On Facebook Stalking

facebook stalking

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.


Flavor of the Week: 2013

Good bye fro-yo, good bye 2013.

Good bye fro-yo, good bye 2013.

Congratulations! You survived your hangover. How does it feel? Rewarding, I bet.

2013 is officially over and we are no longer in that awkward limbo state between Christmas and New Year’s known as “the holidays.” During “the holidays,” everyone talks about everything that’s happened over the past year as if the year has already ended. In reality, the next year hasn’t started yet, either. Our society sets aside a week for us to reminisce and resolute and think about the reasons why we hate ourselves and how we can strive to change in the year to come. The holidays are a strange concept–everyone kind of stops doing everything and doesn’t start real life until the next year gets here. It’s a week that, though it sits on the calendar, doesn’t actually exist.

Now that we are in a new year, I thought it would be appropriate to accurately and fully asses the year that’s passed us by–FYD style, of course. 95 (!!!) posts later and I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of what 2013 was about. Here’s the shortlist of what you really shoulda taken out of that wild year. As the Grateful Dead says, “Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been.”

1. Your Facebook pro pic says a LOT about you. And by a lot, I mean 4,926 post views in twelve hours-a lot. 

2. The selfie had a revolution. It was the thing of the year, by far.

3. 2013 brought us Thanksgivukkah–a chubby JAP’s dream come true!

4. Every. One. Got. Mono.

5. Kimye is everything.

6. FYD lesson: the balance between being a bitch/playing hard to get and being a slut is very, very difficult to find.

7. Celebrate the anniversary of your Bat Mitzvah by handing out the leftover kippahs you’ve been storing, because there is always a bald man somewhere in need of a hat!

8. Tobi.com took over young women’s “trendy”/mundane going out clothing.

9. Everyone used read receipts. Then, they didn’t.

10. Miley came in like a wrecking ball.

11. We acted like chopped salad was just born, even though it wasn’t. Overpriced chopped salad was born, transforming the dirty water dog-type lunch into one better suited to the women taking over the workforce.

12. FYD lesson: your relationship with your boyfriend is really a threesome between you, him, and Facebook.

13. Everyone wrote about kale, but I wrote about it first. Trust.

14. Cady Heron would not have survived a plastics’ group text. That is why being a girl nowadays is so frickin’ difficult.

15. We speak emoji.

16. FYD lesson: there is a time to laugh, and a time to cry. There is a time to Instagram, and a time to mupload.

17. We were labeled the “me me me generation.” But millennials rock. We’re going places, and they can’t stop us and our selfies.

18. I read Fifty Shades of Grey while living in a rural Eurasian town of conservative Muslims. You might not remember that, but it’ll make you laugh.

19. I wrote my first post, “On Not Being a JAP,” for The FYD. But, obviously, there’s a little JAP in all of us.

20. A lot of other stuff happened that I didn’t get to cover. Gay marriage! Legal weed! Love! Loss! Sex! (GASP!) Breaking Bad! But, obviously, we still have 2014 for all of that.

Cheers to another fro-yo filled year of all of the above. May it bring you all overalls, muploads, selfies, shoe sales, peace, and low fat goodness.

 


On The Selfie

selfie of me with popcorn

selfie of me with popcorn

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.

selfie of feminism, power women, and all things great about life

selfie of feminism, power women, and all things great about life

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.

Example: selfie of the time my friend vomited in the back of a cab and I sat shotgun because I didn't want to deal with it

Example: selfie of the time my friend vomited in the back of a cab and I sat shotgun because I didn’t want to deal with it

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.

Image via


On What Your Profile Picture Says About You

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?

Couldn't help but not blur out the face tats

Couldn’t help but not blur out the face tats

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?

One from my own personal collection

One from my own personal collection

The camp. You’re a nice Jewish girl, and that’s about it. Just kidding. There are two varieties of campy pro pics: 310213_2479434102606_1614303645_n

         -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.

My current pro pic... kk

My current pro pic… kk

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.)

The 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. 


Flavor of the Week: Vine

Before Vine fades into the darkness and becomes nothing more than a quintessential #tbt, I wanted to make sure I acknowledged its great presence in the social media world by naming it Flavor of the Week.

As you may or may not know, we are very concerned about the longevity of Vine because Instagram, now basically Mark Zuckerburg and his wife London Tipton, decided to swoop in and cross social boundaries by sitting with the Plastics at lunch enabling a video function.

I have many mixed emotions about this, but my immediate response was that this is blatantly #rude #rude #rude of Insta. It’s like an unspoken rule of apps–you find your medium, and you stick to it. Instagram is for photos, Twitter is for complaining, Facebook is for stalking, and Vine is for a combination of stalking and displaying your wealth or your good-looking boy toy. There is a cuh-lear separation here that Instagram decided to ignore.

I have a Twitter BFF, @LindsayBrandes (def follow her–she’s sometimes obnoxious, always funny… JK, she’s always obnoxious… JK lolz again, love ya Linds), and she was basically having a panic attack over the video app crossover. This was how our conversation went:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 6.26.44 PM

In other words, we are having serious white girl problems.

If you were wondering, I decided to stick with Vine for vids and Insta for pics. And, BTW, after taking an antibiotic twice a day and Benadryl three times a day for the past week, my rash/spider bite is finally on the mend!


Flavor of the Week: Emojis

If there is one aspect of the iPhone that has revolutionized its use–more than its calendar and alarm functions, more than my Neopets app, and more than the birth control reminder–it is the integration of the emoji. For anyone unaware (although being unaware of emojis is comparable to being unaware of the ability to involuntarily breathe), an emoji is a little teeny weeny cartoon face that you can use to communicate on an iPhone. If you have a Droid, you are not relevant. #sorrynotsorry.

Emojis come in all forms, and can portray any possible emotion ever felt by mankind. Ever.

Take this, for example. Once, someone who is kind of anonymous used an emoji to convey to me that he had farted:

IMG_1341

A really big moment was when whoever makes all of the cute emojis in the little emoji factory added the homosexual emojis, which had not previously been of option:

IMG_2247

This also happened recently:

photo

As you can see, conversation via iMessage would not be the same without emojis. Old people hate our generation because we talk by texting and avoiding conversation face-to-face. Whoever thinks that is obviously wrong, because as a millennial, I can honestly say that I have never felt more face-to-face in my life. You can tell more about me by my choice of emoji than you can by reading my Harry Potter glow-in-the-dark diary.

You know what they say–an emoji says a thousand words.


On Muploading vs. Instagramming

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.

Screen shot 2013-05-18 at 5.19.42 PM

ya

…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.

Screen shot 2013-05-18 at 5.22.05 PM

Example: this could have made people jealous that someone gave me a bouquet of red roses (which look pink due to my poor filter choice).

…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.

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Facebook’d.

…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.

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I muploaded this photo of my friend Louis and myself from our cat dissection.

photo

This is the conversation that ensued when I asked Louis for permission to use his face on The FYD.

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.