Monday, December 2, 2013

Product Prodding

"The 'Free' Model" by geek & poke

This image goes around every once in a while. The characters in the comic are similar to any conversation we have about social media. Along the way someone added text that said: “FACEBOOK AND YOU: If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer. You’re the product being sold.”
I know that some people never disconnect from social media, but I do. I don’t use a facebook or twitter app on my phone. I only access the websites from my computer. I feel like if I do allow those things to be a touch away on the mini computer in my pocket, that I’ll never put it down. There are lots of jokes about how people today never look away from their phones, and about how a social night is a bunch of friends getting together to sit in the same room and text each other. And although I do use the internet access to look information up during conversations sometimes, I don’t want to be one of those people staring at a tiny screen when there are actual humans in the room to talk to.
If an animal were lying on its side, refusing food and water, the one caring for it would gently prod it, show it food, offer it water, call a veterinarian, and generally do everything they could to make sure that the product they were preparing for sale would be healthy. This explains the email-per-day I got from social media sites while I was on vacation. In a ten day period, I got seven emails from twitter, four from facebook, and even one from Google+, which I have been ignoring for quite a while longer than ten days.
Twitter was the most concerned. “Are you okay?” it asked. “Do you know any of these people? Would you like to follow them?”  Facebook just shouted intermittently, “HEY, YOU HAVE NOTIFICATIONS PENDING.” It was playing very hard to get. “You can come and look at them or whatever, I guess I don’t care either way.” Google+ was like, “Uh, oh yeah… some stuff happened. Wait, do you even have an account?”
A few days later, twitter, wearing its heart on its sleeve and surprised at my lack of response, tried to coax me back: “You know these people whose tweets you love to read have been tweeting, and you haven’t been reading their tweets, right?” And finally, after failing to immediately pay attention to it, it started alerting me that people I was following were retweeting things, the social media equivalent of calling your ex and hanging up when her mom answers. Really, twitter? Are you that desperate?
Calm down, social media. I’ll be back. But it will be when I want to, and not because you jumped up and down and waved your arms around and begged me to come back. It’s not going to hurt me to not know what some celebrities are saying on twitter or not to see pictures of everyone’s Thanksgiving dinner on facebook. Vacations are for getting away from your everyday life, and for me, that meant that I was leaving social media behind for a couple of days. And next time I go on one, I’ll be sure to ignore my email, too.

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