Trying to pinpoint that moment in time, that moment in your life, when things changed is an essential exercise if one hopes to affect change. Knowing the precise moment when you changed the way you think, changed the way you feel, and changed the way you interact with others. Knowing what caused you to be more outgoing, more revealing, less involved in conversation, but more involved in someone’s life. Knowing all of this can help you to identify the things in your life that you want to change, and can also help to keep you from reverting back to those ways you want to change. For me that moment in time was May 1, 2007. This date, of course, is the day I joined Facebook.
I’m not an ardent and adamant user of social media by any means. I don’t care to let people know where I am all the time, what I’m doing, or how many times I’ve been to the gym in the last week (you wouldn’t be impressed). However the one thing I do, is I absorb information like a sponge. I don’t care about my own doings, but I do like to see what everyone else is doing. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I am not that outgoing, and probably wouldn’t do half the things others do, or maybe it’s just that I enjoy living vicariously through others. Either way, I do know that on May 1, 2007, my world was opened up to unlimited information about any number of different people I chose to attempt to follow. The only thing I really remember from those days though, was that my Facebook kind of looked like Myspace, except I couldn’t figure out how to add a song to my profile page.
The information overload nowadays is so incessant and evolving that if you miss something, it almost doesn’t matter because there are new items ready to take its place almost immediately. We are living in an immediate cycle of information. What happened 10 minutes ago doesn’t matter anymore, and what will happen 10 minutes in the future nobody knows. So the here and now is what matters. And I can get that information from simply being in the moment. As much as I’d like to think that what my friends are doing matters, it really shouldn’t affect me, and for the most part doesn’t. I could drop everything and go join them, but that would require me to be the most spontaneous person to ever exist, having no real interests of my own, but rather relying on others to find and create interests for me.
I like that Facebook captures my photographs, and some of the places I’ve been, and the experiences I’ve had, but that doesn’t make it a vital part of my life. The only real-time daily purpose it serves is to remind me of how thoughtless I am in not wishing people a happy birthday. It’s almost as if we’ve added training wheels to social interaction. The warning labels of life have become alerts and reminders of events that are trivial, but the social custom still requires attendance or a comment. We don’t want anyone getting hurt and we don’t want anyone left out. We treat friendships online as actual interaction with meaning, allowing these interactions to develop character and feelings, which can be misconstrued and misrepresented with an awkwardly hilarious someecard posting.
It’s time for a social media diet, a reduction in the intake. We don’t realize how much we shape the things around us, but how we choose to interact and communicate determines how businesses target their advertising and marketing campaigns. What we post determines what topics news agencies focus on for delivering our nightly reports. Everything we do is reviewed and broken down for use by another, with the hopes that they will be able to capture our attention elsewhere. There is no innovation because we freely provide information, in truck loads, to others. We can affect change, but the first step is acknowledging the problem and when it occurred……May 1, 2007.