I am only 32 years old. You would think I would still be “with it” right? Wrong. I feel so old sometimes. And I’m talking real old. Grandpa Simpson level old. I first started using the internet during the late 90s and early 00s. Ah, it was a glorious time. The golden era of the internet you could say. Kids had free reign online because our parents barely knew how to pick up a mouse. And there was no such thing as social media. Today, people share everything about themselves online, and as an introvert who values privacy and staying out of the spotlight, that makes me a little uncomfortable.
Here are 10 things about social media that make me uncomfortable as an introvert. Can you relate?
I know some people who put everything on Facebook. You can find their entire employment and relationship histories on their profiles. I find the idea of sharing that much about my life a little odd partly because it’s a total backflip from what I was told when I was using the internet as a kid. We were told never to use our real names because it wasn’t safe, but now people put everything about themselves online. As an introvert, I’m not comfortable being that open. I feel like there should be some things that should be kept private. I don’t post about my marital ups and downs. I don’t share information I’ve learned from private conversations with friends. In fact, I would feel devastated if someone posted or blogged about something I’d said to them in private. It would be a betrayal of trust.
2. It Makes Socializing in Real Life More Difficult
Social media can sometimes make socializing in real life a little harder than it used to be. When people post everything about themselves online, it can make it difficult to have an actual conversation with them because you already know half the things they’re going to tell you. I’m guilty of this myself. I’ll post something on Facebook and then will catch up with a friend and tell them about it in person. Inevitably, they’ll interrupt me and say “Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook…” and then the conversation dies an awkward death. I still have one friend who isn’t on social media and it’s nice. We talk on the phone like we did when we were kids, and every time we meet up, we have so much to talk about.
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3. It Can Make Us All a Little Narcissistic
As an introverted kid, the last thing I ever wanted was to draw attention to myself. Now as an adult, I find myself posting Simpsons memes hoping I’ll get a lot of likes. It’s funny how social media can make us all a little bit narcissistic. Even my husband, who rarely posts anything online, gets a kick out of getting a lot of likes. I’m the same way. And of course, it’s fine to want some attention. Even the most introverted of us craves attention sometimes. But watch out, it’s the internet, so you could end up attracting more judgement than likes.
4. Posting a Relationship Status
I’ve never understood the appeal of posting a relationship status. Why does the world need to know who I’m in a relationship with? And what happens if my relationship fails? As an introvert, the last thing I’d want after a break up is to have everyone on my “friends” list know. I’d much rather keep that little bit of my profile blank. And I think it’s much better to find out these sort of things in real life anyway. I sometimes feel like reading about it online is kind of like peeping through a person’s living room window and spying on them. You’re not really a part of their life—you’re just watching. If you want to catch up and ask me about my life, have a meaningful conversation with me over a cup of tea.
I don’t understand why hashtags are so popular. I do use them every now and again. I might drop a #parenting at the end of a funny post about motherhood. What I don’t understand are the people who post half a dozen of these things every single time they post something new. One or two hash tags I can tolerate but when you post #one #every #few #words I start to find it a little #attentionseeking. One of the things that has made social media so popular is that it gives everyone a soap box to stand on. The negative side of this is that everyone thinks their opinion on every little thing is worth sharing. It’s not. It’s really, really not. Sometimes I just want to tune out all of the online ranting and just chill and watch cat videos, you know?
6. When Facebook Tells Me Where My Friends Are
I sometimes get a notification on my phone from Facebook and think “Oh! Someone liked one of my posts? I’m actually popular?” when it’s really just a notification that tells me “Hey! Your friend Sarah is going to an event near you today!” …Okay? How creepy would it be to turn up uninvited to an event and track down my friend and say, “Hi there! Facebook told me you were going to be here today. You don’t mind me crashing your day, right?” And what if you didn’t want anyone to know where you’re going? I find it creepy how Facebook just assumes you would want to hang out with your friends all the time. The introvert in me often just wants a day to myself. Facebook, stop trying to force me to be social.
7. Your Most Embarrassing Moments Might End Up Online
Long before smart phones and social media were a thing, people could go to a party and dance like no one was watching, then go home feeling confident that no one would ever see pictures of them wearing a lampshade as a hat. Much to my anxiety, those days are long gone. Everyone has a camera in their pocket now. If you get a bit tipsy at the office holiday party and start doing the chicken dance, it could end up on Facebook, Snapchat, and a multitude of other platforms. And then there is online shaming. Earlier this year, Playboy model Dani Mathers got herself into trouble after she posted a body shaming picture of a woman changing in a gym locker room. She was recently charged with invasion of privacy and is scheduled to appear in court at the end of the month. Hopefully her antics will be a lesson to other people who feel the urge to online shame.
8. Click Bait Articles That Push All My Buttons
I’m one of those people who gets a lot of my news through Facebook. It’s just so convenient. I can scroll through my feed and read the headlines in between memes, selfies, and lately, pictures of people doing the mannequin challenge. One thing that bugs me about online news is how desperate news organizations are to get clicks. I get why they do it. Journalism used to earn revenue from advertisements, but many people stopped buying newspapers and magazines and started going online to get their news. “Click bait” headlines are used to get people to click on an article because the more clicks they get, the more revenue they get from online advertising. The problem with click bait is that the stories are written to push people’s buttons and get them whipped into a frenzy about something. That can lead to a lot of negativity and online arguments with strangers in the “comments” section. And people can be mean. Very mean. The internet can be an ugly place, which can be overwhelming for an introvert.
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9. How Paranoid You Get When Someone Unfriends You
One thing I hate about social media is the pressure to have “friends” and to have people “follow” you because it makes social media into a popularity contest. I’ve found myself more than once fretting about my friend count and wondering if it was too small. Other times I’ll check and see what number it’s sitting at and will realize—gasp—it’s down a couple! Someone has unfriended me! That’s the worst. I immediately think, “Who unfriended me? Who doesn’t like me?” which is silly because they might have unfriended me for a perfectly sensible reason. Maybe the two of us aren’t close anymore and they only want to be connected with close friends and family. Maybe they were just doing a bit of social media tidying up and I got caught in the cross fire. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like me, but it’s hard not to be offended and question their decision because social media has become such a huge part of our lives now. It can really mess with your head.
10. When Someone Adds Me to a Facebook Group
And then does group chat.
I hate this. I hate it so much. My phone buzzing with notification after notification after notification. And all done with zero thought about where I am or what I’m doing in that exact moment. Maybe I don’t want to chat right now? Maybe I’m in the middle of cooking dinner or driving down the freeway? This sort of behavior really makes me want to throw my phone out the car window and then enjoy the sweet, sweet quiet that would come afterwards. Social media can be great, but for me, sometimes it’s good to disconnect and take a break.
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