Monday, August 2, 2010

Competing With Strangers

Picture this.

 Tallahassee, Florida fall of 2005

At that point in my life I had never had a profile on the internet. Millions of people were on Blackplanet, Myspace, and countless other sites but I had managed to be the black sheep. The good part of it was none of those sites mattered anymore. Facebook had recently been created and it was for college students such as myself. When I signed up for facebook it was because of peer pressure. All of my friends were doing it, so I needed to be on there too. I quickly created a profile and it was amazing.

The majority of my facebook friends at the time were newly developed friends and a few people I would soon meet. When we weren't physically around each other we hopped on facebook to talk to each other, to see each other's pictures from the nights that we missed, and to laugh at our silliness. We posted up things that probably wasn't internet friendly, but it didn't matter because we were all friends and the thought of future employers wasn't on our minds.

Pictures were what we originally went crazy with posting, but soon we started posting notes. I'd get tagged in notes all the time and I even took the time out to read every single one of them. My friends had written them so I saw them as important. Then one day I decided to share my writing talent with my friends by posting poetry online and getting their opinions. Enough of them read my notes to make me feel that my plan was accomplished.

However, things changed. Facebook got several makeovers. In the end facebook started letting anyone with an email register. That meant parents of college students were on the site and requesting their children as friends. That is all good, but jobs were also on the site. These jobs started watching over their employers and future employers.

Now when I log on the site parents and my future potential employers are not all that I see. I also see hustlers trying to advertise their products. These hustlers request any and everybody. They don't ask if a certain person has money. In fact they get mad if no one on their friend list is buying their product. Okay, this shouldn't be bad. We are all hustlers at heart, but what happened to leisurely sharing our thoughts. Instead I have these strangers who put their thoughts in books and tell me to buy the books to know what's on their mind. I'd rather read it in a note.

Then the worse part of their hustling is I have friends who genuinely want my opinion still. Plus, I genuinely want their opinion. However, it's hard for us to share our opinions of each others notes and photos when these strangers are competing with us.

My friends tag me to notes and expect me to read them. My friends put up photos of their funny moments and expect me to look. My friends put up witty statuses and wait for me to comment. On the other hand, strangers do all of the above and inbox me to look at their work. If they don't inbox me they catch me on chat. If they don't catch me on chat then they find some creative way to take the focus off of my new photo by commenting on it to let my fb friends and I know they've put up something brand new. I wouldn't  have a problem with this if I knew these people, but the big picture is they just want my comment and my money. They don't even care about the fact that I have real friends. I have friends that I've been hanging out with for years and maybe, just maybe I'd rather read my friends thoughts first but they don't consider it. They only consider the fact that they are trying to sell a product. I really wish there was an easier way for me to block some of those stranger's messages so my friends could't compete with them.

"(Person's name) is going natural"

The above is a status I missed yesterday. When I finally did see it this morning I fell out laughing. It was funny because a friend/old classmate who is a male and bald wrote it. He has absolutely no hair to be talking about going natural. At first I was confused about how I could have missed such a funny status, but then I realized my news feed was crowded with strangers trying to overshadow my friend's thoughts.

Some say twitter is better because you are not competing with strangers for attention. However, twitter is worse. It gives people a false sense of leadership. It makes people think that they have others who are following their every word when in reality the others are only clicking the follow button in hopes of it seeming as if they will have someone to follow their every word too.

When other sites are designed to only make us feel like leaders without doing anything, how do I go back to the old way of loving the web? How do I get my friends attention with so many strangers trying to compete with me? Will the competition ever end? Do I need to go ahead and join the hustle, but only share fun moments with my friends over the phone? Nope, the phone isn't good enough.

No comments :

Post a Comment