social media thoughts, part 1: the insane stuff.

Hi, Internet! How are you since I last talked at You? 

So, today I discovered Periscope. It was Jason Isaacs' fault. He tweeted about watching Andy Dick eat cheese puffs on it, and I saw it in my general Twitter feed when I logged on in the morning. I had no idea what the heck he was talking about, so I Googled it. 

I ran away! Because no. NO! Stop this insanity, Social Media! Jesus God stop it!! Stop giving human beings one more excuse to be narcissists! I can barely keep track of all the social media I do use as it is. Are not Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, About.me, Flickr, Google+, Snapchat, Vine, LinkedIn, Meetup.com, wordpress, blogspot, vox, typepad, and Pinterest quite enough for the world?????? 

At some point, this has got to go like the housing bubble did and just blow up and ooze pus everywhere. Right? How much more can our limited brains handle? And so now there is Periscope, which connects to your Twitter account, which lets you live stream (as long as you like, I think) video of yourself talking and/or putzing about, or be an amateur Reality TV show producer/director/camera person and video stream live events as they happen around you. Meanwhile, people who are watching--random, total, COMPLETE strangers--can just pop in and sit and watch. And if they're so inclined, they can comment, live, on your life as it happens. 

Bizarre. Freaky! What the hell is going ON with us, Humanity?!?! We are so desperate for validation.

But then, being infinitely curious and always full of WHAT? and WHY??, I downloaded the app. I missed Andy Dick eating cheese puffs, but was able to sit (for 35 minutes!) on this app and watch a really lovely trio of musicians play live music outside a cafe in Birmingham, Alabama; a friendly, outgoing girl who looked slightly like Mila Kunis just sit and talk at various strangers saying hello to her and leaving her comments while she ate donuts; I watched someone in Africa at work--rather, I watched their desk computer; I watched someone else just sit. Thirty-five minutes later, I shut it off. Because I have a life to live: I needed to shower and get dressed, the kitchen was a disaster, and my child had put eye shadow on her to make it look as if someone had punched her. And she had done this on purpose, and was in the process of adding in a bloody lip. And demanding I take her out in public like this.

Speaking of my child and social media: Miss M, 6 years old, has discovered texting. And leaving comments on YouTube. I think the YouTube comments are scariest. First, because, well...my name is attached. The comments are not being posted as a 6 year old crazy girl from Georgia, they're coming in as a 43 year old crazy woman from Georgia. I'm sure Matty B., the teen YouTube rap sensation, and all his little pre-teen friends don't find that freakishly alarming at all. Second, I caught her trying to leave Matty B. and his friends OUR HOME ADDRESS.

So we had to have The Internet Talk. Which is far more frustrating to have with a 6 year old than the Birds & Bees Talk, please know. Listen to me: if you need to speak to a child about delicate Life matters, I promise you want to talk about sex. Not the Internet; this is a labyrinth you'll never figure your way out of, trust me.

Because it's very hard to explain to an egocentric, concrete thinker about all the baddies out there. And also about how Matty B. doesn't know her, and she doesn't know him. (Because, in her brain, Matty B. is her very best friend--he's cute, he's talented, he's seems so! friendly! Clearly, he wants to be her boyfriend and come have a sleepover at her house. This Friday! Right? Right!) 

Totally very frustrating.

So I told her my story, the one about how this one time a bad guy stalked me on the Internet because of a blog I wrote, and how scary that was. Didn't move her. Because Matty B. IS HER FRIEND. 

And we talked about stranger danger. Didn't move her. Because Matty B. IS NOT A STRANGER. 

And we talked about how you can't leave Matty B. comment after comment after comment until he answers you. Because I'm sure Matty B. has seen your comments (which he thinks are from your 43 year old Mommy) and now his parents are warily watching you (i.e., me). 

I said that part of our talk to her, studiously ignoring how many famous people I regularly leave tweets for who probably have me on some Internet Watch List as well. (But it's different! It's different! Because those famous people and I are all adults. And THEY know I'm just gently joking with them online because I admire them and want them to know they're loved, even if we don't actually know each other. And also..........okay, fine. Fine! It's not very different. I'm sure I'm on a Twitter Watch List or something.)

At any rate, I've had to institute a No Comments Without Parental Permission and Approval policy on my YouTube account. And now I have to regularly monitor what she's watching (which isn't hard on YouTube, because you watch one thing, and suddenly they make 10,000 similar suggestions...for awhile, I was getting a lot of anime videos of voluptuous cartoon ladies giving birth. And so then we had the Where Do Babies Come From? talk. Lands. Child rearing in the 21st century is exhausting, y'all. EXHAUSTING. And also: Damn it, YouTube! Get a parental password protect option!)

We also have had to implement a No Texting Without Parental Permission and Approval policy. That started when C was off on his fishing trip last week--texting is a quick, excellent way to keep in touch with someone who refuses to do social media and also likes to take fishing trips to places near Canada that are practically off the grid. However, she left him bizarre text messages like: 

Daddy, Mommy is being mean to me. (insert 10,000 angry emojis here)

Daddy, I really think I'm going to cry!!!!!!!! (insert 10,000 sad emojis here)

Daddy, Mommy bought me a lot of make up and I'm on YouTube doing videos! (insert 10,000 random emojis here)

Daddy, I hate Mommy!!! (insert 10,000 devil emojis here)

And so on and so forth. Sometimes, they would just be whatever popped up randomly in autocorrect. I don't know if you've ever visited damnyouautocorrect.com, but if you have, I'm sure you can imagine what those read like.

Then she moved on from Daddy to Grammy. And then random people in my contacts list. Two people were worried about me. So now I've had to pre-emptively apologize for weird texts or facebook posts from me, because these are NOT from me. They are from a nutty little person posing as me. 

In addition, now I'm terrified M is going to say something bizarre to some famous person I follow on Twitter or Instagram and then I really WILL get put on a Twitter Watch List of some sort, or banned. So I'm mulling over making that my next pinned tweet on my Twitter page: bizarre tweets with emojis are not from me; they're from my zany, wayward 6 year old. Because the clue will be that her bizarre tweets will include 10,000 emojis because she knows where to find those on my phone and I don't since technologically I'm obviously about 190 years old.

This is the end of Part 1. 

Tomorrow, come back, because I'm going to talk about social media, part 2: the good stuff. There is good stuff to social media. For example, once I downloaded Periscope, I could see its value--imagine if something horrible is occuring...oh, say, some crazed racist cop going to town on a 12 year old unarmed black boy or something. Periscope = excellent to get the word out about that, in conjunction with Twitter's rapid fire information dissemination. 

Really, true Villains of the world should be terrified at the moment; there will be nowhere to hide their evil doings, eventually. 

(The frustrating, sad part is I know they aren't...they're in a dank, dark cave somewhere trying to figure out how to work this to their advantage. Thus, Sons/Daughters of Light continue to the fight the good fight.)

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