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What David thinks about the state of social media

It’s all fucked. David has thoughts.

Image: Social media power-ups (credit: C.Silver)

David, a millennial social media branding communication brand thirst expert, has some thoughts about where we are with social media. Where do we stand, when most of us are sitting? What is national selfie day if not a clear representation of the introverted narcissism masquerading as extrovertism behind a VPN of lies? Social media, this behemoth of clambering albatrosses of human psyches, a stew of perverted and twisted glimpses of lives that are no longer lived, but observed and curated — David has thoughts.

David nervously gnaws the crispy, barbecued end of a chicken drumstick that has long since seen its meat removed. His eyes dart around the room, bouncing off every reflective surface, his phone tight in his other hand. He tosses the drumstick in the trash and checks his social feeds. Notifications light up the top bar of his phone like children raising their hand in a classroom after being asked if they want to watch a movie instead of drudging through another hour of math. David prepares his face for another selfie. I ask him about Instagram’s move into long-form video with its IGTV app.

Instagram is where you show off your life highlights to people who already know your life isn’t really like that.

Social media has made us angry, nervous, curious and addicted. It has truly fucked with our calm, if there was any calm to begin with. Fake ads on Facebook mixed with our inability to discern the real news from the fake has bred an unstable ecosystem of toxic vitriol and festering mental wounds. David, unsettled after unfriending someone after seeing a birthday notification for this stranger, this interloper in David’s finely curated social media brand, attempts to track down the best pizza restaurant in town using local Facebook groups. He laughs nervously, but confident that these strangers, not without birthdays themselves, know pizza.

Facebook is where you wish happy birthday to people you haven’t spoken to in years.

If you haven’t liked a baby picture while drowning in self-loathing and disgust then you haven’t been awake. If you haven’t shared a meme that was created by Russian agents of chaos then you haven’t truly felt the shame of social media ignorance. There is no user manual for social media and Facebook itself was created as an antithesis to the activity of being social itself. David continues scrolling, pointing out the hypocrisy of the Facebook and Twitter timelines, presenting information in a non-chronological order. How can we be social if we’ve missed the moment?

This just highlights the speed at which social media moves and our disgusting need to be on all the time. What does it matter what you’ve missed if the thing you’ve missed the most is your own life? David laughs, pointing at his phone. This is Twitter he tells me, this is us, shouting into the void in the hope that someone, anyone, will validate your existence. If you are lucky, they will remember your existence as well. But Twitter, with whatever good intentions long washed away, has become a cesspool of every argument we’ve ever had at the water cooler. It is a hellish landscape of IMHO hot takes, harassment and trolls. There is no understanding so everything is a misunderstanding and if we aren’t trying to fuck up someone’s day, our own is being fucked.

Twitter is where you spend all day arguing with people you don’t know.

Part of our day, just a tiny sliver, is poised to be surely disrupted by some happiness right? David, always one to embrace the shiny bits of life while making sweet gainz at the gym points out that at least on Linkedin, the darkness seems to be buried deep behind a wall of marketers with resumes and recruiters with emotionally suspect motives. David shows me his Linkedin messages, a strange box of throwback communication filled with communiqués to pay for advanced levels of communication. This is the future though, David insists. Not Facebook, not Twitter, but Linkedin. Why? Why would this network be the future of social media? David shows me a spoon, pulled directly from the dishwasher, steam rising off its surface as the wet heat melts off it. He assumes I get the metaphor and we move on.

Linkedin is where you attempt send professional messages to important strangers but you are constantly sabotaged by gifs.

Social media is about telling stories, it is about giving others a shadow glance into the mundane trivia of our shitty little lives. It’s a value-added service to justify our continued existence but comes with a haughty price. Our souls ache for a world in which they can embrace a singular existence where our stories are told by our experiences, not experienced through our highly curated interpretation of reality. David points to brands as where the line has become an obscure crayon drawing on the side of the building with rotted brick and moss that adds aesthetic but causes a rash when you touch it.

David shows me stories across all platforms. These stories are the culmination of years of humans showing a clear inability to properly represent themselves with written language. Short-form video seemed to be the only solution to our narcissism. He says that Snapchat, while the original platform for stories, never could hold on to the mantle and was never meant to. There was money to be made. Are Snapchat stores for us or brands is the question that David doesn’t wait for an answer to. Brands he says, are sucking our creativity from us. We can’t compete with marketing budgets and we’ve quickly become slaves to the whims of a few powerful, iconic brands, with an equal level of apathy to go along with it.

Snapchat is where you post selfies too risqué for Instagram and message that one friend who won’t accept that Snapchat is dead and switch to Instagram already goddammit.

Tiny circles of perceived reality. Half-assed jumbles of mildly rational but wholly irrational thought. Memes and family pictures, too much data but never enough. Cynical hatred of the lives of others alongside gleefully misrepresented representations of our own. In the end, David just sighs and hands me a Choco Taco. Social media, it’s an abusive relationship with our own fragile egos, he tells me while taking a massive bite of the chocolate covered sugar-cone in his hand, bits of fudgy swirls dripping to his chin. Social media, whatever the next evolution, is both the chosen destroyer and the bag of marshmallows. We’ll never know whether to burn it all down or consume it by the handful.

For people who are not named David, what are your thoughts on social media? Let us know down below. 

For more ramblings from Curtis, check out: 

Writing about consumer technology, social media and the deep layers of psychological torture endured by all of it. The world is changing, but that doesn't mean we can't be cynical about it. It's not all sunshine and roses in Silicon Valley. It's self loathing, pretentiousness and machines that squeeze juice for you. Also, a strong affinity for toasters. Follow on Twitter @cebsilver for them jokes. Chaotic neutral. Pitches to cebsilver@gmail.com

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