If you’re a regular user of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, does the following look familiar?
lying in pool of own vomit w/ @parishilton @britneyspears
cottaging in 4 seasons toilets w/ @georgemichael
caught massive dose of clap off @skankypantz
disembowelled outside palo alto starbux by @mansonlvr
I’m sorry, but I can’t take it anymore. No, I’m not talking about the man who done me wrong. I’m talking about this endless twittering, tweeting, and retweeting… So what was wrong with two cans and a string to communicate our news? Andy Warhol must be turning in his Campbell’s Soup can. I doubt even he could have imagined this kind of fifteen minutes of fame.
Hey, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for social networking, I think it’s great and it serves a useful purpose! I admit that I’m totally addicted to it. Just call me a social networking crackhead – if I’m near a computer I’ll be online, even if I’m at someone’s house. I’ve even done it at parties! I’ve stuck myself up on a ton of sites, and now I can update them all via a simple one-stop shop at Ping.fm. However, a lot of this social networking has gotten out of hand. Fine, keep people up to date, but don’t make us want to run out and buy and gun and go postal with it. There’s a huge difference between being informative and being excessive. And baby, the line has been crossed.
Perhaps I didn’t notice it that much before, or at least not until Facebook decided to sneak into Twitter’s back garden and grab their knickers from off the clothesline. Hello Mark? Does your “new” newsfeed not look just a wee bit familiar? Where’s that innovative Silicon Valley spirit? Or did it go careening off a cliff on a mountain bike? They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Frankly, I’m not buying it.
I admit that I try to exercise a reasonable amount of restraint when it comes to my own status updates. But how few are too few and how many are too many? That is the question, Hamlet, and it’s a bloody hard one to answer. Of course I want people to see my name, get involved in what I’m doing, follow my little exploits, be they mundane or exciting. Yet I’m also very aware of how I myself react when I see the same people continually posting, and I mean posting like a machine gun – rat-tat-tat-tat-tat – one after the other, like those butch Italian cowboys being shot down in a Spaghetti Western when you know there can’t possibly be any more bullets left in the gun. I mean, it’s not like these folk actually need to keep updating and updating. Often you’ll find the updates are nearly identical. They remind me of a student I taught in a university creative writing module who stubbornly refused to engage with the process of redrafting and thought she could get away with changing a couple of words here and there.
As for this ad nauseum updating business, I know several users who have deleted other users from their Twitter and Facebook accounts – and I’m talking very high-profile users (many even of celebrity status) whose updates were getting to the point of either being analogous to spamming or making everyone ill. Do they not realise how annoying this is? If you’re losing followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook, then maybe it’s time to acknowledge that your social networking methodology might be backfiring. Granted, you don’t have to be high-profile to spiral into overkill.
Can you imagine if we had Count Dracula constantly updating his status? (It would likely be at night, unless he was inside his coffin during the day sending tweets from his mobile phone.) It would probably go something like this:
chowing down flies w/ @renfield
taking a bloodbath w/ @dracsbride
hiking in carpathians w/ @jharker
debating wooden stakes v silver bullets w/ @vanhelsing
I’ve now reached the point where I’ll comment on people’s updates just to wind them up. In fact, I recently engaged in a bit of a Facebook fracas with a gentleman who was attending a convention (I won’t say which convention, though you might be able to guess). He kept updating his status every few seconds – yes, I am serious: SECONDS, so I thought I’d tease him about it, interjecting little jests under his various updates, hoping he might come to realise just how ridiculous this was getting. Alas, the point of my repartee was completely lost on the fellow, and finally I could take no more. I said, “hey, if you want to see some updates that are actually entertaining, take a look at my page.” And do you know what he replied? “Oh, I don’t really have time to look at other people’s updates.” Umm… excuse me? Needless to say, I clicked that little X alongside his updates, opting for one less nuisance in my busy social networking life. Hey, if I have to read your updates, it’s only fair you read mine, right?
Now before you hardcore updaters drag me off to the stake to be burned, realise that all I’m saying is this: before you update your status for the gazillionth time, ask yourself the following:
1. Do I really need to update when I just updated a minute ago?
2. Is it absolutely necessary when I’ve pretty much said the exact same shit in my previous update?
3. Will anyone be remotely pleased to see my update or will they pray that lightning strikes me dead?
I think you know the answer.
(By the way, it’s @mitziszereto in case you want to follow me on Twitter! xxx)