There’s been a lot of talk about social media: There’s too much of it, we’re too reliant on it and it runs our world. However, I feel focusing on its implications is too much like writing a 10-page research paper for communications class and too little like observing a trend that’s as natural to us as putting on pants. I’ve decided to explore who the people most captivated by social media are and why those people choose to post statuses about loving their friends (Facebook), blurbs showcasing how witty they can be in 140 characters (Twitter), faded pictures and song lyrics (Tumblr) or faux wedding photos for marriages with guys they’ve never met (Pinterest).
Facebook has been a social media staple for as long as I can remember, though my memory only goes as far back as when Myspace stopped being cool. Most know it as a place where users gather to chat, post inside jokes, share embarrassing pictures and make relationship statuses publically known. More recently, it’s become a place where users post cat videos and check into every place they’ve ever been, whether it be the ARC to “get swoll” or in bed with a pint of rocky road ice cream. Facebook is a place for stalkers and the people who ask to be stalked by displaying every moment of their lives underneath this virtual microscope.
Twitter is aptly named, involving flighty, fleeting words from users who fall into two categories: birds that chirp too often with songs others don’t want to hear and birds with chirps so sparse and intermittent, they’re easily forgotten. I’m not entirely sure which I prefer. Every once in a while, the bird that chirps too often releases a relevant or witty tweet. Sometimes, the bird that seldom chirps even perks up, happily reminding me I don’t have to tweet all the time to get my point across. But at the end of the day, it seems Twitter is still a place for birds.
Tumblr is about a much deeper, emotional connection. You can learn a lot about someone through his or her Tumblr account. Some use it as a blog, sharing insights and insecurities. Others use it as a vehicle to post pictures that look like they came straight from Instagram, while posting song lyrics that liken their lives to Greek tragedies. Sure, there are a few legitimate posts that relate to real life. In reality, Tumblr is a place for people convinced they’re stuck in Shakespearean love stories.
Pinterest is a newer social media trend. Though its purpose varies, it seems the majority of Pinterest users have honed in on the site as a place to collectively shop for dream houses, plan imaginary weddings and search for recipes they will never cook. There are fiancée-less women who search for wedding dresses after completing three-hour marathons of “Say Yes to the Dress.” Then there are those with fiancées who hope their significant others won’t discover their habit and judge the massively detailed lists they’ve acquired. There are also those who could be considered gourmet cooks by the looks of their Pinterest boards, though they have more experience with boxes of Betty Crocker than fresh bags of flour. No matter what category users fall under, Pinterest is a place for dreamers and optimists.
Let me set the record straight: I am not judging anyone based on his or her social media outlet of choice. All I’m saying is, sometimes we should sit back and decide what we want to be — a Facebook stalker, a chirping bird, a Shakespearean love story or a Betty Crocker gourmet.
— Bree Lutjens is a public relations freshman.