Social Media, Spambots and my Existential Crisis

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I’m a little surprised if anyone still follows this, but I guess that’s appropriate since I’m about to talk about cause and effect in social media.

I recently unfollowed a lot of accounts on social media–on wordpress, Tumblr, Facebook, and instagram. I mean, that’s not anything new. People follow and unfollow each other on social media all the time. The thing is, I needed to do it because it was messing with my head.

I had been very unhappy with social media for a while (which isn’t too much of a stretch considering how the last two classes I taught were about social media, blogs, bloggers and internet life), but it became very troubling to me when I started to take things very personally. I don’t have a social media platform (something I used to roll my eyes at because my former advisor in my former Ph.D program used to extol the benefits of it and how it’s necessary for me–made me want to develop one even less, but I digress) because I don’t quite take myself seriously. I don’t take myself super seriously online nor do I do it offline, so when I’m being particularly vulnerable and when I’m being particularly serious, it can be…particular.

Long story short, my dad died this past December. I needed to talk to someone but I didn’t want to talk about it on Facebook because of how public it is, so I chose to post on Instagram about it. This is the post:

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-10-36-41-pm

This was the support I needed at the time with people who are close to me commenting and reaching out to me (few people had my Instagram account). However, that’s when the spambots and those trying to be internet famous came in—

I started getting a lot of likes on the image, it was my most recent image after all, and they were accounts ranging from anywhere from yoga and fitness blogs to fashion blogs and media blogs. These people had no history of following me and they were only clicking “like” on my most recent image because I had clicked “like” on a bunch of posts from said yoga, fitness, fashion and media blogs.

These were done because they were trying to get me to follow them. They wanted me to subscribe. To be one of their numbers.

It was annoying, sure–then the comments came in.

“Cool pic, bro! Follow for follow!” -from an “international fashion blog.”

“WOW!!!” -from a singer/actress now performing with Postmodern Jukebox

“LOL COOL PIX!” – a yoga studio instagram.

It enraged me and broke my heart at the same time. The callousness and inconsideration of these accounts who didn’t see each of those posting as a person but just a number to add on to their follow account. If they had read the caption or fuck, even looked at the picture, maybe they’d gain some sort of inkling that this something that shouldn’t be spammed–but I mean, like I said. Spambots and Internet Famous.

I unfollowed a lot of accounts after this but what happened to me wasn’t the only reason why–it was getting to much for me.

A lot of the accounts I followed talked about “Seizing your destiny” and “living life” all with backdrops of exotic locales and featuring each of the models in expensive clothing and situations. I couldn’t take it. I mean, it’s a lot like make up tutorials. I watched a few with one of my friends and how they all use super expensive make up. If you’re going to use said make up–maybe you should know how to use it, yes?

Script for Make up Tutorial:

Step one: Have a large disposable income.

Step two: apply to face.

Right?

Anyway, so now I try to look for quality and self-awareness. I’m going to see about showcasing some of those that I really dig, like Tim Melideo, a photographer who offers more than pictures (pet peeve, “blogs” where the entry is just a picture and nothing more without context or information, just a “artsy” title). He offers advice, some advertising (which, I mean work is work) and insights into his artistic process (and his own photography is cool).

TL;DR: I had to try to reclaim social media because otherwise, I’d be torn between the “you do you” and “fuck your privilege” thoughts that kept going back and forth through my head as I scrolled my feed.

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3 thoughts on “Social Media, Spambots and my Existential Crisis

  1. Sorry to hear about your dad. Mine died a month or so before my 21st birthday, and while we had a complicated relationship, it was still hard.

    I’m with you on social media. Since the election, I’ve been pulling away a lot more on it. I’m just…kinda done…with aspects of it, you know?

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