To social networks and the people who use them

Remember the 90s? Remember when Gmail didn’t exist, and people actually had AOL and Hotmail email addresses, and every day you’d get a chain letter plopped in your inbox imploring you to save the bonsai kitten? And everyone had these ridiculous quotes in their signatures ~_*+tHat lOokED lyKe tHiS+*_~, and we all thought that if we forwarded this email to ten thousand people, Bill Gates would give us all $100?

I thought we’d learned from that. But like everything else in life, stupidity endures, and my social networks are not messageboards of my friends’ lives so much as they are a platform for the dumbest things to get shared and re-posted, in a terribly real satire of what happens when you enable mankind with free, fast communication.

Facebook, once a medium for Harvard students to do…whatever Harvard students do, I guess, is now a place where I see questionably designed images that are, at best, trite and misleading:

Let’s tally up the cliches. 1: “No regrets.” 2: “Ditch everyone who doesn’t treat you like the special snowflake you are.” 3: “Everything happens for a reason.” 4: “Take chances.” 5: “Life’s not easy, but it’s worth it.” 6: Silhouette of someone holding an umbrella. And a bird, because birds are symbolic.

 
And, at worst, these things are inaccurate and damaging:
The modern concepts of depression and anxiety didn’t exist in Ancient China, so this is a wildly stupid translation of Lao Tzu, and it trivializes people’s problems with actual depression and/or anxiety. As a cherry of stupidity on top of this sundae of insulting triteness, this image looks like it was made in MS Paint over a Microsoft default image.
I was flabbergasted at the number of perfectly reasonable people who demonstrated that they don’t understand how stocks, law, or common sense work.

Okay, so Facebook is now taken over by dumb people who wouldn’t know good typography if an ampersand hit them in the face. Over to Google+, where none of the few people I have chosen to follow there believe in re-posting this stupid nonsense.

But wait! Google+ now shows me “What’s Hot,” which is the stuff that gets chain-emailed around by people I have absolutely no connection to. Which is why I now log in and see this:

Don’t know about you, but if I look into someone’s eyes and I see their heart, I’m calling the ambulance.

What the hell, Google+? The whole point of using you is so I don’t have to deal with the stupid people I know on Facebook! Why do you feel the need to show me stupid stuff made by stupid people I don’t even know?

My conclusion? Misattributed quotes, terrible design, fake stories, and saccharinely trite sayings are always going to persist. Scientists could invent a way for us to beam thoughts right into each others’ heads, and while a few people will use this in a groundbreaking educational way, the majority of them will be beaming “~Life isn’t measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away~ (George Washington)” into each other’s craniums while they walk their holographic robot dogs.

That’s depressing. Not fake-Lao-Tzu living-in-the-past depressing, just regular depressing.

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1 Comment

  1. I whole heartedly agree with you.
    People have such empty lives they should be following the advice those dumb and obvious statements say.

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