick information to and from friends in terms of real life traffic issues, someone who ended up in the hospital, and just general chit-chat. I think there's a benefit to these sorts of things. But, I guess, like anything else, if it takes up half your life, you kinda have to question it.

Skye said...

All I can say to that Jenn, is AMEN!!!

jay said...

I hate the games too. I hate all the notifications. I hate that FB tries to suck you into all this. But I play FishWorld.

Why do I play Fish World? Because a very dear friend wanted me to. I thought, I'll just play for a little while so I can honestly say I tried it and I didn't like it ... but I got sucked in. *Bangs head against virtual fish tank*

But I will not give them my email, or sign up to anything or (good grief!) pay them actual money from my actual PayPal account to advance myself a tad in the game. What do they take me for! Sheesh!

Moooooog35 said...

Someone sent me a chicken coop on Facebook the other day and I don't even have chickens.

Or a farm.

Or play that game.


Unknown said...

Skye- I had no idea the sentiments would have so many supporters.

Jay- Seriously, they ask for your Paypal account??? Wow, that's ridiculous!

Mooog- Ha, that actually made me laugh out loud. I give you credit for looking at the, um, chicken coop half full. Or somethin'.