I wasn’t a popular kid in high school. I had friends, but I didn’t play sports, wasn’t in the band and didn’t do the usual teenage stuff on the weekends. I don’t remember ever being bothered by it though.
Fast forward twenty years, social media keeps coming up with new ways to connect to old friends, make new ones and basically just stalk whoever you want without them ever knowing (unless of course you accidentally click like on their page or that dreaded “add friend” button.) I remember when I first got a Myspace account. I saw that someone I had gone to school with had one so I sent them a friend request. How exciting when they accepted it, and I was ecstatic when I got my first friend request. I wasn’t sure at first about adding my life details, and to be honest, some days I’m still not. Myspace quickly fazed out for me after I was introduced to Facebook. Mind you, at first there were very few people I knew that had a Facebook account. I wasn’t really on it to make friends anyway and I quickly found a game that I was addicted to. It was one of those add more friends, get more cool stuff games. My husband despised me playing the game, but I just couldn’t stop. By the time I stopped playing, I had over a half dozen accounts that I used to basically cheat the game. It was about this time that people I knew started getting accounts so my online time was spent using the site as it was meant.
Then came twitter, instagram, etc. It became easier to see if someone unfollowed you, and easier to stalk without being noticed since most people don’t guard their privacy on those sites. Post a picture? Sure! Oh wow, it got 7 likes! wait, who is “imacriminal”? Why did they like my vacation picture? I especially like that you can get apps to tell you when someone unfollows you on some sites. This is the point where I realized that social media had gotten into my head. I caught myself unfollowing people who unfollowed me. That’ll show em! Then I realized that I somehow started associating social media with my self worth. As though someone removing me from their page or unfollowing me meant I was a reject in some way. Dear lord! It’s high school all over again!
Luckily for me, I have a teenage daughter who will tell me I’m being irrational about these things. She has admitted that if she posts a picture or status and not many people like it, she will delete it. That seems like perfectly normal behavior…for a teenager. The sad part is, I have done the same. We have discussions about friend requests we get from people that we are pretty sure dislike us. We analyze such requests in great detail, too. I guess some would consider this bonding, while others would consider it insanity.
Perhaps I should thank social media, but I’m not certain this is what I meant when I said I wanted to feel like a teenager again…