Social media might not have its origin in narcissism, but that arguably is the fuel behind its 845 million users. People love to talk about themselves, and social media gives everyone the license to chat freely about their own lives – posting pictures of yourself, your family, soap-boxing about your lessons on life, essentially creating your own real-time autobiography. Research estimates have suggested that more than 80 percent of the comments on Facebook are about our own experiences and thoughts. I wonder what the other 20 percent are about? Maybe the 20 percent are the activities of commenting on other people’s posts and “liking” posts?
Another study revealed that one-third of divorce filings last year contained the word “Facebook.” Holy cow! After the initial shock wore off, that number seemed surprisingly reasonable. Facebook has provided a simple and easy way to connect with people from your past, snoop on their activities and talk privately. Beyond that, people say some silly things and “report” some very private matters on Facebook. It’s almost like they forget everyone can see what they say. Or, they’ve stopped caring.
Last week, a woman sent me a private Facebook message asking if I was the David Cain that she knew from middle school. She offered her maiden name in the message and even referenced two friends I would know. Her closing, “If you are him, I just wanted to say I think about you all the time. If you are not him, excuse the intrusion.” I wasn’t him! But, I’m from a small town, so I replied and told her I didn’t know her and I thought it was odd that she was my age and there was another person in such a small town that shared my name and I never knew it. She replied an hour later, “If you were him, you’d know it. He carved my name in his hand.” Yeah, that’s not me. Did I mention she said middle school?
Social media has changed everything. Social networks have always and will always exist. But what has changed is media has married up with the social part to create this new, unrelenting beast that is social media. And, this should at the very least “poke” your world more than just a little.