The Interwebs: We’re All So Cute and Peppy!

RolandhedleyMan, the Interwebs certainly has changed our lives since Al Gore got the idea all those years ago.

Now with Twitter and FaceBook, people know where you are.  Every day.  All the time.

They know what you’re doing, what you’re not doing, and what you should be doing.  And, unless you’re fabricating a w-a-a-a-a-y more interesting life than you really have (and it happens right here in Romanceland, I believe) they know when you’re not exercising, not working, not sleeping, and not getting any.

We all make cute quips, witty observations, and seriously profound profundities.  All in 140 characters or less.

I tweet (and sometimes I twit) about five times a day.  Except when I don’t. I try to update my FaceBook page a few times a week. Except when I don’t.

But here’s the thing.  I’m not always in the mood to make cute quips, witty observations, and seriously profound profundities.  But there is relentless pressure on Twitter to do all those things.

I also spend way more time than I’m going to admit here reading tweets.  I’ll get lost clicking from one person to another until I suddenly come to my senses and realize that an hour has passed.  And often – and I know I’m not alone here – it’s an hour that somebody is paying me to be doing something else.

Garry Trudeau, whose brilliant tweets as Roland Hedley have now been collected in a book, deleted his Twitter account. From what I’ve read (and there’s not much out there on the subject), he got tired of the pressure.

He was the best and brightest of us.  And he went down.

I understand where he’s coming from.  I miss his freakin’ tweets, but I understand.

My point – and I really do have one – is that I think that we have segued way too far into Too Much Information Land. Everybody’s lives can’t be cute and peppy and adorable all the time. Sometimes you’re sick. Sometimes you’re depressed. Sometimes you’re angry. And sometimes you just don’t freakin’ feel like being cute.  And forcing yourself to fake cute and wacky and funny and profound when you’re not feeling it can’t be a good thing.

We’ve always had to wear social masks.  Now we’re expected to wear them 24 hours a day.

Sometimes you need to descend into a cave for a while.  Unplugging can be a good thing.  A really good thing. But it’s so far out of the realm of possibility for most of us, it’s not even funny.

And then there’s this:  Sometimes you need to freakin’ forget that you have an audience.

The infamous case of the mom tweeting her son’s drowning death in near real time is just the saddest instance of someone seriously out of whack. When you are living virtually every moment of your life – and in many cases it’s gone that far – thinking about everything in terms of how to spin it into 140 character sound bites for your fans, your priorities need readjusting. Big time.

– Sandy AAR

8 thoughts on “The Interwebs: We’re All So Cute and Peppy!

  1. Kara

    Wow…if something that tragic happened to one of my kids…I know that the first thing running through my mind would NOT be “I have to get on Facebook and post about this”…That is too tragic. Yes, priorities need readjusting.

    Fantastic post…got me thinking.

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  2. Donna Lea Simpson

    This is one reason I have resisted the serious pressure on a novelist to Twitter. I foresaw the daily, minute-by-minute pressure I would feel, and I take obligations seriously. I am on Facebook, even though I loathe it with a white hot passion. I was even contacted – seriously – by the BBC to be on a radio show as representing those who dislike Facebook.

    They contacted me at 8 PM Christmas Eve. I didn’t get the email until several days later. I take time out from the web on holidays and every Sunday not because I’m religious, but because I just need to get away from the social media thing. I had begun to think I must be surly by nature, but I’m not, really!

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  3. Victoria S

    I joined facebook because my brother (younger) encouraged me to. I quit facebook because I had zero interest in reading about what my friends and family were doing via cyberspace.
    I found Shelfari and was happily shelving my books and my opinions of same ( I’ve always wanted to know how many books I own and which ones I REALLY love, as to those I only claim to love) when I was invited to become a “friend” of someone I don’t even know. I have not been back to Shelfari since. (I was up to 309 books by the way, and 289 favorites ).I am not anti-social, really I’m not. But I grew up in a generation where spoken word was the form of communication we loved. I like to talk…I like to hear others talk. If I wanted to type all day I would have become a court reporter :).Texting–2 is my max—after that I’m calling you or just ignoring further texts.
    Pick up the phone, get in your car and drive over, meet me at Mickey D’s for coffee, leave me a voice mail, let’s meet at Cheesecake Factory for a decadent dinner and dessert. Make time for each other.

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  4. xina

    I joined Facebook when my daughter studied abroad in Australia. I got to see her fantastic pictures posted a few times a week. In the beginning, my only friends were her friends. They all friended me, but really, what can I talk to a bunch of 20 and 21 year olds about day after day? So, it got slow, but it has picked up a bit since then. I now have more friends… who are slightly older than 20. heh.
    As for Twitter, sometimes, I wonder…who really cares that I’ve just made a sandwich, or that it’s now snowing outside. I do it anyway, and am still enjoying Twitter.

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  5. Robin

    The other day my 14-year-old nephew called me a Luddite. Frankly, I was more impressed he knew the term and what it means than with all the wonders of Facebook and tweeting he insisted on showing me. My laptop was stolen last May (no personal info/files on it, thank goodness!); I haven’t replaced it and haven’t missed it a bit. I don’t text on my cell phone either; I want to at least hear a real voice.

    I really do appreciate how technology can bring us into closer contact with others, help us find new friends and learn new things, give us hours of mindless enjoyment, and help us pay those pesky bills on time on-line and on-time. I love how my 94-year-old grandma is so excited to e-mail me everyday, and I already spend more time on the Internet than I should!

    I hear my friends and their kids gripe about how much time/work it takes to keep updating their Facebook or how they are tired of hearing the littlest (non)details of their friend’s lives. Why take on that frustration and sense of obligation if I don’t have to?

    I guess I just enjoy the personal touch and personal conversation more; even if it means I have forced my sister’s kids and their friends to actually go outside, walk four blocks, and sit down for a face-to-face conversation with their favorite (only!) aunt before I let them play with the Wii.

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  6. Blythe

    I enjoy twitter now and then, but am NOT the best twitterer. Tweeter? When I got on tonight, I noticed my last tweet was 15 days old. So it';s a very occasional thing for me.

    Facebook is a different story. I totally love it. I love the idea that I can see pictures and know what’s going on with virtually everyone I’ve ever met. And people I’ve never met in real life, but are nonetheless an important part of my life (hey, I’ve worked on the internet since 1998).

    That said, I completely get your point about the pressure. I admit to being a status snob. I try to be cute, witty, and interesting. Or at least sound that way. And I do kind of roll my eyes when someone posts something boring like, “Gotta make dinner now”. We already know you gotta make dinner now, because you gotta do that every night. At least tell me what you’re making or something.

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