Social Media sites offer endless ways to connect with friends, family, co-workers, and just about everyone in between. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram in particular are excellent means of letting your “friends” know what you’ve been up to, how you’re feeling, what you’re eating, who you’re with, how you feel about Beyoncé, how you wish you were Beyoncé, how you’ll NEVER BE BEYONCÉ… you get the idea. Social network sites (or SNSs as Nancy Baym writes) can be great tools when you want to be brought closer into the lives of people you care about. Weren’t able to make it to Nana’s for a Saturday barbecue? No problem! Your mom has generously uploaded 58 pictures of the food, guests, and blurry photos of the floor that she still does not know how to delete. Looks like you didn’t miss out after all. This is all thanks to “disembedding,” which Don Slater describes in “Social Relationships and Identity Online and Offline” as “the irrelevance of geographical position to internet communication.” You can be anywhere in the world and share or view posts from any of your connections. The point I’m making here is that you can easily share just about anything with anyone, which can be both a blessing and a curse. This brings me to my social media pet peeve: complainers.
Facebook and Twitter should be used to share exciting news, interesting thoughts, or important moments… pretty much anything relevant to you or your online connections is acceptable to post. You see, however, there are some people out there who solely use these sites as outlets for their “first world problems.” These users consistently post about their terrible day, which revolved around the misspelling of their name on the side of their Pumpkin Spice Latte (glad they’re back by the way). I mean really? How dare that barista not know Spenc8er has a silent “8”? The only thing that annoys me more than people who actually complain about things like this are people who continue to share these “tragic” moments online.
It’s too cold out? It’s too hot out? Your waiter forgot to give you a fork?
I’m blown way by some of the tweets I read. From the “I hate my parents for…” tweets to the “My life is over because…” pictures, I’m honestly shocked at how whiney and ridiculous these people are. If only they knew how upset I was that Juice Generation ran out of kale right before they ordered!!! How do I properly express my sympathy for someone who just saw an actual spider in their house? Hallmark should have cards for things like this.
Some Twitter accounts are completely filled with complaints about how their hair is reacting to the rain outside, or how their designer clothes from Italy are taking too long to ship, or how they had to walk up four flights of stairs because the elevator stopped working. Its comical in some respects, but in others, its just plain sad! In some ways, SNSs can be therapeutic to those people who need to release their feelings, but tweeting seven times in a row about how much you hate the person who stole your parking spot seems a little over the top. My opinion about the actual person behind these posts quickly changes after I read them. I can’t help but wonder if they think they are portraying themselves in a positive light, or if they care at all. This reminds me of Judith Donath’s “Sociable Media,” and her comments on identity.
“Identity is at the core of all social interactions. We care about how others perceive us and devote considerable energy to conveying our own identity. Our perception of other’s identity is an essential context for understanding their words and actions, for knowing what sort of behavior to expect from them and how to act towards them, and to understand what their role in our lives might be.”
I agree with Donath in that we care about how other people perceive us, so when I see these cringe-worthy tweets, I can’t help but wonder why they posted them in the first place. Do these people think others enjoy reading their complaints? Do they want me to express concern over the fact that their refrigerator sometimes makes a humming noise? Why is that even tweet-worthy?
There are even some people who share a little too much information about their problems, ranging from odd bodily concerns to the gross habits of their little brother. It’s completely fine to share interesting occurrences, but making a huge deal out of small issues and asking for pity in return is just out of line. There are so many people who would kill to say that having a lot of schoolwork is their biggest problem at the moment. Part of the reason I am so annoyed by this behavior is that these people don’t realize how lucky they are. Having “sent via smartphone” under their rant is a privilege in itself; instead of focusing on the low points of their day, these people should highlight the positives. Additionally, everyone has their own issues to deal with; reading about other people’s is not at the top of their to-do list.
When I log on to Facebook or Twitter, I like to see the positive parts of my friends and family members’ lives. Whenever I see pictures, videos, or status updates about their problems, I can’t help but think that they’re just looking for sympathy. It’s not always the case, there are some justifications for posting about serious issues that you’re facing, but sharing obnoxious complaints is just plain annoying. Thank you for reading all of my complaints about these persistent complainers.