Is it that the account doesn’t trust my decision-making? Once I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of work time going through the posts, liking some, responding to others, can I not be relied on to make the decision that I’ve had enough and need to get back to my day job? I haven’t got the energy for three-clicking.
Does the platform not realise that spending any time on it leaves me feeling sad, indifferent, frustrated or maddened as I compare myself and my life with the lives, triumphs and miseries of everyone else?
I really do feel pleased for the author who has found their first agent, signed their first book deal or hit the Sunday Times bestseller list. But I hope I’ll be forgiven for a hint of envy when I’m in the doldrums or feel that life has triggered one of its tripwires.
Actually, it wasn’t so much envy as dismay I felt when dozens of posts began appearing praising the debut novel of a particular highly paid television presenter. I’ll never forget the mockingly dismissive manner with which he greeted me when I presented him with a copy of one of mine and Sue’s books prior to appearing on his show.
So I certainly don’t ‘like’ any posts he – or his damn successful bloody book – appears in!
Like me… like me!
But ‘liking’ is another concern. Is there an etiquette to it? I’ve found myself hovering over the ‘like’ button, realizing the post appeared just seconds ago. How long should I leave it before liking or commenting – without looking desperately keen to please?
Someone rather lovely and famous keeps appearing in one of my feeds – mainly because I suggested he’d be perfect to play the male lead when one of our books is dramatized for telly – and he responded by saying he couldn’t wait to see the script. But now I worry that by ‘liking’ or commenting on his posts, he might think me a stalker.
Escaping the adverts
As if not being able to log out quickly wasn’t a big enough problem, there are the ads I want to escape from. They pop up everywhere. In the old days (I’m old enough to have ‘old days’) printed ads were boxed in neat rectangles on the pages of newspapers. Now they’re all over social media.
Why does Undressed Vino* want to deliver to my door in every other post? Or Funerals R Us* provide me with what looks like a deathly deal.
Cooking with cookies
And those cookies! They remember everything – nipping in and out of social media to share whatever information they have on us. Do I need a big fashion retailer popping in between posts to remind me that I once looked at a white shirt – and hey – here’s one that’s remarkably similar and, once they’ve tempted me to click through to their website, they tell me 68 people are ‘looking at it right now’ and 14 others have already bought it?
And why, if I happen to click on an amusing video that appears out of the ether on social media, do I get bombarded with similar videos on the basis that ‘if you liked that – you’ll like this’. One flash mob involving the nose-flute orchestra of some third world country is enough for one busy morning – I don’t need to see every other amateur choir between here and Lake Titicaca.
Finally, I’d like one particular social media site to know that I’m not the ‘valued contributor’ it thinks I am. It emails practically every day to let me know how much I’m respected (and also, how much I’m missing by not responding to the job ads it has found ‘especially’ for me). I just happened to engage with one post – once – and now they think I’m a fully signed up member.
I’d unsubscribe if I could, but it would mean logging on – and then I’d probably have trouble logging off.
*Names have been changed. But you can add your own examples!