I first thought this blog would be about why I hate Facebook, and then I spent the last 2½ hours reading other people’s blogs on WordPress, and everything became a jumbled mess of crap in my brain.
So I’ll just start from the beginning of my thought process and see where it goes.
Here’s my beef with Facebook.
I hate that certain features of the site make me feel like, “Welcome back to high school!” but not in that good, high-five-y, long-lost-friend reunion kind of way, but in a “Welcome back to feeling unpopular!” kind of way.
Perhaps that’s too harsh. High school wasn’t that bad.
Facebook is more like elementary school.
Elementary school is a place where demons disguised as cute children torment each other and get away with it because they’re not old enough to “know” what they’re doing. Granted, the little ones are mildly innocent (they might not understand social barriers like skin color, but they sure do notice [and point out] things like that ugly pimple on your forehead), but once they hit second or third grade, they know how to be cruel. In fifth grade there was a girl who called me to say that even though everyone else was invited to her birthday party that year, I was not. This was the same girl who, beginning in the third grade, whispered about me and made fun of me, and if by some miracle someone wanted to by my friend, she made it a point to pull them aside and tell them how un-cool I was.
Obviously I’ve let that go.
But that’s not the point. The point is that I blame elementary school for my weird (or perhaps normal) hypersensitivity to feeling excluded and unpopular.
Now: back to the wonderful world of social media!
During the years of MySpace, popularity was determined by the number of “friends” you had, or whether or not you made someone’s “Top Friends” list.
With Facebook, popularity is determined by how many people “like” your statuses,** or pictures, or posts.
**for Nikitas: statuses or statusi?
For example, I once posted a picture of myself jumping off of a bridge (with a bungy cord) and I was super excited because I got 50 likes, an all-time record, but then I saw someone post “I love burrito day!” and get 150 likes—I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.
Is it because those people have more friends than I do? Is it because their friends are way more into facebook than my friends? Or is it the dark, psychological truth that my friends don’t really like me as much as those other people’s friends like them?
[insert dramatic Dun Dun DUN]
Now, before you get all preachy and judgmental and say I’m just jealous and need to get a life because who cares what other people think, let me just say this: yes, that is true. And most of the time, I don’t care (to an excessive degree) what goes on on other people’s statuses. HOWEVER! Sometimes it does bother me, particularly when it comes to, say, blogging.
I’ve set up my blog so that it automatically posts my new entries to Facebook. I do this because I want people to, like, read my blog. I’m oddly proud of this thing, and I sometimes think I am funny, and I hope that if I write a publishable book someday, I will have a fan base of people who will want to buy it. I want the world to see what I’ve done and LIKE IT!
[I also blog because I enjoy writing, but you know the saying: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to read it or laugh out loud, does it really exist blah blah blah.]
So, here we have a situation where I have a blog that pops up on my Facebook page and sometimes I get a few likes or comments, and sometimes I get a few likes and comments on the blog itself, and normally I’m happy with this.
BUT THEN RECENTLY
I noticed some of my friends started blogging as well, and their blogs are posted on their wall, and they’re getting a lot more “like”s and “omg“s and “I’m totally following this!”s than I do.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy for them, and I follow some of their blogs because I think they’re clever and awesome and funny and deserve to be followed.
But some blogs I’ve looked at are slightly less impressive, in terms of content and writing ability and humor, and they’re still getting 105 likes, which makes me get all blood-boil-y and adrenaline rush-y and scream in a George Constanza like fashion, “WHY, GOD, WHY?!”
I’ve even resorted to tagging people in my “I have a new blog!” status, hoping that will encourage them to read it and share it with their friends (since they obviously have more responsive Facebook friends than I do), and even after manipulation tactics, I STILL don’t get as many responses as my other blogger friends’.
So, that’s where I was earlier this evening, simmering in my own pot of envy and projected self-loathing because no one cares about me, my writing sucks, I will never succeed, woe is me!
Then I started perusing WordPress’s “Freshly Pressed” blogs, the writing of people who exist beyond the scope of my Facebook friends list, and I realized there are so many writers out there. And all of those writers, despite the quality of their blogs (some good; some bad) are all doing what I’m doing, and they’re doing it better. I’ve been concerned about having five versus fifteen comments: these writers all have HUNDREDS of blog followers and commenters. It makes my friends and I look like small drops in a great big ocean of literary genius and floating garbage that exists on the internet.
That was my first observation.
My second observation was that some of the writers I read are really talented, and they have a great following, and they write consistently, all of which decrease my chances of having a literary agent find me, let alone liking me, and in a Liz Gilbert fashion offering me a book deal to spend a year overseas “finding myself.”
I may need to rethink my tactic for becoming a best-selling writer.
My third observation was that there are some extraordinarily negative people in this world.
While reading the “popular” blogs, I became more fascinated with the comments people had left than with the blogs themselves. A blog that I thought was totally awesome was torn apart by a viewer for “lacking originality and propagating unresearched facts.”
Who are you? My thesis advisor??
And then someone came along and tore that person apart, and the cycle perpetuated until there were insults hurled and “no, this is what she meant” and “that’s a great point, ass wipe,” and all sorts of uplifting opinions being shoved around.
I don’t understand why it’s necessary to be so rude. Isn’t there a more polite way of disagreeing with someone than calling her a selfish, lazy, millennium generational sellout? What happened to dialogue? Can’t we all just be friends?
This observation of rudeness actually began earlier this week when I received a mean comment from another blogger. She hatefully wrote that I’m stupid for the way I practice waitressing, despite the fact that she has never waitressed before, and told me that if I wanted to earn better tips, I shouldn’t suck so much at my job.
So, in an honestly polite response, I expressed that my blog was merely meant to describe how I thought it was unfair for people to judge waiters/waitresses for being “lazy” and “stupid” if they have never waitressed before because it’s a harder job than people think (anyone see the irony here?).
Her reply to that was to call me an IDIOT (all caps) and SOMEONE WITH NO ABILITY TO READ.
Hmm. She must know I got into Dartmouth on my good looks.
So I started to get all blood-boil-y again and fist shaky, and I wanted to Freaky Friday exchange with her on a busy Saturday night so SHE could understand what it’s like to be a server when we don’t have time to eat or drink or take a pee break for TWELVE HOURS, and the sink area is flooded and we run out of glasses and soy sauce and ice and ramekins and dishes break and there are no food runners or bussers or napkins or clean forks.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO NOW, MISS KNOW-IT-ALL????
I chose not to respond at all. But for someone who cares so much about what other people think (do people like my writing? are they reading my blog? DO THEY THINK I’M FUNNY??), it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow if I do wind up with a hundred commenters telling me how awful I am in every way.
So…do I prefer to be hated or ignored?
But there’s more to this blogging epiphany than how people respond to me; my criticisms are just as negative. Who am I to say someone “doesn’t deserve” to have readers and I do? Why spend time hating on others when I should just be focusing on myself?
It goes back to why we write. If I’m writing because I want to have a following, I’m never going to make it. I’ll change my style and try to cater to everyone, and in the end, do a terrible job and be upset that I’ve failed. I’ve got to write first and foremost for me, and if I’m the only one laughing, so be it.
If a tree falls in the forest, let me be the one to hear it.