By ROSIE WATERLAND
Like we don’t have enough first world problems to deal with already, social media has decided to go and force itself onto the list, in the form of brand spanking new emotions that we would never have had before 1995.
Oh, to be back in that simpler time – when Chandler’s computer on Friends had a 500MB memory and, without an Encyclopedia handy, an argument about the name of the first dog in space had to end with an ‘agree to disagree.’
Now we’re part of the ‘information’ age and the world is connected and educated in a way like never before, but… Is it really worth it when we now have to deal with so much stress on a daily basis? Woe is us indeed.
Here’s a list of the basics:
1. Accidental Interaction Anxiety (‘AIA’)
When you’re on your phone and scrolling through Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Whatever, it’s so easy for your thumb to hit the like/RT/friend button without meaning to. Cut to an anxious meltdown.
All you wanted was to see was how dumb your ex-husband’s new girlfriend’s face is (not sure you can have a ‘dumb’ face beyond year 3 but bear with me…) and now you HAVE SENT HER A FRIEND REQUEST.
And if you think that immediately deleting said request solves all your problems then think again: If she gets an immediate notification, not only does she see the request, she’ll also see that it’s no longer there once she refreshes the page, which means it will take her exactly two seconds to figure out what’s happened and she’ll know what you did and that you were a stalky-stalky-stalker.
You are busted. The proof may no longer be on the web but it will continue forever in her smug brain. Oh the shame.
2. Fear of Becoming an Unintentional Viral Video Sensation (FOBAUVVS – well, they can’t all be snappy acronyms)
We officially live in an age where prams are designed so that babies can have easy access to iPads. That’s just the way life is now, people. Everyone is carrying a camera everywhere they go. Some of the time, that camera is used for admirable citizen journalism in the face of important breaking news. Most of the time, that camera is used to film the kind of private nose-picking footage that will almost certainly go on to become a viral video sensation.
And if your number’s up; you might just be the unfortunate star of that video. Doing anything even remotely noteworthy in public now comes with the possibility of reaching an audience of hundreds of millions. So next time you’re giggling at the granny dancing in the street or the unsuspecting teenage smoker, THINK AGAIN. That could be you.
So would it just be easier to stay inside forever? Nope. Sleazy hackers have actually figured out how to access personal webcams, so there is a possibility that someone is watching you read this RIGHT NOW.
I don’t know how they do it, but I do know I’m seriously worried about this, um, friend I have, who recently sat topless in bed with her laptop on her knees, while eating ice cream from the tub and singing along to the Les Misérables soundtrack…. that girl might be in trouble.
3. Unauthorised Photo Panic (UPP)
Modern day psychics know when they’ve been tagged in an unflattering photo on Facebook (you know the type – super shiny forehead, possessed red eye, 5-6 chins). It’s kind of like a sixth-sense.
Social media may be all about sharing, but what you share is key. You may manage your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest/Tumblr/Other cool tech thing like a tightly wound machine, but all it takes is one unauthorised photo to cause the whole damn system to collapse.
There are so many bloody platforms to keep track of these days it’s almost inevitable that an unflattering photo is going to slip through the cracks, so you’re going to have to learn some coping strategies my friend.
A sub-set of UPP is UTP – Unauthorised Tagging Panic. This occurs when you’ve lied to Aunt Mable about having to work on Saturday and now you’re terrified your friends are going to post/tag/tweet about you at the beach.
4. Information Rabbit Hole Confusion (IRHC)
You’re watching on old episode of Seinfeld. You recognise the actress playing one of Jerry’s girlfriends so you look it up. It’s Christine Taylor. You click on her link, where you get to reading and remember that she was in The Wedding Singer.
You click on that link, which leads you to Drew Barrymore, where you then spend a considerable amount of time reading about her childhood…
Which leads you to some outtakes of her as a 6-year-old in E.T, which leads you to Steven Spielberg’s wikipedia page, which turns into you clicking on Schindler’s list, which turns into reading about the holocaust for while…
Which turns into reading about Anne Frank, where, because he went to the Anne Frank museum last week, you then click on Justin Bieber, which leads to some reading about Selena Gomez, which leads to reading about Disney stars gone bad, which leads to child star disasters, which leads to Drew Barrym – wait a second…
8 HOURS HAVE PASSED. You my friend, just got lost in a labyrinth of rabbit holes. Time disappears in a way not dissimilar to when you go into Kmart for a new pillow, and walk out 4 hours later confused and with a new dinner set.
5. Parental Incompetence Worry (PIW):
Our parents want in on this fandangled social media thing too, bless ‘em. But this effort to be ‘down with the kids’ means a hell of a lot of PIW for the rest of us.
PIW comes in two forms: social and technical.
The social worry is obvious – you don’t want your dad seeing a post or unauthorised photo of you plastered on St. Patrick’s Day.
The technical worry is a little more stressful. Allow me to put this in perspective: My mother only realised a few months ago that Facebook isn’t just a newsfeed. For two years, she HAD NO IDEA that she had a personal profile page. It blew her mind. A friend’s mother signed up to twitter recently and thought the @ symbol meant she should type her address. Her. Home. Address.
Someone please explain to me how these people haven’t yet managed to unleash a virus of Y2K proportions? Let me tell you something: We are so worried about online terrorism that we haven’t even stopped to consider that the destruction of the Internet will probably be caused by someone’s dad trying to download the software he needs to transfer money to the President of the Official Bank of Nigeria.
Exhausted? That’s just the top 5 my friends.
So, is being to able ‘keep in touch’ whenever you want really worth all this stress?