Earlier today, I was looking online for some FYD-inspiration. Instead, I ended up trolling the big thought-piece websites (Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Jezebel, and the like) for a solid hour. After digesting the mass load of lists about what I should do in my 20’s, things I should tell my BFF like RN!!, who I should have sex with, and how I can learn to let go of an ex, I couldn’t help but take a step back and realize: we really do eat this shit up like candy. We read content (which, might I add, The FYD even contributes to) that is so empty yet so fulfilling. All right, maybe “empty” isn’t the right word. But it’s stuff we already know–it’s stuff we already feel. We love the internet because it puts into words what, often, we cannot.
My best friends and I are currently dispersed around the country. 50% of our communication is laced into the cutesy articles we Facebook message back and forth on a daily basis. Finding a new one that no one’s sent yet is like finding a puzzle piece or a love letter. These articles, posts, or whatever you’d like to call them, help us confirm and communicate what we’re feelin’. Guess what? Now, we don’t even have to hide behind our iPhone screens to send a passive-aggressive iMessage. We can just send a “20 things” list! If you’re feeling risqué, you can even send an open letter.
Though I can’t really imagine myself ever being passive-aggressive, I love this internet phenomenon almost as much as I love a good pair of overalls. If you don’t feel like joining the movement, I’ll sum up the best of the best for you. Here’s a round up of everything you really need to know about love, dating, sex, and being 20-something as told to you by millennials who write the stuff that always comes up on your Facebook newsfeed:
- Only your true best friend knows when you’re pooping, and how good, bad, or average it was.
- Loneliness makes us make some pretty bad decisions.
- Not every person you’re with has to be someone you want to be with forever.
- Sometimes, binge eating is necessary and ok. But when you binge, there is always an underlying reason for it, and that usually means something’s not ok.
- Everything happens for a reason.
- For some people, eating 4 slices of cake is something you should definitely do. For other people, it isn’t. Just do what makes you happy.
- Pay attention in class.
- We are born alone, and we die alone, so it’s ok to be alone sometimes. Actually, it’s really good.
- Finding “the one” only matters if you find him or her at the right time.
- It’s hard, but often necessary, to unlove someone.
- You know you’re really close with someone if you can sit in silence together.
- Nobody cares when you subtly complain about how little you ate.
- You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
- You also really don’t have to wear so much makeup.
- When women are alone, they do not wear pants.
- When a friend asks you about her outfit, be honest.
- And even though the internet is throwing all of this advice at you, telling you how you should feel about being alive, remember that you have a gut (regardless of whether or not you ate the four pieces of cake) and first and foremost, you should always go with that.
I’ve gotten so used to the shame that comes with Facebook stalking, I subconsciously avoid directly addressing it in posts.
Well, people, it’s time.
Facebook stalking is something everyone does. Naturally, then, there’s no reason for it not to be addressed. It is as unavoidable as me getting my period for the first time in the middle of my hiking trip during sleepaway camp–in other words, it is unavoidable as f***. If we’re all Facebook stalking, then there must be a reason why. Though the practice is mindless in itself and only requires the clicking of a mouse every couple of seconds (next photo, next photo, next photo), its significance as a contributor to the millennial persona is wholeheartedly huge.
Apparently, Facebook is a “sharing” site, though we know that isn’t true. Is sharing really sharing if it’s a one-way kinda-sorta thing? We don’t really communicate via wall post (um, excuse me, I mean timeline post) as often as Zuckerberg wants us to. In fact, if you do post on someone’s timeline, you are hard core judged by everyone else who sees it. We all have iMessage–the greatest invention since whole wheat sliced bread–and if you really wanted to speak to someone quickly and efficiently, you would text her. Nothing pisses people off more than siblings or best friends who write to each other publicly on Facebook. Clearly you already have a texting convo going, so whatever you’re writing you clearly are just writing for the sake of publicity.
We have driven Facebook off it’s given beat and path. We mock those that use it for it’s original intention. So if you aren’t stalking someone, are you doing it wrong?
In theory, Facebook stalking makes sense. We’re drawn to seeing photos of other people–especially, of course, people we know. Pictures have always intrigued us. I obviously would not have liked Madeline nearly as much if she wasn’t wearing such a cute jumper all of the time. But when we look at photos of other people on Facebook, it’s in almost no context at all. There aren’t really words to this picture book. It’s just… well… pictures.
Everyone has a few people that they focus their energy into stalking, habitually typing a name into the search box. Then there are the people you forget about until they pop up on your news feed because they were tagged in your best camp friend’s best home friend’s photo. Come Sunday mornings, we sit on the edges of our seats, anxiously awaiting the mass mupload like it’s the fricking messiah.
However, we find ourselves in knee-deep contradiction. When those whom we do not desire the stalking rights to post solo shots of themselves or even a 50-photo collection of the previous weekend’s events, we give them shit. We get annoyed. We want some to use Facebook as a canvas, and we want others to sit quietly behind a screen (as some of us stalkers might) and join in the could-be thoughts of pretty, skinny girls sipping on cranberry colored cocktails.
So when you stalk someone, are you truly engaged in learning more about her? Are we just jealous of the identities these people have created for themselves on intangible social media? Are we so unsettled in our own lives that we yearn to live vicariously through other people (no matter how many hours we spend looking through the same album of muploads repeatedly)?
Facebook makes it so damn easy for people to judge you. But don’t you want to be stalked, and not a stalk-er? Don’t you want to be judged?
They say that any publicity is good publicity. In a world of being “Facebook famous,” I guess so.
Oxford Dictionary named it 2013’s word of the year. I name it the word of the f****** century. It’s about time I covered the selfie–a bit of life that unintentionally has grown to define a generation.
If we are two things, it is communicative and narcissistic. Combine these concepts and the selfie is born. In 2006, Apple released the first MacBook installed with iSight. In 2010 the iPhone 4 came out with two cameras–one front facing–and a year later the iPad 2 was produced with the same camera model. In 2007, my mom decided she wanted to start taking what would eventually be given the name “selfies” with her Nikon digital camera (these were the days before DSLRs) and claimed that one day, she would publish a book of photos titled “At An Arm’s Length.” And now, as we near the end of 2013, the selfie has become a socially acceptable reason to make an odd face while staring longingly into your iPhone camera. Oh, onlookers think, it’s just a selfie.
We love the selfie so much that we decided to make it transportable. At one point, we were satisfied with opening an application on our laptops and having the ability to give ourselves a good “check out” in the middle of class or while trying to get shit done at Starbucks. But Photobooth wasn’t enough. We needed to look at ourselves on our tablets; on our phones. Suddenly, everything became a mirror with which we could capture moments of life we wanted to keep forever (or until your iPhone lays itself to rest).
Selfie etiquette is a whole other topic in itself, but I suppose I can squeeze in a quick summary… don’t mupload solo selfies–you aren’t Kendall Jenner. Make sure your albums are a solid and equal combination of selfie and regular pics. Make the selfie comical and cute. Emphasize the skinny arm. Document crucial events with the selfie.
I love the selfie more than I love a good Free People sale. Does this make me obsessed with myself? I’m not sure. My mom says I think I’m a princess, which is half true, but I don’t know if I’d go far enough to say I’m obsessed with myself. I don’t know if I’d go far enough to say that all of the people who take selfies are obsessed with themselves, either. Samsung says that 30% of photos taken by people between the ages of 18 and 35 are selfies. 75% of “normal weight” women say they constantly think about their weight and appearance. So why do the statistics say we’re self-loving when it seems like we’re in an era of incredible self-loathing?
The link between body image issues and selfies exists but is almost as incomprehensible as the Bound 2 music video. I’d like to propose a new angle on selfies: maybe they’re a good thing. Maybe we should let ourselves soak in the good lighting and flattering effects that iOS 7 provides (bitches love chrome). Maybe getting a good look at ourselves in the mirror–making ourselves look Instagram-worthy or mupload material–could help to battle this self esteem. It may be a good thing to get a look at ourselves from the shoulders up. Maybe this post is heavily influenced by the intense food coma I’m suffering right now. Maybe the diet starts tomorrow. Maybe tonight I’ll take a really great selfie and feel better about myself.
Maybe we should just let the selfie be.
As an avid reader from an early age, I was always told to “never judge a book by its cover.” Years and years have passed, and we’ve gone from judging books by their covers to judging girls on their cover photos. The importance of an AIM icon has transposed itself to the importance of a Facebook profile picture. And if “a picture says 1,000 words” then we’ve all got books as long as the bible to read… the 3,564 photos you have tagged of yourself in a story 3,564,000 words long. I was once told in conversation with a professional writer that you do not become a writer until you’ve written 1,000,000 words. I guess we’re all writers now… three times through, anyway.
What I’m trying to get at is that your prof pic says a lot about you. And if you think that this statement is disputable, go ask your best home friend’s camp friend’s best college friend’s camp friend how she knows what you look like. I dare you.
Here’s who you are as defined by your pro pic. Yes, I am stereotyping you.
The solo shot. The solo shot is either something you do or something you don’t. A girl that sets a solo shot as her prof generally feels really comfortable doing so. If you’re a solo shot girl, you’re confident. Potentially a leader more than a follower. The real question here is: how did this you get that solo shot? Why would someone be taking a photo of just you, alone? Two potential answers: you asked your friend to take this solo shot, or your friend has a lesbian crush on you. Either way, really.
The tailgate. You’re decked out in Big 10 apparel, sipping on your cup of beer or, if you’re a true betch, holding your ominous liquid in a Vitamin Water Zero bottle. If you’re on a roof, you’re a party animal. If you’re not, you’re still just a fun gal looking to have a good time. Also, you go to a Big 10 school. And you go to a Big 10 school. Did I mention that you go to a Big 10 school?
The boyfriend. You’re in a serious relationship, and your boyfriend is hot. If it wasn’t or if he weren’t, it wouldn’t be worth sharing your Facebook identify with him. If you have a serious boyfriend and you’re pro pic isn’t one of the two of you, then do you really have a serious boyfriend at all?
-With little girls/your bunk. You’re super maternal and caring. You love getting down in the dirt and caring for “your girls.” Watching a guy play with a baby is like Facebook stalking a girl whose profile picture is one of her with her little campers. You must be cute and lovable. Oh, you must.
-With friends. You’re wearing your Nike running shorts and white Hanes v-neck like a boss. Oh, wait, were you color war captain? You were a GENERAL!!!!???? No way!!!!!! You must be the SHIT!!!!
The party pic. You’re always looking your best in these because you spend at least half an hour working on the shading of your eyeshadow. You’re pretty and you like to have a good time. You’re also capable of keeping your shit together on a Saturday night, which is respectable for sure… especially because it seems like most of us can’t accomplish that, nowadays.
The birthday bitch. You’re not just a birthday bitch, you’re the birthday bitch. For some reason, girls always look great blowing out candles, staring at a birthday cake, or wearing a sash or a tiara. It comes naturally to us to be viewed as royalty.
The Halloween. Halloween is the only time that a girl can get away with making her pro pic equal to a porn photo shoot. You clearly want us to see your bod, and you know that this is the only socially legal way to do so. Maybe you’re not this type–maybe your costume was just really creative. In that case, mazels. Try art school.
The broad-goes-abroad. You’re so cultured and well-traveled. You love to take adventures and also pose with a bunch of locks or maybe some giant letters. Because, hey, who doesn’t?!?!?!?!
The TWC (Third World Country). You’re a Cady Heron wannabe who is trying to balance the “pretty but down to earth” thing. Also, you’re trying to save the world… one Instragram filter at a time.
The “I’m eating at a cute cafe/restaurant outdoors on a sunny day”. Your life is simple, beautiful, and full of wonder and smiles. You also like to pretend that you’re a living, breathing fashion ad. The photo cries: “Take me out to lunch! I’m beautiful!” (I love this one. It’s chic as hell.)
Bitchy Beachy Babe. See “The Halloween.”
The seflie. If you make a reference to the fact that your pro pic is a selfie in the caption, then you rock at life in an ironic way. If the photo reminds me of my days as a sixth grader on MySpace, then you need to wear less eyeliner.
Special shout out to all of my babes who let me Facebook-stalk them to the death to find the perfect pro pics.
It seems like like everything else nowadays, there is enough assumed texting etiquette to write a New York Times style guide about it. When you admit that, does it sound ridiculous? Yes. But is it totally true? Obvious-effing-ly. So, like everything else, let’s break this baby down.
Texting is generally a self-conscious habit in many ways. It is a multi-faceted battle of the many sides of you–the side that wants to use your impeccable grammar skills and your vocabulary loaded like an M16 with bullets of memorized SAT words; the side of you that recognizes your opportunity to be casual, funny, and quirky arises when you are in the shadow of the iPhone screen. Because IRL (in real life, a crucial acronym), I am the nerdiest of spellers and those who speak, read, and write English, I used to be super anal over text message. Then one day I had an epiphany of sorts in which I realized that text was text and I was wasting precious seconds struggling to spell out “sounds like a plan” with my swollen fingers, which obviously swell whenever I eat foods too concentrated in salt. Overnight, I converted from the proper texter to the all-out ratchet texter.
Never will you see a text I compose that includes “sounds like a plan” again–SLAP is the way mothafuckas. I recycled the fourth grade jargon I was once so comfortable using on AIM. Those were the days when my profile said “Our dreams, and they are made out of real things / Like a, shoebox of photographs / With sepia-toned loving” because “Better Together” was the only Jack Johnson song I knew. I also listed the initials of my 30 close and personal friends, all of whom I was clearly very close and personal with because I had 30 of them. Right.
Now, every abbrev that u cld poss think of is used on a daily basis by moi. It’s dumb to waste time on text message when all I’m trying to figure out is which movie my best friends and I want to attend in our pajamas on any given Saturday night. Def not worth the letters.
Speaking of abbreviations, I wanted to discuss two of my faves: “haha” and “lol.” First things first–snaps to “lol” for making the comeback of the century. For real. When we were younger, it was socially acceptable to write “lol,” yet there was something about it that I didn’t find cool–I have a faint recollection of interpreting it as something boys would say, therefore making it inherently more unintelligent on the sixth grade level. I always, always, always was more of a haha-er. But in general, “lol” was the norm. After a while, however, it’s reign began to fade and everyone was just saying “haha.” “Haha” became “hahaha” and “lol” was evicted like an unemployed post grad–see ya, kiddo. Now, I use “lol” and “lolz” (OF COURSE) on the daily.
Not only is the evolution of the words we use to express laugher fascinating, but the fact that we even use words to express laughter at all is what kicks it for me. I was once told by a very well-travelled man that in Russia, no one smiles for photos. Why? Because they don’t see why anyone would fake a smile just to be recorded in a still frame if they were not smiling to begin with. Why fake happiness?
This situation, which I could write an entire post on alone, reminds me so much of the way we express laughter through the digital wall. Most of the time you write “lol,” “haha,” or whatever your preference of onomatopoeia is, you aren’t actually laughing. So why do you write it? To let the person on the other end know that you are amused, perhaps. Maybe it’s because you felt that inkling of a giggle inside you, but you just didn’t need to let it out. When I am texting with someone, and either of us finds what the other is saying to be legitimately funny, I find that we’ll always say “I’m actually laughing.”
Once, I coined the term “legit lol” for when I laughed out loud. Shouldn’t “haha” be enough? Also, whose laugh actually sounds like “haha”? And why do we feel the need to let someone know that you thought something was funny when 1) in reality, you weren’t even laughing, and 2) IRL, we don’t say “that was funny” to someone during conversation when we thought that something was funny, yet it did not make us laugh?
All throughout elementary school, I was head-over-heels in love with one guy. We would spent hours upon hours talking on AIM every night. As the hopeless romantic that I am and always have been, I would overanalyze every little word that we exchanged to either mean something fabulous or to be a sign. For example, when he told me that his favorite song was “Dirty Little Secret” by The All-American Rejects, I thought he only said that to covertly let me know that his love for me was, well, a dirty little secret. So, whenever we were ending our late-night 9pm conversation, I would always throw an “lol” in there. He probably assumed it was a mistake, that I probably meant to write it in another chat, but it wasn’t. Why? I used it to mean “lots of love.” Sneaky, wasn’t I?
At any given point in time, I have two boyfriends. The first is a guy that I’m convincing myself is my boyfriend/is actually my boyfriend. The second is Facebook. And, to put it bluntly, Facebook is a slut.
If you think it’s bad that I have two boyfriends, then get a load of this: Facebook has 1.11 billion sexually active partners. They say that it takes two to tango. Exactly–it takes a medium of social media and a real-life guy to turn our lives from a cute sushi date into a swarming dance full of Instragrammed spicy tuna rolls, muploaded selfies, an infinite amount of “are you a thing?” texts post-mupload, a nervously sweating Jewish girl, and a boy who isn’t sure if all of this attention is worth the amount of ass he’ll get later that night.
After hearing one too many witness account of relationships gone awry both on and because of Facebook, I realized that the inevitable would have to take place. We need to lay down some laws before this town ain’t big enough for the both of us–err, all three of us. Facebook, Boyfriend: it’s time we have a little chat.
It all starts with a mupload. That single, blurry picture from some Saturday night not too long ago. Here’s how this works: if a girl is with a guy and she wants people to know about it, she’ll make sure people know about it. Hence, one picture is added and tagged. The unspoken rule: you can never mupload the first photo of you and Boyfriend. Then, everyone knows how hard you’re trying, and even though everyone knows how hard you’re trying no matter who posts that photo, it’s still the sheer principle of it that causes your best friend to be the one to mup. Obviously the best friend will do the first mup, because you told her to. You probably even sent her the photo from your phone to mupload. Right?
Time passes, and things aren’t what you’d call serious, but things are… things. This is where the tension between you and Facebook builds high enough to split the fibers of a Louis Vuitton bag. You have so many questions you want to ask Facebook, but you don’t know how they’ll make Boyfriend feel. When/is it socially acceptable to make your profile picture one of you and Boyfriend? What about your “relationship status?”
When we were younger–like, middle school younger–I thought that “relationship status” meant everything. Whenever a friend would tell me about a guy, the first question was always the same: “Is it Facebook official?” Facebook was like the evil eye of relationships. It saw everything, all the time, yet acted as a source of protection from insecurities about labels. As I’ve grown to accept the hook up culture that I live in, I learned that no, two girls “in a relationship” on Facebook are not lesbians (99% of the time), I don’t need to publicly list to “friends of friends” that I’m “interested in men” in order to feel “normal,” and, generally, labels on relationships no longer exist. I used to think that labeled relationships made things more mature and valid. Ironically for me, I had it all backwards. If your feelings say it all, then you no longer have a need to prove your relationship to yourself or to anyone else. It exists, and suddenly, that becomes enough.
Should you make your relationship Facebook official? If you want to, go ahead. But if you break up, it effing sucks because it’s public as hell (been there, done that).
Next topic: Facebook offers you a single private space to be yourself–alas, the profile picture. Are you willing to share that space with someone else? In this verse of the Love Triangle Bible, I say go right ahead. However, there are guidelines. If you’re more into the relationship than he is: DON’T. If you’re definitely a thing, basically boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever, and people approve of you as a couple, AND you look amaze in the photo: DO. If you’re been together for a really long time and everyone is rooting for you to get married and have minimum five kids: DO, but with caution. Because if you break up… SGA (shit got awk).
I have a friend that is going through a mutual break up in the upcoming month. In addition, her current profile photo is one of her and her boyfriend. At a recent dinner she told me that she needed to take a ton of pictures in hopes of finding a new profile photo–one that she could change now so that when she and Boyfriend broke up, things wouldn’t be as obvious and public.
I appreciate the depth of her social media cues and I respect her break up intelligence. At the same time, this makes me sad that we feel the need to balance Facebook with Boyfriend 24/7. We should be grieving over lost love, not worrying about what Facebook will make of it. When she goes through her split, things will suck. And no matter how much they do, Facebook will still be there. While we’ve done away with the bullshit from Boyfriend, we are not through with Facebook. We will never be. We could never break up with him, no matter how we tried.
I’ve written about muploading before, and in great detail at that, but I feel as though I didn’t dig deep enough. There is an infinite amount of potential expanding to do about the topic of taking photos on your iPhone–if you have a Droid, you can’t sit with us–and I figured that since I refuse to leave my bedroom today as I am physically glued to the new Justin Timberlake album, I may as well expand upon it.
In our nation’s history there have been many great debates: Brown vs. The Board of Education, Roe vs. Wade, the uprising of college students against the Vietnam War draft, and, of course, the current battle of Essie vs. OPI. During my most recent meditation I discovered that there is a very subtle issue that often goes unheard of and can probably be added to this catalogue of 21st century #firstworldproblems. How do you know when you should Instagram a photo as opposed to muploading it???????
Last week, I dissected a cat in Bio. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to test out these waters. I took some pics of our deceased cat, which I named Joaquin (pronounced WAH-KEEN for those of you that don’t keep up with trendy baby names), and then I took some selfies. I went through each of the 200 resulting photos and tried to decide which ones I wanted to mupload and which ones I wanted to Instagram. Fine, I was exaggerating. I went through the process with the resulting 86 photos. Fine, 75. 75 I swear. After this trial, I appointed myself Supreme Court Justice of the iPhone megapixel camera and came up with a solid list for when one should Insta-G a photo and when one should mupload it. Here is my organized research:
You should Instagram a photo if…
…you think it would look absolutely perf with a little bit of Hudson, X-Pro II or some Amaro up in that shiz.
…you can’t tag anyone it in. For example, your Starbucks latte does not have a Facebook account, so you cannot tag it on Facebook, so it will not show up on the news feed unless you mupload it by itself, which would be super weird, and since it will not be on the news feed, no one would like it, so you will seem like a total weirdo loser. If you Instagram it, however, you will get minimum 11 likes–just enough to make you look popular–so you’re set.
…it will make people jealous of what you are wearing, what you are eating, where you are vacationing, etc. That way you can be subtly obnoxious, but not overly obnoxious.
…you are doing something illegal. No explanation needed. If you feel like you need an explanation for this one, then you shouldn’t have an Instagram to begin with.
…you take an attractive selfie. It will get lots of likes, and make you look drop dead gorgeous amongst light, sun-soaked tones.
You should mupload a photo if…
…you really, like, really, want people to see it.
…you look good/better than the other people in the photo. Duh.
…the picture is funny. Instagrams are meant to be glamourous, i.e. Kim Kardashian’s account (JK LOL), or cute, i.e. Soul Cycle’s account. If it’s funny, Facebook it.
…it will make your ex-boyfriend jealous. Because it will. (Also, only boys like Scott Disick and Justin Bieber’s swag coach Ryan Good really utilize Instagram in the same way that we do, so your photo probably won’t reach your ex that well. Then again, if a guy is your ex chances are he’s of the Scott Disick-type. Then again (again), if you Instagram it, girls that are friends with your ex will see it. This one is kinda debatable but not really because muploading is probably the answer. Muploading is always the answer.)
…you take an unattractive selfie. It will get lots of likes, and make you look cute and funny.
I think that one day, I would like to write an iPhone bible. I say this especially considering my experiences with Facebook, Twitter…….. and, how could I forget, Tinder!!!?? (Read this for elaboration on all of the aforementioned.) For now, though, I am going to get back in bed–just kidding, I never left bed–and listen to this 10-minute JT song for the sixteenth time.