Do you, like me, occasionally find yourself scrolling down your facebook feed and getting thoroughly annoyed at pictures of babies, legs on beaches, gurning selfies with cocktails, inspirational phrases on pretty backgrounds, check-ins at every pub on the pub crawl or whatever it is that grinds your particular gears? Of course you do, we all do. However, do you ever take the time to think about the effect your own posts are having on other people? Of course you don't, nobody does.
As a pet owner, writer and musician, I am constantly bombarding people with pleas to read my crap, or listen to my songs, or just look at cute pictures of my Cats. In the same way as my eyebrows go up and I moan “oh for fuck's sake not another picture of a baby” I suspect the people posting the baby pictures think the same thing about these blog posts, and endless rewordings of the phrase 'please just listen to my song, it will only take you three minutes, you bastard'. I can't really blame them, especially since just today I was enough of a twat to post a picture of me in my new hat because I am so pleased with my new hat. I mean how self-absorbed do you have to be to think other people are going to give a shit that you got a new hat (5 likes and rising so far).
A lot has been said over the last year about the echo-chambers of social media. But mostly to do with politics, and the left in particular. There's also a baby echo-chamber, a pet echo-chamber, a pictures of your dinner echo-chamber and so on and so on. Luckily for you, there will always be people who like different things, and so your marathon posting of every song the new kids on the block ever did from youtube will find enough likes to convince you that people are enjoying it. I am not. I don't even enjoy people posting songs I do like from youtube in massive blocks of 5 or more. Other people seem to though, here's a really great song by the Trees, post this, and I might click like on it.
I know a lot of people are fond of the unfollow button to stop seeing all the baby pictures/right wing propaganda/keep calm and do something asinine pictures (seriously, if you don't know about the unfollow button, google it, you will be much happier). I'm not one of them, I like to see all of it, otherwise I will end up in an echo chamber of people who talk boring crap about guitars, comic books and save the whales left wing hippy shite. I like to see the right-wing propaganda, so I can challenge it a bit. I like to see the baby pictures (well, I don't, but it means I know who not to invite round for the next 18 years) and even the game invites let me know another thing about somebody (that they have nothing better to do with their time than keep a pretend farm, or throw birds at pigs, get a proper hobby). And surely the whole point of facebook is to know things about people so that we don't have to have conversations with them anymore?
Facebook are not making it easy for me these days, since they now seem to insist on showing me every picture that my friends have liked from their other friends, with not one toss given as to whether I know these other friends or not. This week is always a difficult one for those of us who aren't fans of gurning children in front of doors wearing freshly labelled school uniforms, as yet unripped or stained with the heady mix of grass, chocolate and other children's blood/snot/faeces that they inevitably will be. Especially when now we get to see the children of people we have never even met. Although I have to accept that my niece looked wonderfully psychotic in her first day at school photo this morning, so I am glad I don't have a children in school uniform filter fitted yet.
(Thanks to my Sister for letting me post that picture)
Strangely eloquent minions will always annoy me though, and you may get unfollowed for posting them. Possibly unfriended, I may even come to your house and slap you. I have never heard a minion utter a coherent phrase other than one of their own names, banana, or bottom, so the minions who are currently telling me that they are strong women who will cut me up like a muppet if I say anything mean about their friends/children/hamsters/bananas are a total mystery to me. I am occasionally tempted to start my own minion quotes account that just says 'bammely boonage, bap mee barappta binkydoo woonits, bottom' next to a picture of a grinning twinky wearing goggles.
I mean, seriously? I've seen everything the minions have done, I like them a lot, I even sing like them when I am drunk, but this is worse than bitstrips were.
I know that most of my friends list is a little lefty bubble of do-gooding-hippies, and that's good. But luckily it also has a smattering of casual racists, gun fanatics, smug capitalist fatcats and people I have never met and have no idea why they sent me a friend request (but you all seem lovely). This is even better, as it gives me a wider perspective on the human condition, and I don't even have to leave the house, or get into arguments in pubs anymore, I have not been punched in the face in over a decade for laughing at somebody's genuinely held beliefs now, which is lovely.
Next time you are wanting to strangle somebody who believes that the only way they can truly express themselves is by sharing a picture which is just some white writing on a black background that tells you how how crazy they are (I know how crazy you guys are already, you're crazy enough to express yourself through a black and white gif somebody else made in ten seconds, you mad fuckers you) remember that they think your kitten is a wanker, your band are shit and the pictures of you and your wife on the beach make you look fat.
By the way, listen to my new song, it's about my cat, it's quite funny, and it's only three minutes long.