I’ve hijacked at least four conversations in the past year with a monologue about Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, and whatever other social-media sites there are that encourage people to document their lives in steady dribs and drabs. Specifically I like to talk about how, thanks in part to the format of these sites, fewer and fewer people are doing meaty, longform journaling these days. “And don’t you think that’s kind of too bad?” I usually ask, leaning in and making really insane eye contact with my interlocutor/victim.
With my WordPress blog, my twelve years of archives (lol wtf), and my almost total lack of a presence on any of the aforementioned social-media sites, it is pretty obvious that what I really mean to say is “and don’t you think that’s kind of too bad how so few people are like me?” I also realize that whether or not people are writing multiple paragraphs about their lives, on the internet, on a regular basis, is possibly the most uninteresting, least conversation-worthy effect that Facebook et. al. is having on our lives. But I am usually kind of drunk when I launch myself on this rant, helplessly sloshing my drink around while I gesture, and even though I always want people to come back with “oh my god you’re right” or “you are so stupid and wrong and I will tell you why,” nobody ever really has anything to say, besides “oh” or “I guess” or “you’ve tried to talk with me about this before, and it’s still boring.”
I bring this up because I think this has been the longest break I’ve taken from blogging, ever, in my adult life (again lol), and this is not because I’ve started posting mad gifs on Tumblr, or because I’ve been writing detailed status updates on Facebook, or because I’ve been pouring myself and my creative energies into tweeting.* So I was wrong, microblogging and social media are not sapping our collective willingness to sit down and write and reflect at length, or even sapping my willingness to do these things. Most people, normal people, see the value and fun in using social media to actively share their lives with other people, bit by bit. I, on the other hand, will just be over here, in my own little spiderhole, mumbling long rambling things to myself every few months or so, because apparently that’s the way I like it.
*Will I ever do these things? Every once in a while I read something that mentions the correct way to use social media — sharing interesting links and articles in addition to posting things about your life; commenting; playing games with your friends, basically doing anything besides being a silent lurker, slipping deeper and deeper into jealousy-induced malaise — and I wonder whether I should attempt to do these things, whether I should be more well-adjusted and participatory on the internet in general and social media in particular. But then I realize that would mostly just involve me posting endless links to New Yorker articles with the caption, “Interesting” (and this would be in addition to how I start every other sentence IRL with “Oh that reminds me of that article in the New Yorker last week,” which is already pretty unbearable for me, and I’m not even the one who has to listen to myself). I mean: I am really, really bad at coming up with funny things to say in comments or tweets; my cell phone pictures are always ugly and depressing; I don’t think I’m ever going to get into playing games (unless they’re like brain-fitness games, because I was reading about that in the New Yorker recently and it was really interesting and lololol help me, I can’t stop).
So, hello again, blog. How have you been. Sorry I’ve been away. I’ve been thinking, and working, and making a gif or two: