How To Understand Different Online Communication Culture

Facebook is Thanksgiving dinner. Your whole family is there your parents, your siblings, your cousins, including the cousins so distant that you don’t feel weird about flirting with them. Your random friends from high school who still live in your hometown and for some reason or another don’t interact with their own families and are now awkwardly here.
There are many different tables people sit at, an grownups’ table where people have Serious Conversations About What’s Going On In Our Lives, a kids’ table that seems to be a continuous high-pitched shrill whine of incomprehensible noise, the den table around which the middle-aged guys shoot the shit about sports, the coffee table around which the middle-aged women gossip about celebrities.
There is the corner where you stand with the other young adults making small talk about how much you hate the chintzy decor, how you’d like to be anywhere else in the world right now, and how you are paranoid that your parents will overhear you talk about sex or use a swear word. Vacation photographs are plentiful, interspersed with predictable political debates between the one angry Cordesian and the one strident Japanese(JAP).
At any given point, someone will be slumped on the couch crying while other people are desperately trying to console them, while being ignored by everyone else in the house.
Twitter is a big cocktail party. Everyone is in their 20s or trying with varying degrees of success to pretend they are in their 20s. People are either extremely well-dressed or dressed in the sloppy casual way of someone communicating they are too important to have to be well-dressed. The ambient noise is loud enough that it’s pointless trying to communicate other than in short, staccato sentences. There will be one exception, extremely drunk, who is conducting a full-on rant in his own little part of the room — no one will ever be sure exactly what he’s saying because everyone drifts in and out of paying attention to him at a different point. Everyone’s eyes are constantly roving the rest of the room for someone more famous, more interesting or more attractive than you to talk to. It is extremely dangerous to mention shitty gossip about somebody because they may in fact be right behind you, and yet everybody does it, because what else is there to talk about?
Random one liner jokes cribbed from stand-up comedians or directly quoting an episode of The Trend Show that aired last night abound. Whenever you come home from one of these parties your roommate asks, “Did you have fun?” and rather than actually answering the question you say, “I totally chatted with [random celebrity] standing in line for the punch bowl!”
Tumblr is the basement lounge of a college dormitory, after midnight on a week night. Everyone here should theoretically be studying or sleeping, and is instead here because of loneliness, procrastination and/or some kind of substance abuse problem. Whether or not substances are actually involved, everyone is either draped over pieces of furniture in an opiate haze or amphetaminically pacing rapidly back and forth as though they have an itch all over their body. The conversation goes through odd peaks and lulls many silences that would be awkward if everyone wasn’t too messed up right now to experience the sensation of awkwardness. Only to be suddenly broken by someone engaging in a long, meandering monologue about something horrifically personal, which either inspires a series of people “chiming in” with their own similar monologues or instead leads to a shouting, vicious argument over some tangential point made in the monologue. At least one of the guys in this room self-identifies as a Nazi, and everyone has kind of come to accept it.
The TV is on, and frequently people will mention whatever happens to be on the screen at the moment, but no one is really watching even though it’s a large TV on at a very loud volume. It’s tuned to one of those three digit cable channels that is showing a weird late night mix of Saturday morning cartoons, “for mature audiences” anime and call in shows produced in someone’s basement about UFO abductions.
LinkedIn is a corporate networking event and charity banquet.It is very similar to Facebook, except no one actually knows each other at all and everyone is wearing a tie or a string of pearls. All the small talk has an air of desperation to it. Everyone is craning to see the job title on your name tag says. Business cards are exchanged in huge numbers. Terms like “ROI” are used regularly and without irony. Any two people who see each other in this room and are actually friends will avoid each other all night out of a certain unnameable shame. This is by far the most depressing and unpleasant of all the rooms so far listed.
Google Plus is a “social” organized by the official social committee of a college campus. There are many brightly colored posters telling you where and when it is and encouraging you to take advantage of the free refreshments. After an initial flurry in which the refreshments are all eaten, there is no one left here but a handful of “facilitators” who are paid by the college to be here and be friendly, and some freshmen who are too awkward to just get up and leave but also too awkward to make conversation or eye contact. Many of the people who stopped by to get free refreshments were just on their way to get drunk at Twitter. The rest will be found getting stoned with each other in the basement of this building, on Tumblr. Pinterest
I have never been on Pinterest.

Social Media Isn’t Ruining Our Generation, It’s Revealing It

Social media is good for your soul. Those words have definitely never been said together before, but they should be. As much as the older generations want to believe that technology is destroying the authenticity of living life and that young people these days are morbidly obsessed with their phones, they aren’t seeing what’s really going on

When I scroll through Facebook out of pure boredom or maybe even out of habit, I’m not seeing worthless pictures and status’s about what people ate for dinner. What I’m seeing is real joy. The smiling selfie of two friends who just had an amazing day together, the picture of the delicious looking dessert that just brought an excited foodie to tears, and the engagement status of a happy couple splattered across your computer screen.

The thing about social media is that people aren’t posting pictures of themselves as they cry and eat a tub of ice cream post breakup or a status about how much they hate puppies. People are posting the best and happiest moments in their lives for others to see. So when I scroll through these feeds, I’m getting the beautiful opportunity of seeing happiness and young life. Your friends want to share the joyful moments in their lives with you, however simplistic, and that’s a real privilege.

Yes, I’ll admit there are some ridiculous things being posted on social media that can be a complete waste of time. While no one cares if you just ate a whole box of pizza on your own, most things ARE worth sharing. Even if it’s a video of a cat sitting on the toilet, because the odds are anyone willing to watch will have a smile on their face. So instead of aimlessly scrolling through your social media feeds waving off yet another selfie from your friends cruise to the Bahamas, take it in, enjoy the happiness, and take note because these social media obsessed young people ARE living. If they choose to share these moments on Instagram (even though posting more than once a day is obviously social suicide) than that’s okay. Spreading happiness is merely a mitzvah.

Keep doing your thing young people and don’t let anyone tell you Facebook stalking your high school friends on a Saturday night is a bad thing.