I’ve checked my various social feeds at least a dozen times this morning. I stare into the void watching a space that never looks back in search of something I can’t even define.
This is my unhealthy social media love story.
I’ve been on social media for almost a decade, and even when I wasn’t, I wanted to be, jealous of those college students who got involved with Facebook early.
I’ve been, if I’m being honest, a fickle social media lover. First obsessing over Twitter, then flirting with Vine and even enjoying a brief dalliance with Google +.
The relationship I have with Twitter is obviously special. I can say that we truly understand each other. Twitter is the voice whispering sweet 140 characters in my ear: news, jokes, random thoughts and the president’s tweets, a scrolling list of mash notes compiled expressly for me.
I have, of late, been cheating on Twitter with Facebook. That relationship goes back just as far as Twitter, but it was never a love connection. I used Facebook the way a careless lover might. I gave it what amounted to attention through an automated connection that delivered every single one of my tweets directly to Facebook.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter ever caught on, but the whole thing made me feel dirty. Finally, I couldn’t take the guilt and literally cut the connection between the two social media platforms.
Then a beautiful thing happened: I started paying special attention to Facebook. We could connect on a different and even deeper level than Twitter. I could pour my heart out to Facebook, while Twitter had to survive on posts that, I now realized, amounted to announcements.
Vine and I had an amicable breakup a few months ago, but that’s because Vine got kicked out of its apartment and, if I’m being honest, became far less interesting.
If I am being honest here – and why should I, this is just between us, after all, isn’t it? – I’m cheating on Facebook and Twitter with Instagram. As you might have guessed, that attraction is totally based on looks. I share only images with Instagram and that’s all it shares with me, as well. I know that Instagram is trying to get me to engage on a deeper level with words and hashtags (and even videos, but then every one of my social media lovers has developed that obsession). However, I usually can’t see beyond Instagram’s stunning looks. That picture of a baby hippo was simply all I needed.
So, my love affair with social media is, in truth, a deepening relationship with three different lovers: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each one provides something slightly different and, together, they consume me.
I’m writing this now, in fact, because I worry that what started as friendship — and grew into admiration and love — is becoming an unhealthy obsession. The whole of my self-worth is tied up in these platforms. Twitter, in particular, teases me with news of new followers, likes and retweets, going so far to repeat the news throughout the day so I get confused and think I’m more popular than I really am. I realize now that this is a ploy to keep me engaged. Maybe Twitter is as insecure as I am.
Facebook and I have developed such a sudden and intense relationship that I worry it will flame out quickly. I’ve also noticed that it’s incredibly moody: one minute happy and soulful and the next angry and screaming. This is an exhausting affair.
It’s at times like this that I cherish Instagram’s relative silence. Sometimes I just need to look at something, zone out and feel good. I think Instagram gets that.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I consider leaving one or all of them, but like any unhealthy relationship, I know that I probably can’t survive without all of them. Who will I share my secrets with? Who will whisper the day’s news and oddities? Who will keep trying to win my approval with the latest beautiful image?
No, I won’t break up with them, and I won’t tell them about what I’ve got going on with Snapchat. No one needs to know about that, do they?