Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Socially Awkward at Media.

      My reluctance to become part of the social media madness has become a running joke among my friends and family. Considering my love of technology and fascination with how the internet is constantly changing the world, I should be neck deep in tweets and have Facebook friends out the Pinterest. I suppose I could give in to the pressure, get a Facebook page and never update the damn thing but now it has just become a matter of stubborn principle.

      I have a whole host of reasons I list for my digital hermitage whenever I am confronted with a Facebook zealot. My desire for privacy and concern for online security are my usual go too defenses in the case of The People of Facebook vs Adam. FInally when I get pushed into a corner I will indulge in the classic hipster tactic of indifferent disdain.

     My Facebook grudge aside, I sign up for other forms of social media all the time and usually as a very early adopter. I had high hopes for my twitter carrer but they have withered on a hashtag of #mehhh. I still have my account and I still read twitter from time to time but I find that it only adds to the clutter I have to sort through in my life. My one decent contribution to twitter was "If brevity is the heart of wit, Twitter has proved that forcing one does not guarantee the other."If that can't get a retweet then I have nothing else to offer the twits.  Turning the other cheek on my bruised ego, Twitter's role in recent world events has solidified it as a changing force but I have yet to figure out how to make it change my world.

    Google + was able to sneak into my life by leaching itself onto my gmail account and so you can find me there, but you won't find much. I made an attempt to set my digital house in order at Google + but keeping tidy and uncluttered digital existence seems an impossibility.  Open the door for an actual friend and before you can close it behind them they have infected your online existence with every piece of digital dust or bacteria of passing interest that clings to them.

    You will find my email address attached to a dozen music/social media abominations with another host of startup ideas meant to connect me to someone because of something. Perhaps that is the equation that social media operates on. Me + Someone x Something = Startup.  A detailed list of all those services would be a fun and funny exercise but like all things relating to exercise, we can do that later.

    I can keep handing out valid reasons that I don't have a Facebook page or never send a Tweet or only check my LinkedIn account every other week or I can just tell you the truth. The truth is, I don't get it. Whatever that thing is that makes people enjoy and connect over social media, I do not get that thing. Four years ago that was a truth that was no big deal. Four years ago not being relevant in Social Media had about as much impact as not being good at Polo. Now, it matters.

    Understanding people is something I have always been good at. Give me ten minutes with a person one on one and they will probably like me. Making friends and putting people at ease has never been a challenge for me, and it is a gift that most of us take for granted.  When I was in school, those kids who would have obviously been diagnosed with mild to severe Aspergers today were just the weird kids. I think I am beginning to understand a little how they must feel.

    The fact that I did not want to be part of Facebook was actually irritating to some of my friends and family. It kept creeping into conversations and then for a while it became the conversation. It made me realize that me being uncomfortable with certain types of social media made me the weird kid.  Then I started hearing about potential employers that will look at you with suspicious concern if you do not have a Facebook account and started wondering how big of a problem this might be. My concern grew after reading this article http://mashable.com/2012/08/07/no-facebook-psychopath/ and seeing myself as the harried outcast in a near future cyberpunk novel.

    The truth is that I do not understand people and how they behave in social media. I never feel like I need to add a tweet and the thought rarely crosses my mind to see if other people have.
I am going to read my article on Bitcoins and not feel compelled to like it, plus it, rub it, spank it, or share it with anyone in anyway. I understand the language but I do not understand why they use it. I am just awkward with social media.

   If Aspergers is a condition that makes it hard for sufferers to interact with other people face to face, I must suffer a digital variant. I would like to be the first to make people aware of a condition I call Dickhotdogs.

If you suffer from low to no Facebook friends, Tweets that never get retweeted, and a fear of people viewing your profile, then your personality probably falls somewhere on the Dickhotdogs spectrum. At the moment Dickhotdogs is no big deal. But I can see a day where it might be. A time when my made up condition with a funny name and the real condition with a funny name have similar effects on the quality of a persons life.

I guess it's possible that I do not have Dickhotdogs. I suppose it's possible that I just don't like the products being offered. Perhaps not liking the way everything in social media gets cluttered and demanding some shred of privacy does not make me socially awkward in media.

I am not in the majority but I think there are a lot of people out there like me. Some put on a brave face and do what must be done to keep up appearances and some will never put a face on it at all. Maybe we all suffer from an undiagnosed condition with a hilarious name.  I find it much more likely that I and others like me want a better product. We want it more intuitive, more meaningful, with better design and more user control. I want a product that will not pimp out every detail about my life and some guarantee that what I say will never reasonably be used against me for any legal purpose.

At the moment this is too much to ask, but I will keep looking. I want to fit in, I really do. Until then, I will be lurking on Reddit wearing my Dickhotdogs awareness bracelet.




  1. Welcome to the back of the class! We've been waiting for you (while surreptitiously making jokes on your behalf)...

  2. They let me sit back here because I am the only one left with good eyesight.