Now, I know I’m not the first person to conclude that spending many hours on a computer does not a social person make.
Many psychiatric professionals (mine included) have explained how hiding behind a monitor or an iPad or a smartphone removes some of the components which are essential for building healthy human relationships (eye contact and vocal interplay, for example).
There are even plenty of self-confessed “awkwards” who admit that they feel more comfortable typing out a tweet or a Facebook status than they do speaking to a fully fleshed human being.
That’s why when you see a profile like the one at left you think, “This must be a guy who doesn’t know how to interact with real people, is probably an online stalker, and likely lives in the basement of his divorced mother’s house.”
It’s a stereotype, for sure. But it’s easy to reason that a person with extensive social media involvement would not have time to do much more than go to work (or class) and then park himself in front of his computer screen.
While the overextended social media user may be a bit odd and creepy, flamers and trolls are disturbing in a malicious way. Anyone who gets off by inciting controversy on Facebook threads, Tweet streams, blog comments and private forums must have some sort of personality disorder, we reason. We typically write off these assholes as attention-seeking narcissists, and we do our best to not let them bother us.
So, we’re kind of familiar with the potentially pathological prototypes described in the above examples. But in the last couple of months, we’ve seen the emergence of a new type of anti-social media user: people who join social networks and then get angry if you try to interact with them.
Since Google Plus was launched in June to limited users, eager Internet junkies were literally begging for invitations. But when they finally arrived at the party, they didn’t seem to know what to do there. Was G+ supposed to be a replacement for Facebook? Should they post the same type of material they shared on Twitter? And, most significantly, whom should they add to their circles?
As more and more users joined, people noticed that complete strangers were adding them and the “veterans” were bewildered! I’m not sure why they were so perplexed, since many of these folks were already active on Twitter where it’s customary to be followed by people you don’t know. So, while some simply pondered the mystery of the unknown followers and posted innocent queries on their G+ Wall (or whatever Google calls it), others were besides themselves with rage. Take a look at this recent post, for example:
Whoa! Relax, honey! Why so hostile? I believe if you’re that upset you can just block the offenders, no?But it kind of makes me wonder why you’ve joined this network if you didn’t want to meet new people. I’m sure your existing friends are lovely, but don’t you see enough of them on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr? And if you’re so upset with the way social media suggests followers for you, just get off the damn internet and text or email your buddies. That way you can get the privacy you crave.
Okay. You know what? Do whatever makes you happy. Thrown open your circles for all the world to enter or seal them shut after letting only a few of your besties sneak in. But your belligerent tone really turns my stomach.
Actually, I should probably thank you. Posts like this one help identify which people I definitely do not want to add. Much appreciated.
Oh, by the way…you spelled anonymity incorrectly.