In middle school, I always thought it was cool if someone had an email account or instant messaging. MySpace was apparently big, then Facebook and all these other crazy social networking sites. Until my junior year of high school, I didn’t have any of this. It was at the ripe age of 16 going on 17 that I created my first email account with Yahoo! and set up my Facebook profile. I wonder if going back in time to warn my younger self about the dangerous slope that is social media would be enough to keep me away… The way my life can’t escape my various social media ties suggests otherwise.
At final count, I’m embarrassed by the number of online accounts I hold. I have email accounts with Yahoo!, Google and my university. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. I have accounts with Pandora and Spotify, which are music services that are connected with my Facebook account to allow friend-to-friend sharing and comparing. I have accounts with photo-sharing sites like Flickr, Shutterfly and Photobucket. Even Hulu is trying to use Facebook for more interaction on their site, such as commenting directly on certain scenes in television shows.
Social media has encroached on all of my internet activity. I can’t read an interesting article without tweeting the link. I can’t watch a movie trailer and not post it on Facebook. If I tell Pandora I like a song, it lets my friends see that I approve that track. Hanging out with friends turns into a live-tweeting bonanza. What’s worse is that I’m used to it. I’ve become so desensitized and addicted to this overly-connected world, that I can’t put down my phone without checking at least three social-networking apps.
Today, this obsession got even more involved. I was introduced this afternoon to Klout, a social media “grading” site. They determine my influence over others through the use of Facebook and Twitter. Apparently, I’m a “conversationalist,” as defined here:
I have no idea how this definition of my social networking personality will affect my life, but I know I will most likely visit Klout often to see if it has changed. Not only am I obsessed with social media, but now I’m obsessed with how obsessed I am as compared to others. I wish I could go back to high school, before this madness started for me. Instead, I will continue live-tweeting funny things my friends say and posting trailers for movies I want (or really, really don’t want) to see. Is it really a curse if it’s fun?