Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Do you like social media?

Here’s an article in Vanity Fair: THE END OF THE SOCIAL ERA CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH

Will a future generation look back in 10, 20, or maybe 100 years from now and wonder, mystifyingly, why a generation of humans believed in these platforms despite mounting evidence that they were tearing society apart—being used as terrorist recruitment tools, facilitating bullying, driving up anxiety, and undermining our elections—despite the obvious benefits and facilitations they provide? Indeed, some of the people who gave us these platforms are already beginning to wonder if this is the case. Last month, I wrote a piece detailing how some early Facebook employees now feel about the monster they have created. As one early Facebook employee told me, “I lay awake at night thinking about all the things we built in the early days and what we could have done to avoid the product being used this way.”

I don’t find these concerns super-persuasive. [It would help if the author of this piece wrote with greater precision. Did anyone else stumble over “mystifyingly”? Obviously the author meant “mystified.” Also, I expect that probably the author meant “believed these platforms were harmless” or something like that.]

On the other hand, I just started using Facebook this year, plus I skim past and ignore all posts having to do with politics. Maybe I haven’t hit the “driving up anxiety” part yet.

Also, I’m aware that relatively well-designed studies appear to indicate that scrolling through Facebook exacerbates problems with depression, at least in some people. I have to ask myself: am I immune? Not spending enough time on Facebook to notice an effect? Unaware of the emotional effects I might be experiencing? … who knows.

Instead of big, impressive problems with Facebook, I have tiny, trivial problems! I will now do my part to solve those, thus putting off The End of Social Media, by offering the following FACEBOOK LAWS, which should immediately be followed by all users because even if they do not have the force of actual law, they should.

1) Do not EVER Share, Like or comment on any post that uses the phrase, “I bet this ________ can’t get 1000 Likes.” Let those blatantly manipulative posts die.

2) Do not EVER Share, Like or comment on any post that uses the phrase, “Comment Yes if you agree!” or anything similar. Even if you totally agree. Because, SAA.

3) Do not EVER Share, Like or comment on any post that shows a scared or upset animal that is supposed to be cute. That boxer being dragged through the snow comes to mind. If in doubt about whether the animal enjoyed the experience shown in the post, do your part to kill the post.

4) ALWAYS share wonderful videos of cute, happy animals, good people rescuing animals, and so on. Especially if you are my Facebook friend. I love those.

5) Despite what other people might have said in the past, you cannot post too many cute pictures of your pets or your children. Keep ’em coming!

6) When debating the eternal pit bull question, whichever side you are on, NEVER use the word “viscous” when you mean “vicious.” Double check before you hit post! If unsure, choose a different word. Declaring that pit bulls are / are not viscous makes you look like an idiot.

Also, btw, pit bulls are generally wonderful dogs! Of course a few individuals are pretty scary, but so are individuals of any breed (except Cavaliers, of course.)

Okay, if we wanted to take this to 10 Laws, what would the other four be? Anything that particularly annoys you on Facebook?

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6 Comments Do you like social media?

  1. Kootch

    – Do not share, like or comment on posts that say things like “your jaw will drop”. Do not presume to know what I will find jaw-dropping.
    – Do share photos of your last trip but limit to 7, max 12 photos. Only your most ardent friends or those who went on the trip with you will care enough to go through those 50+ photos. Do caption your photos.
    – If you’re in the habit of posting endless selfies of your face, STOP! Yes, you’re gorgeous but who knows how many of your friends have already blocked your posts from their newsfeed?

  2. Kristina

    Do not send impersonal “personal messages” to EVERYONE on your friends list, asking us to “keep the chain going.” Your cute gifs will stop with me… and I will stop reading messages from you.

  3. Rachel

    All excellent additions!

    I have another — never share those stupid posts that say things like, “Only people with IQs over 150 can score well on this quiz!”

    100% of the time, the questions on those quizzes are actually insultingly easy. I presume those quizzes exist so people will look at the ads in them, though I don’t know that anyone does look at the ads. I know I trained myself to look over and past them pretty fast.

  4. SarahZ

    The original post just sounds like an updated version of those sorts of “kids these days” rants about how some new medium for communication is going to destroy society. It’s really funny how they can find those rants in historical writings going almost as far back as we have written records.

  5. Pete Mack

    To answer the original question: sometimes. Twitter is OK. But I don’t like Facebook At All. It soooo brings out the manque capital-D Diarist in everyone. And it *really* encourages online Balkanization in politics (and elsewhere.)

  6. Rachel

    That’s interesting, Pete Mack. My perception is that Twitter is FAR more politicized than Facebook. That may be because I follow a lot of writers and so on with Twitter, but more relatives and personal acquaintances with Facebook.

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