May 18, 2017

"When You Love Your Friend But Hate Her Social-Media Presence."

"At first I shrugged off the inane selfies and oddly pedantic captions informing a seemingly imagined audience how to make 'yummy' chia-seed pudding, or how yoga had taught her to appreciate her curves...."
But over the next six months, things only got worse: She was posting multiple times a day, increasingly in nausea-inducing poses with her boyfriend that looked about as staged as a rom-com poster: laughing and eating soft-serve on a stoop, holding hands while walking over a bridge, stealing a kiss post-run. Soon, they had their very own hashtag. It involved the word “lover.” I was traveling a lot for work then, and each time I mindlessly scrolled through my Instagram — in airport lines and long, jet-lag-riddled taxicab rides — it was like removing the pin from a grenade of secondhand embarrassment.....
That's Hayley Phelan, at New York Magazine, talking about her friend or... who knows whether anecdotes like this are true? Like this one she relays from one "Josh, 36," who "fell for a beautiful fine-arts student who was 'fun, smart, cool, and kinky,'" but then:
“She’d ’gram her sculptures and performance pieces and they were just awful,” says Josh. “It bewildered me that this person was in arts school and could make such thoughtless, unoriginal work. Once that seed was planted, it just grew. When we went to art shows or dinners, I started hearing her differently. [Eventually] we stopped going out.” He adds, “And yes, I still hooked up with her after. I’m a snob, not an idiot.” 
Heh. Put the creepy stuff in the mouth of some guy, some Josh, and let's all laugh at (nonexistent?) "arts school" girl. (Are we in England? What's with "arts school"? Was that at university?)
It’s well established that who we are online is not who we are in real life. 
And who we are in a magazine article is also not necessarily true. I used to read magazines for a living (for a couple years, back in the 1970s, after I went to art school). I'm used to how the details in these anecdotes look, with just the right cool-sounding people dribbling out short quotes that exactly embody the problem the author wants to discuss. But maybe it all happened that way, and I'm sure the problem — in a more boring way — actually exists. Yeah, you went somewhere, you ate something, you wore something, your boyfriend/girlfriend/kids were cute. You saw an animal... if only somewhere else on line. And I wince and think it's embarrassing/dumb/boring/phony.

What should you do if someone you really like in real life does social media you think is embarrassing?
 
pollcode.com free polls

37 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Here's the thing: If you don't like someone's social media presence, you can unfollow them!

Young people today seem terrified to point of paralysis of the possibility on missing out on something -- so they stay in touch with people who add nothing but angst to their lives. Rid yourself! It's very freeing.

That said, I'm slightly peeved that my son hasn't followed me on Instagram.

Tim Gilliland said...

Social media is complete crap. I don't face, insta, or tweet.
The unanswered question I have always had is, Why do you think anyone has the slightest interest in what you had for lunch yesterday???
Or put another way, It's all about ME.
ME ME ME!!!
Also, who posts their thoughts on Twitter?
Twits.

clint said...

Fun exercise: Imagine that Hayley Phelan is being 100% accurate and truthful in her account.

How do we feel about a magazine columnist exposing her former "friend" to the contempt and ridicule of thousands of strangers? Sure, she changed the name... but "Heather" knows who she is. And so do lots and lots of their mutual acquaintances.

Brian Balster said...

You left off the correct answer:

“And yes, I still hooked up with her after. I’m a snob, not an idiot.”

Meade said...

"Also, who posts their thoughts on Twitter?"

But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked[, tweeting]

Bay Area Guy said...

I have a great old childhood friend, with whom I recently reconnected. He is as delightful in his 50s, as he was in 2nd grade. Love the guy.

But his FB page is 24/7 Democrat talking points and/or hostile anti-Trump posts.

First world problems. Should I defriend his ass?

My solution is to ignore his FB posts, but call him every couple of weeks.



JohnAnnArbor said...

Here's the thing: If you don't like someone's social media presence, you can unfollow them!

Except that could be seen as rude. We need zombie Emily Post's ruling on that.

Known Unknown said...

This is such a woman thing.

tcrosse said...

I dropped completely out of Facebook. Too much political stuff. It's one thing to un-follow friends, but quite another to unfollow relatives. So I dropped it completely and never looked back.

California Snow said...

I've got a few friends like that. I like them but I've had to stop following them for the non-stop political posts or always complaining about something.

I think I'm about done with social media though. I'm wasting so much time on it and it only makes me jealous of others lives and what appears to be their 24/7 happy awesomeness.

California Snow said...

And one other thing.....I honestly don't give a flip about the burrito you're eating for lunch.

Lewis Wetzel said...

What if you hate your friends but like their social media presence?

Ann Althouse said...

"But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked[, tweeting]"

With feathers, you're never truly naked.

And remember:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all...

Lewis Wetzel said...

Do people ever use their Facebook thing for meta fiction?
Like in many pictures there is a creepy looking guy in the background, and in every picture he appears in, he gets a little closer? Or an invented family drama about a dying rich uncle and various plots to get his money?

Richard Dolan said...

Social media is a misnomer. Whatever a better name for it might be, you can't trust what you read and there's usually no way to verify. Sounds like most of the stuff you read, whether online or off.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Facebook could be a great way to keep in touch with distant relatives. Now I just check in every so often. Post a few photos of where we're living at the time. Browse a few people's timeline and get off.

A few years ago I unfriended about 150 people. Some of them I didn't even know who they were.

I can't stand my 85yo dad's constant posting of politics and conspiracies. My sister's crackpot new age bullshit and politics. My sister says she is a "click-tavist" she believes her roll in politics is to like and repost every stupid thnig she can find on FB.

I did unfriend my sister. It took her almost a year to notice. She was upset but I told her her FB wasn't for family. It was just a way to pose for her FB friends. It was impossible to see anything human on her page. That didn't go over well. Oh well. I told her if she wants to know what's going on with me to ask her daughter.

Rabel said...

How about:

"Judge not, that ye be not judged."

By Althouse on Blogger.

Larry J said...

Tim Gilliland said...
Social media is complete crap. I don't face, insta, or tweet.
The unanswered question I have always had is, Why do you think anyone has the slightest interest in what you had for lunch yesterday???
Or put another way, It's all about ME.


I'm also a social media denier. For one thing, it takes too much time. For another, I'm just not that interesting and most other people aren't either. Finally, I've spent most of my adult life in and around the military. Perhaps I've had too many security briefings, but the idea of needlessly volunteering so much personal information just doesn't appeal to me at all.

Susan said...

I can hardly wait until we are a post social media society.

I still like being a tourist and plan to continue at every opportunity in a very non-ironic way. But since the daughters-in-law are virtue signalling all day long and no longer post pictures of the grandkids and stuff, I no longer care about social media.

gbarto said...

Well, we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out
And show ourselves when everyone has gone
Some are satin, some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They're the faces of a stranger
But we'd love to try them on.
Billy Joel, The Stranger

A person's social media presence is a different side of a person, usually. For same, it's the crazy person they dare not be in real life. For others, it's the buttoned down person who needs professional connections so eschews anything too human. Just the ability to edit before hitting send makes your social media presence a moderated experience. Few are exactly the same at the coffee table and the keyboard. Just as few are the same at home, at work and at the ballgame. Hang out with your friends at the places you both enjoy. I like both the opera and old Beavis and Butthead episodes. I don't necessarily share these experiences with the same people. For that matter, I don't think linkedin me, blogger me and twitter me would recognize each other. Different places, different friends, different aspects of my personality.

holdfast said...

Do people ever use their Facebook thing for meta fiction?

Sometimes - I have a FB friend (really a friend of a friend IRL) who will occasionally go on a comedic tear - sort of like a R rated Laslo (instead of being NC-17 or X, like the real Laslo). His series of posts about the goings-on in a [fictional, I hope] nursing home during a real flood had me in stitches.

Birches said...

MadisonMan nailed it in his first sentence.

I drastically changed how I use social media. It's been about three months and I love it. I don't scroll through feeds anymore; I receive notifications when my family members post and then I decide if I want to click over and see. If one of my aunts shares "RWNJ Daily's post," I know not to click over. If she shares a picture, then I do. It's really nice. I don't follow any of my neighbors and friends from Church anymore. There were too many people who are perfectly decent who come off as deranged crazy people on fb. I don't understand why people like and share everything they read.

For that matter, I don't think linkedin me, blogger me and twitter me would recognize each other. Different places, different friends, different aspects of my personality.

This is me too. I'm sure all my Church friends would be shocked to learn I follow politics so closely. I see no need to make that apart of my "real" life.

Henry said...

I'm reminded of Joni Mitchell's Roses Blue which is about the somewhat more tangible problem of a friend undergoing a real conversion, not just one on social media:

I think of tears, I think of rain on shingles
I think of rain, I think of roses blue
I think of Rose, my heart begins to tremble
To see the place she's lately gotten to
Gotten to, gotten to


My Dinner With Andre is another example. Imagine a movie called My Facebook Friend Andre in which all the weird, vehement stuff that comes out of Andre is just what he types on social media. You go out to dinner with him and he's just fine.

It's not quite the same thing.

tim maguire said...

My wife has a friend who's basically a good person in real life, but is constantly posting on facebook vicious, ignorant, incredibly uncharitable things about people whose politics she disagrees with. I've come to despise her in real life because of her online persona.

madAsHell said...

Commenting at Althouse is all the social media I need!

Charlie said...

Unfriend them and remain blissfully unaware of their on-line persona.

Carter Wood said...

The Jam pegs it. This is the new art school.

https://play.google.com/music/preview/Tykpnrgoepcelzdpxwy7sketure?lyrics=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=lyrics&pcampaignid=kp-songlyrics

Freeman Hunt said...

I think I am the token Republican friend for many people. I know many delightful people who have less than delightful feeds on social media, but oh well. There is a wide chasm between a social media feed and an actual person. Care about the actual person.

Yancey Ward said...

I personally believe Phelan fabricated the "friend" she is critiquing. If she isn't, then Phelan herself is not the kind of person anyone should want as a friend. If this friend was real, then pretty much all of their shared online acquaintances know who she is ridiculing.

I have basically abandoned all social media, but then I was never much of consumer anyway. I only have a Facebook page so I can follow some family members, but I have even stopped doing that. My only presence online these days are a handful of blogs I put comments on, and I know none of my real-life family or friends visit any of those.

Yancey Ward said...

An interesting thing for me is trying to decide which is a more true representation of a person's character- the online persona, or the one you get face to face with someone? I am not so sure the answer is or should be obvious.

Bill Peschel said...

I signed onto Facebook and ended up being nearly friended by an ex-boss I hate and someone who went ballistic when I said I hated voting for [you know] but thought he was doing better than expected. Then there were a number of people who share the same last name, but about whom I know nothing.

Ironically, the people I most want to be in touch with aren't on Facebook, and I guess even if they were, I'd feel funny talking to them in public.

The only saving grace came recently when a successful indie author opened a private group where we get together to discuss marketing strategies and encourage each other. I can follow their posts by email and dip in when I want to. It's been a blast.

Otherwise, Facebook's a mess. Its layout is impossible to understand, violating every principle of what a good website needs. It was years before I realized that only emails from people I'm connected to are highlighted; those from people trying to get in touch with you (including, in my case, someone seeking to hire me for a public speaking gig), were sent to a mail folder called "Other" that's nearly impossible to find.

Social media, in general, is a fraud and a scam to harvest your data. It's like a cocktail party in which everyone there can potentially hear you, so you can't limit who you share data with.

Freeman Hunt said...

Usually the only upsetting thing on social media is seeing some people fall prey to alcoholism.

mockturtle said...

Commenting at Althouse is all the social media I need!

Same here, Mad as Hell. Real life keeps things in perspective.

Birches said...

My only presence online these days are a handful of blogs I put comments on, and I know none of my real-life family or friends visit any of those.

I'd be terrified if any of my family members read my comments on these blogs.

Freeman Hunt said...

If people post a bunch of staged, catalog-ish pictures, I think most other people assume something is wrong and feel bad for them.

Also, when people post scads of pictures from a date, one wonders what it was like to have to pose for all those pictures on the date. Was the other person annoyed? What were their expressions like right after each photo? Who is the photo insister and who is the go-alonger? Are they both insisters? How long did it take to get the right picture? What kind of date is this?

Yancey Ward said...

Last night (actually Wednesday night given the hour), I watched episode 1 of season 3 of Black Mirror on Netflix, and it had a very dark take on social media. It was titled "Nosedive". You should check it out.

urbane legend said...

I have a Facebook page. I rarely post anything. I have a cousin who posts regularly. She is a liberal; voted for Hillary, marched in the pink pussy hat march, hates Trump with all of her being. Without any sense of irony she posted a jpg with this message this earlier this week:

Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain.