2

Social Media Saturation

So this year’s been off to some kind of start, on the blogging front…anyway, greetings from Milwaukee, where I just went to an APO meeting at Marquette University and am now procrastinating before I have to drive the one and a half hours home.

My parents came into town on Sunday, and since today was my mom’s birthday, we drove 2 hours north to Stevens Point, where one of my mom’s best friends lives, for a birthday lunch. As is traditional these days, I took pictures with my phone, immediately texted them to everyone at the table and posted them on my Facebook with fun captions. And watched the likes and comments roll in. Fun.

Last week, my wonderful friend Kate was in town from Australia, and I got the chance to sit an have a coffee with her for two hours. We had an amazing conversation, about school, life, religion, friends, everything under the sun. As I was walking down the street after we hugged goodbye, I realized that we hadn’t taken a picture together. Part of me wanted to turn around and chase her down to get one, but ultimately, the part of me that was frozen solid and just wanted to get to the library before my fingers fell off won out. Once I was in the library though, I logged onto Facebook, and was going to post something on my page about it, sans photo, but then I realized…

Who am I really posting it for?

Do I care that people know that we had coffee together? Not really. Do I want to make people jealous? No. Was this a crazy, momentous, life-changing event? To me, and hopefully her, it was, but…who else needs to know? And a photo? I know what she looks like and she knows what I look like. Is it like…if it’s not on social media, did it actually happen?

The answer to that one is yes. Remember the days when we didn’t have cameras at the ready 24/7, places to share pictures with everyone in the world, and even cell phones to know if someone was going to be late/cancel or not? In those days, no one cared if every little event in your life was documented. It says so much about our society today that we need to document every little thing, and hashtag it, and link it to every single platform and profile we have. True, I have a blog here, and I have a Facebook, but I mostly use Facebook because I like its interface, I like to use it to communicate with friends who are cities, or states, or countries away, and I have to admit, the way it organizes photos is neat and clean. Even though I feel like I’m always on social media, I still don’t have Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, or even Twitter. It’s like…do I really exist?

The not-so-much-of-a-point-point (aka whatever-don’t-listen-to-me-I-don’t-know) of this story is:s sometimes, it’s OK just to have happy memories of things, without all the documentation and self-paparazzi. Do what you want, but at the end of the day it’s about your experience, and not what you document of it, that makes it worth the memories.

Anyway. I ended up sending Kate a private message, just saying thanks for meeting up with me, I had fun, and I hope you did too, and then logging off and going back to (attempting to avoid) writing.

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5

Staycation, All I Ever Wanted

So, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and came across a link to this story about Zilla van den Born, a 25-year-old from the Netherlands, and her fantastic five-week adventure through Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.

Except…she didn’t actually leave her apartment.

Well, a few times for photo opportunities, but in essence, she took a five-week staycation in her Amsterdam apartment, using the magic of Photoshop to tell her family, friends, and Facebook about her life-changing adventures in southeast Asia, with only her boyfriend in on it. Two days ago, she revealed that she’d been in town the whole time, and had used this as a sort of reverse-undercover mixed media project/social experiment to prove how social media impacts our lives, or in van den Born’s words, “…to show people that we filter and manipulate what we show on social media – we create an ideal world online which reality can no longer meet (Victor).”

More commentary on this subject after I finish my schoolwork.

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Works Cited

Jones, Will. “Dutch Girl Fakes a Trip to South East Asia.” Gapyear.com 9 September 2014. <http://www.gapyear.com/news/230749/dutch-girl-fakes-a-trip-to-se-asia&gt;.

Victor, Anucyia. “What a scam!” Travel News. The Daily Mail Online. 9 September 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2749306/What-scam-Student-boasts-friends-trekking-Asia-visiting-stunning-beaches-tasting-local-cuisine-meeting-Buddhist-monks-using-FAKE-photos-taken-home-town.html&gt;