“As of today, I am [pleased/thrilled/thankful] to announce that I have accepted a position as a [student/graduate student/employee] at [some university/some nonprofit/some company] and will be taking my talents to [insert name of city]. I’d like to thank my [family/friends/God] for helping me achieve my dreams and I am so [excited/pumped/happy] to begin this next chapter of my life.”
400+ likes. 50+ comments, mostly consisting of semi-sincere congratulations.
Of all the things people post on Facebook — political rants, engagement photos, selling jewelry/Crossfit gym memberships, religious posts — it is the personal announcements I hate the most. For example, every time I see some chick from college post some crap about what no-name PR firm she is leaving town to work for and thank everyone for their “support” in making her so “successful” and allowing her to follow her “dreams,” a little part of me inside dies. Especially when I see the likes rack up by the second.
It’s infuriating when a rich kid who I TOTALLY KNOW is a shallow dickhead waxes poetic about how he is leaving for [insert name of third world country] to serve in the Peace Corps. Must be nice to take a two-year photo-op with third world orphans bankrolled by daddy while the rest of us are stuck paying off six figures worth of student loans. Maybe I’m jealous of the obscene amounts of likes these posts garner (probably). Maybe I’m cynical (obviously). Or maybe I’m just an asshole (the jury’s still out on that but leaning towards the affirmative). But the part that irritates me so much about these posts? That they treat Facebook like their own personal PR department.
I know Facebook is for sharing. The whole point of the website is to share your life through the Internet with the people in your life that matter (and many that don’t). But it isn’t for shameless like-whoring (actually scratch that, it very well might be). As countless Internet philosophers before me have said, when we put our whole lives on social media, we begin to live our lives as if we are always on a stage. During a recent Knicks game, the dance cam focused on three college-age kids. Instead of dancing like a maniac as is called for in that situation, one of the trio pulled out her phone, unlocked it, and proceeded to film herself dancing on the jumbotron that hangs above MSG. Talk about meta. If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If I go to a pro sporting event and don’t put it on the Internet, did I really even go? If I accept a cool new job and don’t share it on Facebook, am I really even employed?
I’m not innocent of sharing via social media: you better believe I put that Knicks game on my Snapchat story (the seats were too good to pass that one up). But I really only do that once in a blue moon when I have something cool to share. I haven’t posted a single thing on Facebook in nearly two years and my Instagram game is weaker than Peyton Manning’s deep ball. The simple solution to this is to just give up social media – but devotees will know that I couldn’t possibly do this because ALL dating apps seem to be tied to Facebook and dating is hard enough in New York as it is. So I guess my next best option is to rain on everyone else’s parade to compensate for my lack of Facebook likes. If you can’t make fun of other people for shamelessly whoring for likes, what’s the point of living?
At this point, I could leave you with some Ron Swanson-esque platitudes: live your life in the real world and not online; don’t do things for the social media post, do it for the experience. But who are we kidding? I would be lying if I said that as soon as my buddy asked if I was interested in a Knicks game I didn’t immediately think “there’s another way for me to show off the fact that I live in Manhattan.” But I took exactly two snaps for my Snapchat story and put my phone away for the rest of the game. And that, I think, is the balance to be struck: feel free to share your life. Just don’t shamelessly whore for likes. Because I want some too, but I’ve got too much damn shame to do it. .
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