Monday, July 26, 2021

The sycophantic nature of social media

Section:

Irene Ramsay explores the world of social media

 

I’ve always been a Facebook fan, but have never really got to grips with the rest of the social media options out there. Admittedly Facebook makes me less efficient, but then again you have to join because everyone else is doing it. I suppose you could say I suffer from Facebook FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). If I weren’t on it, after all, there would be that party that I’d miss out on, or those photos from the weekend that my friend has put up that I can’t see. There’s nothing wrong with a quick Facebook check whilst at work is there? Maybe a ‘comment’ or a ‘like’? Of course I’ll never take it too far – I’ve made a solid pact with myself not to step into the realms of social media loafing.

 

Social media usage is a time consuming affair
Social media usage is a time consuming affair

My problem with social media is this stream of online sycophancy that comes with it. Sometimes I wish there was a ‘dislike’ button on Facebook, because frankly some photos that friends upload are unacceptable. Then again, the aim of Facebook is not to unmake friends. The problem is, I’m ashamed to admit, I enjoy the flattery. If someone likes my photo on Facebook, I do actually feel pretty good. 15 likes… Not bad. Frankly, I didn’t know I had that many friends. But then the standard is set, and the bar is high and if it lowers it’s pretty damn depressing. In fact, my brother jokingly admitted to taking down a photo the other day as it didn’t get enough likes. That is depressing. This is where Facebook makes you unhappy. In fact, why the hell do I have fewer friends today than I did yesterday? Someone actually took the time to search for me and delete me as a friend. Charming. Now to actually work out who this ‘friend’ was would mean traipsing through all 722 friends and work out who it was. An impossible and worthless feat. Although, a part of me feels it is a necessity to know who this vile person is.

 

I signed up to Twitter a while ago to see what the fuss is about and have just returned to the gloomy Twitter depths having been told it was vital for work. Someone wanted to hashtag me or something – admittedly, I still have no concept as to what this site is for. Apparently, you tweet someone, they tweet you back. Amazingly, perfectly decent and respectable people do this. This dynamic duo seem to have got to the bottom of it. I have returned to my moribund Twitter account to be inundated with masses of verbal diarrhoea. Thank god it’s limited to 140 characters; I’m quite simply not interested in the details of the ins and outs of what X had for breakfast.

 

This brings me onto Pinterest, where people genuinely take photos of every single meal they eat and press upload. Unless you have managed to build Battersea power station out of every single piece of pic-a-mix available at Odeon, I’m quite simply not interested. I did however once spend an entire hour procrastinating looking at ‘cookie monster cookies’ and have now developed a fear of domestic inadequacy.

 

I recently created a LinkedIn account which I name ‘the fawn’ of online sycophancy; writing how great and wonderful you are has normally been confined to the paper CV, kept between you and the employer. Thanks to LinkedIn, this process is entirely public and humiliating. To make matters worse it shows exactly who has viewed your profile and vice versa. No one has endorsed me, which frankly I take as a compliment because I have friends who have been endorsed with the skill of ‘newspaper’, which is not a skill. My friends are seen at their most professional on LinkedIn with titles that are grossly exaggerated, but if I were to flick to Facebook there is the same friend voming on someone’s face. I can’t be doing with the façade.

 

The problem is that the combination of maintaining all social media accounts is equal to a full-time job. Who has the time? Then again, I enjoy having 722, sorry 718 friends. #pissedoff

 

Irene Ramsay is a graduate of Queen Mary University, London. Follow her on Twitter @ireneramsay

 

 

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