In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”
264. “How Real Are You on Social Media?”
Well, I only use Instagram regularly, and Facebook once a week. Is this website social media?
I’ll admit, I use Facebook for it’s chat. If I’m texting, then I might be doing something else, and those conversations through SMS tend to get sparse, distracted. But on FB I can chat and scroll through cool posts and links and videos, as I side-eye the “typing” prompt under the other’s name; maybe I’ll have a tab open or two on something else, too, but generally I am facing the one direction, not distracted, and having a solid conversation on FB. So in that case, yes, since I like my conversations face-to-face, the next realest conversation is on Face…book. Plus, I’ve stared at a woman’s profile picture in the “online” sidebar and broken a sweat to type the first line. Real. Also, I’ve seen a buddy online, sent “bruh,” and in less than a minute, we’re both on Skype. Real. And, last, I’ve posted things by mistake, hit “share” instead of “share in private message.” I’ve had to be quick to delete those messages, and photos from albums I no longer want people to see me as. Real.
On Insta, I’ll post random things I see around me, stuff I would point out to a friend were we to be walking along the sidewalk or chilling at a train platform. As far as interacting, I sometimes go through days of scrolls in one sitting, and like every photo I see. Double tap, double tap, double tap. That’s pretty real, I suppose. I like the friends and accounts I follow, and I like to splash hearts on their photos. But it isn’t always red. Sometimes it’s green. I get “Instagram envy” from time to time, which feels pretty real. I’ll see a friend get 100+ likes on a selfie titled “Opps, just fell here on this grass” or something, and it’s funny, but I think, “Damn why don’t I get those kinds of likes.” I must take a step back, remind myself to breathe, and remember I don’t have that many followers to begin with (100 likes on one of my photos would be 50% of my follows liking my pic). I could unlock my private account, but then, that wouldn’t be so real. Intimate, friends and cool accounts, sincere. Yeah. Real. DMs are fun, too. It’s always a surprise. They give me a rush. That’s real.
I also post about these essays. And that’s real to me. Otherwise I don’t use social media to archive my life, or as a photo storage. I keep journals, and hard drives for pics. But that’s me.