Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
I’m so busy in my actual life that I forget to express myself in 140 characters on Twitter.It’s not fun to sit at my desk and organise my life into categories and “likes” so my thousands of Facebook friends can see my Timeline.
That may sound bitchy, but I think I’m just shy online.
I used to be shy in real life.
To be honest, I didn’t really talk to anyone until I was 20. Then I became a social butterfly.
But why hasn’t my extroverted personality made its way online?
It Takes Too Much Time
Social media is a time suck. I’d rather be out there exploring and talking to people I bump into at parties.
The thought of updating the new Facebook Timeline is daunting, stirring up the same emotions as having to move or file taxes. My Twitter feed blows up all the time — but how many messages about the same event do I actually need to read?
Come to think of it, I haven’t checked into Foursquare in years.
Now, there’s a whole new generation of apps, and it’s hard to keep up. For instance, while Path was entertaining for a while, most of my actual friends (outside of technology) aren’t on it yet. So I haven’t fed Path in several weeks.
It’s Not As Satisfying As Real Life
Eating, talking, and travelling give me an instant high. If I’m at a party and I have a really good time, it makes me feel good.
But I’m not going to take out my phone and snap a photo so everyone can know I am having an amazing time. If I go on a good date, I’m not going to share that. If I have a good conversation, I’m not going to share that. That’s all private.
I don’t have the same reaction to social media as I do to peak moments in real life. My online interactions feel flat and unsatisfying.
I Write About People More Interesting Than Me
Writing is my form of expression: I prefer to tell other people’s stories over my own. As I interview entrepreneurs doing exciting things (some are millionaires who fly on private jets), it’s hard not to feel like my life is lacking in some sense.
As a result of constantly being exposed to people who seem more successful than me, I don’t post anything personal about my life at all.
I’m not alone in feeling Facebook envy. A study “Misery Has More Company Than People Think,” which was published in January in a journal called Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, discovered when people post photos of the cars they have, the vacations they go on, and how fabulous their life is, this positive feedback loop makes other people feel depressed.
I Know I’ll Have To Change — Here’s What Could Convince Me
Recently I’ve gotten obsessed with Highlight, which recommends people near me that I might like based on my social network connections and interests. Like Path, it shares my location automatically — and I’m OK with that. It creates this feeling of serendipity and discovery — something that I never experienced using other social media apps.
The best part? It does the work for me.
But social apps could do so much more. We are entering an era of passive consumption, where our mobile devices record everything from our location, our social connections, and our fitness activity. All this data can help a computer algorithm figure out our habits and recommend stuff to us.
Combined, today’s social apps already know more about us than our friends. But the data isn’t being used to give us smart recommendations just yet.