Social Life

It used to be that I would seriously contemplate my Facebook status on my birthday because I knew people would be coming to my “Profile” to write on my “Wall.”  It was an opportunity to be clever and funny, or witty and political, plug for a new favorite musician, etc.  The day before my birthday, I would actually spend time thinking about a good status.  These were also the days when Facebook statuses started with “Katie is… “ so obviously you had to be creative in order not to be limited by the present tense.  The night before, I would set my status and prepare for my best friends (and the people who wanted to be or thought they were my bffs) to type me a “happy birthday!” message at midnight.  While they were doing so, they could read the product of my deliberations, they would think I was so smart and thoughtful, and our friendship would deepen.  The next time I saw them in person, they would refer to my birthday status and include a compliment about my social networking skills and/or personality. They would ask me to write statuses for them to post the day before their birthday and I would become a professional status writer for the next 40 years, but would always save the best status for my own birthday.

This communication, and dare I say hope for continued interaction, was social networking at it’s finest.  So fine, that Myspace’s redeeming qualities of customized backgrounds and Top Friends couldn’t keep up.

The Status was a death sentence for other social network services.  When I found out about Twitter, their whole model being centered around a limited length status to encourage succinctness, I didn’t dare get into it, seeing as how much pressure it would have been to be clever/funny/smart every day.  If I was going to become a professional status writer, it would be by sheer luck, not hard work.

I don’t need to continue reminiscing Facebook’s innovations all the way to the present day, because everyone who’s on it knows the state of things.  These time-saving, conflict-avoiding, relationship-voiding “innovations”:

  • Sharing news articles, memes, or blog op-eds so that we can share our opinions without having to have awkward conversations made up of our own beliefs or thoughts

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  • Comments sections, that are our own beliefs or thoughts, designed to bite and sting so we won’t be forgotten or suffer a death by lack of likes

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  • Ability to completely ignore any friend and/or their opinion we get tired/sick of, without having to actually unfriend them, thereby creating a conflict and an unscripted conversation about why we are suddenly not friends anymore

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There is now hope that FB is changing their algorithm, so we will see more directly from friends!   Finally!  How else will we communicate about our own experiences, our own plans, our lives…?  It’s all there for our friends to read with their scrolling thumb on the smart phone that everyone now has.  If our friends care about us enough, they’ll keep-in-touch through use of the like button,  and that will be enough for our relationship.

Keep in mind a lot of this so-called communication takes place on our work breaks, or public transportation, when we’re bored, or late at night when we can’t sleep.

What’s ironic is that while I bash this technological “social” life, I’m guilty as charged.  I am dramatic, post news that I agree with in order to communicate my political opinions, substitute actual conversation with friends and family with pictures or posts that I expect my friends and family to read.  Obviously I’m guilty of thinking my statuses hold importance.

But if I didn’t have any hope, I wouldn’t be here.  On this day.  The day before my birthday.  Pondering yet another birthday status.  I expect to continue thinking I am clever, funny, maybe even witty.  Sadly, with today’s social media, it doesn’t matter if you think I am clever, funny, or maybe even witty; the readers are for the most part, superfluous.  But that’s definitely not what I want.

I want to go to the social media I’ve always dreamed of- where our relationship deepens because you read my witty post, and we talk about it later, even if only in the comments or through text messages.  Where I care enough about your recent food pictures to try that restaurant or that recipe, maybe even share in it together.  When good news can be announced online, but celebrated offline, without a typed congratulations to increase the attention of an algorithm.

I hope for a social network that helps me make friends and keep them, rather than destroying bonds by allowing me to be passive- or worse, attacking them for some opinion or article they’ve posted.  A social media that encourages socializing, with less media from outside sources.

Thank you for reading.  And liking.  And thinking I am clever.  Let’s be friends.

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that went well.

I would like to take a moment and pat myself on the back.  It’s been more than three months since I posted anything.  And I have just deleted the last 7 posts after reading them again.

Rest assured, I have not stopped breathing.  Or thinking.  Or even writing.  I still write! Just not here.

Actually, here’s the low-down.  I want to start one of those “expat” blogs.  I live in Korea at the moment, and several hours a week I spend online reading blogs and watching vlogs.  It helps me learn about the culture here, and confirms things that I’ve noticed myself.  Actually, I already keep a collection of stories on Facebook notes for my friends and family.  Now, I want to have a few of those stories more public.  And possibly do a few videos.

So I need somewhere to write out my scripts!  A vlog with scripts, you say?  Yes, because I’ve watched hundreds of vlogs by now, and you can tell which ones are scripted and which aren’t.  I would say a good half of the unscripted ones are a complete waste of time.  I don’t want to take that chance.

I also think my experiences could be interesting to more than just people who know me.  Maybe someone else out there wants to learn about what it’s like to move to a new country.  Well, I’ll tell you.

It’s freaking awesome.

a remarkably unbinding covenant

I find I need to write stuff down.

That said, I write notes to myself on sticky notes and post them in my room, on the fridge, on my computer.  I write notes on my iPod in the notes app, the flashcards app, the calendar app, and the Wunderlist app.  My favorite app is called Orchestra, and it’s just a giant to-do list.  When I’m really in an organizational mood, I write lists for the grocery store, and things I need to get done.  But mostly, my writings are for my memory.

I find when I write stuff down, I remember it.

I have been out of college for a period of time short enough to still miss some things dearly, but long enough to be very thankful that my life is moving forward.  In retrospect, I can also tell you something else about college: I learned more about myself, other people, and the social aspects of life than I did about the subjects I was supposed to be learning: music and religion.  I am not disappointed in this lack of book-larnin’ at all.  However, I have a great many things left to learn from books, and after this lovely break from scheduled learning, I intend to continue.  With the study aide of writing stuff down.

I don’t really know how blogs work, other than a writer vomits their thoughts onto the internet via a host site which promises the writer’s genius will be shared with the world.  Call me a cynic, but that genius will only get out granted the world reads blogs.  Considering my language skills are limited, I have already cut my audience down to 35% of the world (the English speakers), says a cute little internet pie chart from whom I have no expectations of accuracy nor any intention to cite.

My mistakes will be that I will not take the blogging world too seriously, and I will be laid back in my citations.  I will unselfishly share myself and thoughts but do not selfishly expect anyone to read or be impressed with my blogging endeavor.

As I have said, I find I need to write stuff down.  I have used this first post as a way to make a covenant with myself as I start my journey of after-college intellectualism.

1) I will read to continue learning.

2) I will write stuff down with the intention of improving my chances for retention.

3) I will not set positive or negative limitations for myself.

My only failure will occur if I do not learn.