I enjoy social media. It’s fun to share some laughs, a recipe here and there, and to see what everyone’s up to as we speed through life.
But I hate it a little too. I hate the consequence, intended or unintended, of making people feel like they’re not good enough. Not doing enough. Not living enough. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against self improvement or trying new things. But over the last year or two, what I call “lifestyle ads” have started crowding out the actual people on my screen. It’s like a perpetual Dos Equis commercial reminding us that we’re not the most interesting man in the world.
And a lot of those messages are mixed. Follow this link to make more money vs. that link where life’s not about money, but experiences (many of which cost money). Click here to find that special someone vs. It’s okay to be alone and happy.
Honestly, I don’t know whether to shit or go blind. And don’t get me started on the man hating memes that y’all share every thirty seconds. Ladies – we get it. And we’ll get around to fixing whatever it is eventually.
Here are a few of the ones that have been jumping off the page lately. On my feed anyway.
The World Wanderer
Okay, I partially have this one covered due to work travel. But according to my Facebook and Twitter feeds, it’s not enough. It’s never enough. A life in one place evidently isn’t a life at all. Meme after meme of people, usually an attractive couple, stare into the distance at one amazing landscape after another. And they’re inspiring, I’ll give you that. More than once I’ve ended up clicking the photo, following the links, and planning a trip in my head. Which is precisely what they hoped I would do.
Have you ever wondered where 90% of these ads and memes come from? Click on enough of them and most originate either from companies in the travel services business (hotels, airlines, rental cars) or people in the “lifestyle stuff business” (clothing, gear, toys). Does Patagonia really want me to explore the world before I’m dead? If I’m not spending any money with them while doing it, then no. Same for Hilton, or Salt Life, or Southwest.
Listen, I love to travel and to experience new adventures. But at some point, somebody’s gotta’ pay the damn power bill. And I don’t care how many documentaries they make about it, real life doesn’t let most people float from Canada to the Cancun in an inner-tube. Besides, you can bet that somewhere on that trip, you’ll run out of cash, find yourself starving to death, and have to trade a blowjob for a burger. No thanks.
Into the Wild
First it was the rekindled romance with flannel shirts, lumberjack beards, and toboggans. Let’s ignore that many of the ones sporting that shit would split their skinny jeans picking up a chainsaw. But according to the newsfeed, looking like Paul Bunyan isn’t enough anymore. Now, I’m supposed to be able to throw axes with an acceptable level of awesomeness. I saw at least half a dozen articles on it this week alone.
And what the hell? I should teach kids to do it? My boys can’t be trusted not to injure each other with Nerf footballs.
I’ll admit it looks cool, but is this a skill I should feel bad about not having?
I head for the great outdoors when I can, but does Oak Mountain State Park want me flinging hatchets around like the last of the Mohicans? I highly doubt it. And I’m not going on the show Naked and Afraid anytime soon (you’re welcome), so I don’t need to hone my hunting /survival skills.
Would it be super-badass to stomp in and claim the last Christmas ham with a 30 ft. ax throw? Hell yes! Would I be banned from Winn Dixie for life? Hell yes!
It’s too bad I don’t sell sutures, because God knows there’ll be a surge of ER visits if this catches on.
Did you know you can open a bottle of wine with the heel of your shoe? How about the trick of using sticky notes to clean crumbs out of your keyboard? Is this news to you? Don’t worry, there’ll be another lifehack coming across your feed soon enough.
I’ll admit many of them have turned out to be pretty useful and others, not so much. But there’s an underlying message that rubs me the wrong way.
They really piss me off when they lead with “YOU’VE BEEN DOING IT WRONG.” Yes Lifehacker, I realize I can fill a bucket from a sink by running water down a dustpan, but I can also pick it up and fill it in the tub without one. Or with a hose. Or with one repurposed Mason jar at a time. The point is, smartass…there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and just because you found a new one doesn’t make everyone else a moron.
I suppose the bottom line here is you’re okay just being who you are. If you feel like you should take a trip, do it. Wanna’ learn a new skill? Take a class. Read about it. Watch videos. It’s amazing how many excellent how to’s are on YouTube. Take a cooking class. Write a book. Climb a mountain. Whatever. Just do it because you want to, and not because a company want its logo in your photos while doing it.