I do not care about your new baby. I do not care about your pirate themed wedding. I do not care about your latest trip to the farmer’s market, or the whole rosemary rubbed chicken you baked in your wood burning oven, or your cat. Fuck your cat.
But I will defend to the death your right to post shit about them on social media.
And I suppose I will begrudgingly defend everyone else’s right to use social media to bitch about how little they care, but I’d like to talk a little about just how elitist and self-absorbed such expressions of disinterest are. In an age where sharing a photo of your toddler dangling upside down with one leg stuck in the dresser to thousands of people comes as easily as that first morning under-the-covers fart, I think it’s time to shed the pretense that it’s anybody’s responsibility other than our own to protect us from content we don’t want to see.
There are two fallacies involved with this way of thinking. One: the fact that YOU don’t care means absolutely nobody else on planet Earth cares. Two: this information/photo/status update/tweet/Instagrammed meal is being forced upon you, like the sharer took an Ethernet cord and rammed it into your ear and yelled “LOOK AT IT! LOOK AT THIS THING I SHARED! PUT IT IN YOUR BRAAAAAIN!”
The first fallacy is just good old fashioned myopic thinking. While you may not give a shit that my dog just sprinted through a mud puddle and then shook off in my bathroom, I guarantee you my mother is eating that shit up. She’s picking up the phone now to ask me how she can save that photo to her home computer, set it as her desktop wallpaper, and request that I Photoshop the dog into a picture with an angry hippo because she thinks that’d be funny. I may prefer shattering my laptop against the wall and stomping on the shards, letting them stab into the soles of my feet to replace the pain of having seen your Facebook album of 60 photos of your baby taking her first shit. But there are probably, at minimum, forty to fifty people among your Facebook friends (many of whom are family members) who actually genuinely care and find that sort of thing endearing or whatever.
The second fallacy requires us to start rethinking just exactly where the responsibility lies when it comes to what we consume on the internet. You joined Facebook, yeah? You added Rodney McMudwrestling to your friends list, yeah? You currently have your cursor resting nary a pixel away from the “hide from feed” button on Rod’s most recent post about Obama’s secret plan to abort all the babies in America, YEAH? So what makes you think you’re any more entitled to the Internet than Rodney, that you can’t just click “hide” and keep on scrolling? What makes you think that it is Rodney’s responsibility to cater his Facebook activity to your tastes and whims? For better or worse, his crap has a right to be there as much as your bullshitty high-minded hipster crap does. Or whatever it is you’re posting about…I may be assuming a certain audience here…but I’m probably right.
At what point did we start thinking about social media as a thing that we passively sit back and let happen to us (like getting shot in the face with a marshmallow gun), rather than a thing that we actively create, shape, and participate in (like sitting down and enjoying a nice bowl of marshmallows)? At what point did we start petulantly kicking our heels and pounding our fists on the ground, demanding that the internet give us EXACTLY WHAT WE WANT and ONLY WHAT WE WANT and if it doesn’t then I’M GOING TO THROW A HUGE HISSY FIT JUST YOU WATCH ME! I’LL FUCKING DO IT!
Social media is like homeownership: there’s a surprising amount of responsibility that comes with it. If you follow a thousand Twitter feeds, are friends with thousands of people and have each and every one of them on your news feed, have “liked” forty TV shows and a dozen clothing companies and every single band you heard on the radio once, then your social media house is a filthy grotesque cat shit-covered monstrosity that belongs on an episode of Hoarders. If you tidy up some and get rid of the stuff you don’t want, you’re gonna have a pretty clean and cozy abode. When things are messy you don’t scream at the bathroom for not scrubbing itself. So unless that chick you went to high school with who just married what appears to be a potato in a tuxedo has strapped you to a chair, pried open your eyelids à la A Clockwork Orange, and forced you through the entirety of her 350 wedding photos, then maybe you could just, I don’t know, not look at it. The level of cognitive dissonance required to actively complain about one’s social media content whilst actively sharing things on social media is real super high. To employ another metaphor: it’s like putting your shoes down in the middle of your room and cursing every time you trip over them. But vehemently refusing to move them.
Because tell me honestly: if you cross “to share stuff” off the list of reasons social media outlets exist, what’s even left on the list? Say it with me now: unfriend. Unfollow. Hide. Unfriend. Unfollow. Hide.
If all else fails, at least take a bit of sadistic schadenfreude in knowing that lots of people you went to high school with got super fat and had fat children.