Category Archives: The Internet

A Social Friend

Social media is a hobby of mine. It’s an annoying, rewarding, draining and informative hobby of mine. It is many things and it has many purposes. The one underlying selling point behind any social media networking platform is that it is meant to make it easier for you to stay in touch with people. So my question this week…is a social media friend a real friend?

Unfortunately the answer is not as easy as a straightforward yes or no, it’s a kinda depends answer. It also depends on what you’re using. Twitter for instance is usually a no. I have 1,000 or so followers on twitter at the moment and I doubt I will ever get to meet 10% of them. Instagram, that’s another one. I interact with people purely based on photos and little else. LinkedIn is for business. I never LOL or LMAO on LinkedIn (in fact I haha, not LOL). There are many more and they all produce the same answer. Yes, it’s nice that you follow me and I appreciate it, but let’s not swap addresses just yet.

Facebook, now that’s the one that’s getting all too real. For some people their whole lives are lived out on Facebook so it would be just logical that their friends on that are their real friends, right? Wrong. Facebook is strange. It really has integrated itself into every part of our lives.

It’s an odd one really. Facebook allows us to show our best sides to the world. It turns the introverts into the extroverts and the passive into the militant. All without doing a thing. It allows us to feel connected when in reality we’re isolated. It also allows us to become the ultra creeps that reality and society wouldn’t tolerate. If you end a relationship, be it a partner, friend or just somebody you can no longer stand you are expected to move on. However, Facebook makes that impossible. Which in my eyes makes Facebook unhealthy. If you break up with someone you don’t stay outside the house waiting for them to do something, yet you’ll stay on Facebook waiting for them to check in or upload a photo, thus negating any positive action you had taken to move on. Remember, the person you see on Facebook is not the real person.

In recent months I’ve had people who are on my Facebook friends list completely blank me and not attempt to say hello. It’s not a nastiness in them, I don’t think they dislike me, I just don’t think we’re friends, and that’s ok, we don’t have to be. As I type this a lady within ear shot has taken someone off her wedding invite list because they’re not a Facebook friend and they never added them as a friend. But really, is a social friend a real friend? No, I don’t think so.

People who maintain social media friendships are fair weather friends. They choose when to interact with you and when not to interact. They make a conscious decision that they only want to be there for the good stuff. A real friend is there for the good and the bad. The tears and the laughs. The ups and the downs. A social friend is there exclusively when they want to be. That to me is counter productive to the human condition.

Facebook is dragging online issues into the offline world. It’s making us into an awfully anti social bunch altogether. Perhaps it would help us all if we cared less about who was liking our updates and cared more about who wanted to meet for coffee. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if we paid more attention to the people in front of us and less to the people stalking us online!

What do you think? Is social networking the most anti social thing to have happened to us? Do you type LOL more than you laugh with people? Let me know in the comments!

 

Being Social has never been so Anti-Social

Social media. I love it. I use a lot of it. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Foursquare and even Google Plus (for some reason). It’s a bit of a contradiction though, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not actually very social at all.

It’s worrying to see people out on nights out, having dinner, going for a walk, trying to relax and being slaves to their mobile phones. When did it suddenly become acceptable to ignore the real life people in front of you in order to engage with those who you may never actually encounter? I’ve witnessed this first hand, people who will actively like and follow your life online but who will blank you in real life. Is it that those people don’t like you? Possibly, but not necessarily. It may just be endemic of a bigger problem. A failure to stop and talk to people or to engage on a real level is making people anti social, while allowing them to perceive that they are in fact popular and fully involved.

I love social media for studying consumer and personal behaviours and development. It allows me to see what sort of profile people are trying to put out there. Are they the ultra social people checking in at every opportunity and throwing up the excited #selfies? No, but they would like you to think that. You have got to wonder that if someone was that much in the moment or if they were really enjoying themselves then would they have the time to whip out the overpriced smarty phone and tell the world about it? No, again, I’d imagine not.

Look, I’m guilty of it too, trying to show my best face in public. Sometimes you feel low and sometimes you want to reach out and sometimes the best way to do that is online. I’ll always believe that we need the tactile sensations that come with a hug, a kiss, a handshake, a laugh and not a LOL or ROFL in order to grow as people and to help us heal when we need to. You can get as many nice comments and likes as you want, but in my experience, they will never replace spending time with a close friend or a loved one.

So is it too late? Not yet, but it could be soon. It’s a well known fact that social media addiction is growing. So when you get that urge to reach out to a friend, don’t just poke them on Facebook or reach out for their handle on Twitter. Get your ass off the couch and go actually say hello. Ya never know, it could make the difference to someone someday. #LittleThings.

Top 5 most annoying Facebook Characters

We can all think of someone when it comes down to annoying Facebook Characters. Hell, I can hardly say I’m innocent of not being annoying on social media every now and then! #Obvious

What I’m gonna do here is have a look at the Top 5 most annoying Facebook Characters. Starting with Number 5:

Number 5: The Health Status Updater. Yep, got it, you’ve got diarrhea and a runny nose. Don’t care. Get some 7UP, stick it in the microwave and away ya go. If you’re that sick then surely you don’t have time to be updating Facebook? Oh wait, you even have time to upload a picture. Best to stay off the internet. Forever. Please.

Number 4: The Character Assassin. Ya know this one. The one who complains about that certain someone who they thought they could trust but really couldn’t so now they must tell the world, but not reveal that certain someone. But don’t worry, apparently karma is a bitch. This is normally followed by a stream of comments consisting of; “You ok hun? Xoxo”, “Who is it hun? X”, “Pm sent x”. This is passive aggression in it’s silliest form. The really funny thing is that the person about whom you are talking knows you probably mean them and will comment on or like your status. It’s a vicious circle really.

Number 3: The couple. OK, so this one is one of the most annoying. Ya get a couple and they live on Facebook. They tell the world everything about their relationship and how fantastic it is. You just know that this couple are probably too busy showing the world how much they love each other and not enough time actually showing it to each other. After all, if they were that enamored with each other would they have enough time to spread the word about it? Besides, half the time these couples end up going from; “In a relationship” –> “It’s complicated” –> “Single” followed by “You ok hun? Xoxo”, “Who is it hun? X”, “Pm sent x”.

Number 2: The armchair revolutionary. Overthrow the government you say? Start a revolution? Change the norm? Take back the power? Off ya go so, lead the way. Oh, after the next cup of tea? Back into your chair you go. I know we Irish know how to complain and do we ever complain, and then not do anything. Here’s a hint, if you see a foolproof way to fight the power by updating a very long status update, look up the legality of it. Chances are if you’ve seen it on Facebook it’s probably a lie.

Number 1: The Game Invite Person. Nope, I don’t want to play your Facebook game with you. Please stop inviting me. Oh look, another game. Nope, don’t wanna play that one either. I think we can all agree that this is one of the most annoying trends on Facebook. Ya wait all day for a notification and then BOOM, ya get one, it’s an invite. Nope, block. I’m only on Facebook to stalk people, complain and put up pictures of my cat, like normal people, jeez.

Now, there’s my top 5 most annoying characters on Facebook. What are yours?

 

Why I’ll Never put a picture of my kid on Social Media

So I’m going to be a new father, and yes, that’s very exciting. This is news which has made me excited, nervous, happy and afraid. A whole mix of emotions and sometimes all at once. I’m very much into taking photos and I believe my child will be one of the most photographed children ever and that I will take photos of all their little and big moments. He/she nearly rolls over? Yep, gonna be all over that! He/she does their first wheelie on a bike? Yeah, I’ll be there! I’ll pretend to be somewhat annoyed, but I know I’ll be proud of them! However, I will not be sharing any of my photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine or any other social network you may think of or that crops up in the mean time. I know, seems a bit paranoid. Have a look at these for a moment:

Yeah, they’re funny. But think about the fact that most of those photos probably had their origin in their parents just taking a cute, innocent and perfectly timed photo of their beloved bundle of joy. The resulting photo was probably shared online and was then copied by someone who decided to add a humorous twist to it. It’s not so funny when it becomes a little more real. None of the kids in the photos decided to become a symbol for a cheap and lazy joke, but there they are, up there for all the world to laugh at.

The internet is a funny auld thing. It’s a great place to learn, grow your horizons and connect with people. It’s also pretty scary. Once you put something up there, it’s never coming down. That’s a fact! Yeah, you can delete it from your own account, but the image you uploaded stays uploaded and that’s that. So, you’re in effect releasing your child’s image for all to see. No matter how safe you think your account may be, it’s not. It never will be. You’re also forfeiting the ownership around your photo. I upload a lot of photos, but that’s OK, I’m not making money from them at the moment. But do you honestly think that any of the parents of the kids in the photos above chose for their child to become the poster kid for a crappy joke? No, probably not. Do you think that child will appreciate the photo in years to come? No, I would imagine not. Do you think it will be easy to have it deleted from the internet? No, it doesn’t really work that way.

When my kid grows up and becomes an adult they can do what they like, whether I like it or not, but I will not be ruining their image before they’ve had a chance to do it themselves! They make a mistake and someone snaps a photo of it? Yeah, it happens, and they’ll learn from it. They could definitely do without me exposing them to that world before they have a chance to defend themselves!

There’s another far scarier reason I won’t be putting pictures of my kid online. If you were in a playground with your child and a dubious character comes up to you and asks if they can use your child to help trick a group into thinking they have kids so they’ll trust them and let them in, would you? No, not a bloody chance! When something goes online it’s there for everyone who can access the internet to see and keep. Trust me, your privacy settings on anything are not as secure as you think. You put it online, you’re giving it to the world and there are a lot of sick people in the world. It’s creepy, yes that’s a given, but you will never know when your child’s image is being used without your knowledge and you will never know for what purpose.

Yes, I may be being too paranoid, but there are a lot of freaks online and offline. I will do my best to protect my child in the real world, but you are very limited in protecting anything online.

So yeah, I’ll be paranoid, I’ll be weird, I’ll be obsessive about it, but I’ll protect my child.