Be Social

November 7, 2013 

"I find it ironic that all of the things I do to feel healthy and young make me feel old and achy." -Me, Via Facebook

If you were my friend on Facebook, you would have access to pearls of wisdom like this on an almost daily basis. Much as I would like to think that everything I share through social media is a spectacular, special gem, I have to confess that half of what I post is probably drivel. Yes, frequently I am overtaken by the urge to post pictures of things that I’m eating. Which would be bad enough if it was the actual food; occasionally it is an empty bowl. In my defense, the hummus left such a beautiful smear of color on the sides of that white bowl. People pay thousands of dollars for paintings done by cats, who’s to say what constitutes art?

In 1949, George Orwell wrote the iconic novel 1984, about the ever present “Big Brother” who watched over everyone with cameras and other surveillance systems. It envisioned a future where there was no such thing as personal privacy and all of our thoughts were monitored. Does that sound familiar? Of course, I doubt the book would have seemed as ominous if the villian had a silly name like Google. Other than that, it’s downright eerie how Mr. Orwell had everything correct except the time frame. In 1984, the government wasn’t able to track much through a giant brick phone, Ms. Pacman or a Rubick’s Cube. Although, I will say that I once was convinced my freshmen English teacher had a webcam hidden in her shoulder pads.

Perhaps the most mind boggling inaccuracy of all was that our current gross invasion of privacy comes not so much at the hands of our government, but from our own hands. Literally. As I type this, I’m aware of how much information I have given out about myself through social media – in my case, Facebook – in just the last week. It wasn’t anything too private or important in this case. At least I’m pretty sure the Department of Homeland Security will not be on high alert because of my photo of crushed up Oreo’s embedded in chocolate pudding made to look like mud. They may however take a slight pause at the sugar cookies I made to look like fingers sticking out of said mud, but I’m still relatively confident that the CIA hasn’t opened a dossier on me ... yet.

For those of you who have not discovered the wonderful time suck that is Facebook and a cell phone camera, I assure you that you are missing out on all sorts of important things. I will now show my contempt for you through the use of modern hieroglyphs, otherwise known as emoticons. See how my brow is furrowed and my mouth is flatlining? I believe that says it all. The sooner you learn to speak Emoticoneeze, the better able you will be to communicate with the people of the future. I am convinced that one day our vocal cords will become a useless appendage, much like our appendix. We’ll still have them, we just won’t know what purpose they served.

"I’m thinking about putting a new sign up at the end of our work aisle: YOU MAY FEED US...JUST DON’T TOUCH US." -Me, Via Facebook

Another thing that requires special care is how you word things about your work place. In other words, before you get a Facebook page, make sure everyone in your Human Resources Department understands your sense of humor. My boss, who I’ll call “Melissa” refuses to be my friend on Facebook. I’m not sure if this is for her protection or mine. At any rate, you just have to know how to word things so they can’t be used later in a court of law. When I was in school, we were always threatened with the prospect of things going on our permanent record. Like the Boogeyman and Santa Claus, I believe this was a ruse to keep us in line. Not anymore. Social media has become a very real “permanent record”.

When a friend of mine told me that she despises vague posts, I reminded her that ambiguity allows you to vent whenever you need to. For instance, I might post something like, “Some people. If they only knew”. It speaks volumes, but says nothing definitive. If I were to post, “I wonder if my boss realizes that you should always wear a helmet when you play contact sports”, it’s possible that could be taken in a negative light. If I posted the comment, “Lucy needs to shut her mouth before I remove her vocal cords and strangle her with them”, that could be evidence for the prosecution. See how that works? It’s all relative. (About that last post, just for the record, I don’t actually know anyone named Lucy.) When in doubt, just put a smiley face icon at the end of every post. Everyone knows you can do anything if “you’re just kidding”.

"It is so cold in my office, the menopausal women are shivering. " -Me, Via Facebook

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