By Anna Murphy
New York, NY, USA
I love social media. Foursquare, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogspot…I’m already signed up, logged in and admittedly active. Facebook? I can safely attest to being grouped in the 40% of women who are labeled “addicts,” checking it upon waking up, even before overnight emails. In fact, I got frustrated with Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild today when the photo uploading function only let me post 200 pictures in an album cataloging Bonnaroo, a four-day music festival where I lived out of an RV, listened to live bands 24/7, flashed peace signs/threw back beers and attempted to reincarnate the 1970s. I took a modest 343 photos of this epic event, but had to begrudgingly cull it down due to Facebook limits.
Perhaps my photos from this long weekend could/would shock and offend the really straight-laced of my friends, but even so, I think they’ll acknowledge anything coined a “modern-day Woodstock” is objectively interesting to observe, if not wholly entertaining. And even though I am not in impeccable physical shape, I still defiantly wore a bikini top the whole trip. I think the Facebook world can handle it. After all, these days there are other offenses topping the charts, i.e., defaults showing the interior of one’s womb, uncomfortable personal wall posts being flung back and forth (there’s a message option for a reason) and cringe-worthy status updates from your bad bout with sushi to the incoherent rants directed at your estranged spouse. It all makes me wonder: Is anything sacred?
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but the 3-D ultrasound has made its way into the 21st century and into a seemingly acceptable and trendy default photo option. I could also group under this broad pregnancy category, “belly shots,” AKA the burgeoning baby bump tracked month-by-month. What I find disconcerting is not the actual picture, but how much pressure there is these days for sharing photo evidence…I get it, engagement photos, you’re in love and want the world to know, or your wedding, the best day of your life right? But professional photography of pregnancy and/or the public posting of the pushing/labor/birth? It’s a miracle, but it’s your miracle.
I have friends with babies that are beautiful and should be flaunted not only on Facebook, but also as Baby Gap ads, and girlfriends who mobile upload photos of their stunning rings the minute they say “Yes!” - so I am not saying that it shouldn’t be. I guess I’m just asking where does it end?
My other gripe is with love letters in the form of wall posts. Pet names, innuendo, and date plans are really for texting or, for us old-fashioned folks, “phone material.” And, if you really don’t know your significant other that well, then a private message could suffice. The only thing I get out of your, “Baby I miss you and I’m home waiting for you to come back so we can have a romantic evening cup-cakey-coo-coo-coooo…,” is that I’m the six-hundredth voyeur on a very awkward date that I really do not want to be a part of. Because of news feeds, however, I have no choice. That is, until I block you. I’m a chronic mobile upload fiend, so I can say with utmost conviction that people have blocked my status updates from their feeds. And that’s okay.
Last, but not least, let’s not leave out status updates. I generally do not believe that Facebook is the forum for live updates. I tend to take to Twitter (plug for @Anna_Murphy #followme). I understand people do like to link these two social sharing networks and find it important to inform their friends in real time. But descriptions of illnesses/bodily functions, meals (every meal, snack and protein shake), and posts that confess, “I hate everyone, no one understands me…” make me really miss the good old-fashioned handwritten letter. We all know the consequences of digital TMI from good ol’ Anthony Weiner, but least, I can safely say that I have not been witness to public
shaming sharing of that nature…yet.
Anna Murphy works in Beauty PR and resides in the East Village of Manhattan with her sorority sister. She enjoys long runs on the Hudson River, live music, vegan cookies and the Florida Gators.