Social media is the best and worst thing ever. It has helped reconnect me with friends I had lost touch with, helps me stay in touch with a lot of people who live far away from me, and is generally a fun place to share pictures, stories and trips. And then there are the times it becomes a political or social injustice land mine or the catalyst for seeing things you never should that turn you into this gal:
I remember missing a 7th grade dance because my dad and stepmom asked me to babysit my brother. I agreed, but was bummed because I felt I was missing my shot at snagging a slow dance with my crush of the hour. Well, not only did their plans get canceled, but I still missed the dance. My friend at the time, who would prove to be a big lying liar who lied, told me that said crush was looking for me the entire night and didn’t slow dance with ANYONE. Of course I assumed this meant we were boyfriend/girlfriend. But those dreams were crushed when I returned to school on Monday to overhear a classmate telling someone how she slow danced with Crush, but it was difficult because he was so much taller than her.
This was in the 90s, when answering machines were still a thing, call waiting was the greatest invention ever, and caller ID was what all the cool kids had. In other words – it was classmate’s word against lying liar who lied because there was no evidence of the photographic kind (whether it disappeared after ten seconds or not).
If I were in 7th grade today, I would have probably seen a Snapchat story, Instagram picture, or Facebook post to prove my friend had lied to me in real time, and wouldn’t have had to wait until Monday for my dreams to be crushed.
This fuzzy memory is one of millions that make me grateful that all of these things did not exist when I was in middle school/high school/college. I NEVER would have survived. I think about all the drama we create (intentionally or not) with social media. My teenage heart was fragile enough without it. It’s hard enough dealing with this shit now as an adult. FOR EXAMPLE:
- The guy you are quasi dating but not really finally joins FB and does NOT friend request you, but you find out he joined by seeing that a mutual friend posted on his wall about him joining FB and match.com on the same day, so you create a fake match.com profile to see if he’s on there and an hour later after scrolling through too-many-to-count profiles realize the match.com portion of the comment may have been sarcasm.
- Constantly having to text one of your 21-year old cousins about the intricacies of Snapchat. What does a star mean? What about a star and a heart? What if there is a firework involved? Why do chats disappear? Can you send a pic or video to more than one person without making it a story?? For something that was supposedly created for the sole purpose of people sending x-rated things to each other, this shit is complicated.
- Having the guy you’re talking to send you a pic of something, then you log in to Facebook an hour later and see him tagged in the same photo by Possible Girlfriend Who Is Not You and You Probably Aren’t Supposed to Know About.
All of these annoying things happen, but hey, I’m an adult, so I can push the drama aside and function at my day job. If I had to see Pictures I Should Not back in high school – well I probably would have skipped class to cry in the bathroom. In fact, I used to skip Spanish class a lot as a sophomore because Different Crush had that period free so I decided learning Spanish was less important than flirting and I’d just hang out with him in the common area I cannot remember the name of because I’m OLD.
And actually when I was still living in Chicago, I went to Midway to pick up my best friend who was visiting and she was on the same flight as the Spanish teacher whose class I used to skip and she remembered me. And this was over a decade later. She didn’t mention that part – not sure if she even noticed when I wasn’t there, and I passed the class, so no harm no foul, right? (disclaimer, I do not condone skipping class now. But there was no reasoning with my 16-year old self).
This is not me saying I am giving up on social media (although I have been on Twitter less and less). I’m going to continue to use it and and accept the consequences of using it (like finding out someone you were not even friends with blocked you – HOW RUDE).