No time, brother: expectations and reality for social media curation

You skipped the morning again. Coffee’s already cold, and you’d take just a sip anyway, cause everyone else had their turn. Nothing new with the traffic, you weren’t there. As far as you remember, there’s people selling cake for a symbolic value for those who woke up and got to work without breakfast. Trains and cars and buses. You think that’s newsworthy, walk faster and look up to see if you’ll get a weather change by the time you’re getting back. Memories of when you worked in the big city are not so frequent; today, you just wait for food on the table, take your phone and sit on the bed, scrolling through social media posts to see if you can bring something to the conversation. They’re talking about everything: how long will it take to retire, how much schools will be getting for improvements, who knew about the deals with private companies, where people reject the current administration, phrases you’d rather not read, budgets cut for culture, salaries inflated for the lawyers, racial profiling, successful police operation, robber arrested, drug dealer busted, rainfall alerts. Change the channel, see a manager confident about the new policy, an interview with a pretty actress, have a look at how people live in another continent, hear a few words on the recent tweets by the leader of the nation, thirty minutes of commentators, you’re not part of it, the same stuff over and over, commercial break and sport when they come back. Numbers on the screen, you can’t read any. An accent. A smile. A challenge to be more interesting than that.

We used to think that following our interests would lead us to time saving, better content and a better life. Connect one by one, no need for introductions, let the algorhythm run. Pages to like, people to follow, then the quick adds, the spams, no info profiles. Meanwhile on the forums, arguments you’ll never reply to. Memes all over. Porn. Games and broadcasts. Recommended videos. The planet needs help, so does this pretty little kitten, don’t mind the link for donations. They want to know what you’re thinking, but don’t forget to mention your peers, cause if you do, forget about impressions. Open your inbox, you have new messages. Just e-mail. Go for one of your messaging apps, see where you left off. They forgot what you were talking about, find something else. Find someone else. Search for a hashtag, everybody’s doing it. But don’t like anything, you’re just looking. Nobody wants intruders. But she’s so hot, it’s just a click. Whatever we used to think, whatever our interests really were, nothing’s quite the same, and we can’t trace back our activity log. You could. If the brain were a logistical system, questions of ethics might come to the table when we discussed what we saw with an uncle or cousin, but we’re just throwing in the most immediate thoughts we have about the world and making people believe that’s how we think. It all sounds really unfair when we realize we didn’t come up with that sort of concern for how to express an opinion. Is everything opinion? Is everyone opinionated? Post something and see how they react. Use conclusions for the next post and recalibrate your social media strategy.

Why do they call it strategy? Do you have a shared goal? Are you on your own? What do you really wanna get with posts and interaction feedback? See what someone else chose to share in five seconds of exposure. It’s fun to look at, go for the next one. If it’s not as good, you don’t have to bother double-tapping. Bathroom. Next. Dog. Next. Food from abroad. Videos are too long, waste of battery. Oh wait, a sponsor. I don’t have my earbuds, scroll some more. I don’t know you. I haven’t spoken to you in months, but looks like you’re happy and I’m just sitting here. Oh, another sponsor? Well ok, this sounds cool. Who is this? Well, why not take a look. Wait, this is actually cool. How can I find more information? Let’s look at this profile. Apparently nobody knows about them. Cool pictures, let’s read a post. Motivation is the key, inspiration quotes, writers I remember. I guess I’ll make you a connection. Go back.

It gets worse. Who are we when we’re searching for immediate satisfaction? What’s the criteria? Where do we go, when do we leave, who do we tell this to? Profit shows its ugly face, and it’s not your camera roll. If you get on with it, you’ll find yourself evaluating your mirror image. Searching for angles. Editing pictures and short videos. Sound on, remove the peaches on private. Link it to a payment service. Rant on how everybody wants it for free. Build your network based on the most basic instinct of the internet user. If you come back to the surface, we’ll let you know what’s really happening. Except we don’t want your opinion, we want you to feel bad cause you got busy and didn’t care about the real issues. You don’t have the right. Life is made of choices. Enjoy.

No, this isn’t right. I’ll let them know how I really feel. Describe what I saw. Explain what the problem is. Use the right punchline. Private, because this is personal. They’ll read. If they don’t agree, they’ll know where I stand. Just wait. Well, ok, now they’re showing other stuff on TV. I wasn’t paying attention. Let me go take a look. Open, open, open… crappy internet service. I can’t believe how much I pay for this. Isn’t it supposed to have a standard? Conflict in Sudan. Grexit. Saudis. New British PM. Democratic candidates. Chinese company under scrutiny. Europe is already in play? What do I know. Yeah, I guess I didn’t get to see much today. I’d rather sleep. Let me take this pill.

Damn, I wish she was here. Let me hold the pillow. Yeah, she would be right in my arms. Her hair must smell so good. I’d hear her moaning softly when I kissed her neck. I could run my hands down on her. I could just tease but I wanted to hold her. I wanted to be held too. She’s busy, that’s ok. Yeah, but I can’t sleep like that. Let me put the pillow back under my head. The blanket isn’t enough, it’s too cold. It’ll be fine though. Tomorrow I need to see my doctor. Then prepare. It’s starting soon. I have to go out more often, that’s so basic. I’ll take a few shots. I don’t know. If someone sees me I don’t care. I wish I were more influential. But nothing really matters. Put on some music. It’ll help me sleep. “You speak like someone who has never been smacked in the fucking mouth”. Yeah, that’s the stuff I relate to.

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