I taught Solomon his little ABC’s; I’m the first one to eat Limburger cheese

I know, we talk a lot about social media round these here parts. Pilgrims. I spend most of my life on the interwebs, so it only makes sense. It’s my home. Of course I’m going to talk about my home, it’s what people do.

The interwebs is my HOME. Are you too good for your HOME?

A while ago, I recapped (I should put that in quotes, as anything I “recap” ends up pages and pages long, only slightly shorter than what I’m actually recapping, I suffer from logorrhea, I know I do, and HA! spell check wants me to change that to “gonorrhea” and I’m FAIRLY sure I don’t suffer from that, I know I’m a hypochondriac but not when it comes to STDs, you have to be sexually active for those to be a concern, I’m fairly sure) an article about how Facebook is making us all lonely. The author was all “FACEBOOK IS THE DEVIL” and we talked about how his statistics were flawed and how probably he’s doing social media wrong because he seems to have a bone to pick with it.

The other day, I found this article on the Wall Street Journal. Whenever I find an article on the Wall Street Journal that’s not about finances, I laugh a little. Yes, yes, I know they write about all manner of things nowadays. But I see Wall Street Journal, I think, “buy buy sell sell cornering the ENTIRE FROZEN ORANGE JUICE MARKET!” and then I see an article about social media and I laugh a little. I don’t know. It’s probably only funny to me. (Please tell me you got the orange juice reference. It’s only one of my favorite movies of all time ever ever EVER.)

What about now. You get it now, right?

The article, titled “Are We All Braggarts Now?”, shares a lot with the article I discussed in the other post, but goes a little deeper into one aspect I only touched on briefly; that of how looking at others’ positive status updates on social media makes us upset, jealous, and gives us a severe case of the green-eyed monsters.

BTW, not all of us with green eyes are monsters. Some of us just have beautiful green eyes. I mean, just saying.

Let me try to recap. I KNOW, I KNOW. Amy! Your recaps are CUCKOO-BANANAS LONG. I like words, jellybeans, they’re like drugs to me.

So the author (Elizabeth Bernstein) starts with some examples of status updates, along the lines of “I have the best husband ever!” and “Just got my first royalty check!” and says, if you’re kind, those seem benign, but really, they’re bragging, and they’re all kinds of rude.

She discusses why, exactly, we “brag” online – to compete with others, to show those in our lives who said we couldn’t make it that we can and did, that we’re excited when good things happen to us, that when we talk about ourselves, we trigger the dopamine sensors in our brain (we’ve talked about that here on the old Lucy’s Football before, how talking about yourself online triggers the same brain-areas as sex does. If that’s the case, I’m doing it wrong, as I’ve said before, because I’ve never felt anything sexy about tweeting, but I digress. Hell, I always digress, that’s nothing new.) She mentions the study I spoke about once before (I don’t remember when, but I know I did) where a researcher offered money to study participants to not talk about themselves online, and they eschewed the money. ESCHEWED. (Really depends on how much money it was, doesn’t it? I mean, I’d turn down fourteen cents, but if someone offered me a million dollars never to tweet again…I might consider that, let’s be honest. I like the idea of not having to worry about paying my rent or bills. But I’d miss Twitter like someone cut out my heart…so, yeah. I’d think about it.)

She mentions, briefly, that some people don’t know the difference between bragging and simply sharing positive information that others might want to know. And that some people might see what you think of as simply sharing information as being a big old braggy asshole. Simply talking about your job to someone might be seen as bragging to them, especially if they’re not in a good place (either mentally, or job-wise. Or, they might be a dick. Never discount the fact that the person you’re talking to might be a total and complete dick. There are more of them out there than you know.)

Listen to Wil Wheaton, kiddos. He’s ultra-wise.

Then she’s all, how do you DEAL with these BRAGGARTS? Well, you feel SORRY for them, and you MOVE ON, shaking your head SADLY at their BRAGGARY. (Braggarism? Braggartry? Hmm, there’s probably a correct word for this. Not that it really matters, it’s not like I don’t make shit up all the time.)

Want my thoughts? Eh, would you be here if you didn’t?

Here are my thoughts. I’ll put them in a handily-bulleted list for you.

  • People aren’t bragging as much as you think they are.
  • If they are being a braggy asshole, you have choices about how to deal with it.
  • If “bragging” is bothering that much, you might want to deal with what’s going on in you-town.

Let’s break these down. All serious-researcher style.

People aren’t bragging as much as you think they are.

People put all kinds of things up on Facebook and Twitter. This article was talking more about Facebook than Twitter; that’s probably smart. On Facebook, your updates are usually skewed one way; on Twitter, your updates go all around the town.

Facebook updates are usually positive. You get a lot of “Going on vacation in five days!” or “Just saw the most beautiful sunset!” or “Dinner with my honey tonight!” Things like that. On Twitter, you get a lot more of everything – we tend to just spew on Twitter. That’s what I like about it. You don’t have to be all chirpy-chirpy. You can say whatever you want, for the most part. (Also, sorry FB people, I like my Twitter people more. They’re more engaged, they respond more, and they’re funny as hell.)

Here’s the thing. I don’t know that they’re bragging, so much. They’re just talking. They’re just saying things that are happening. What’s the alternative? To talk about only NEGATIVE things going on in their lives? “I never get a vacation, my life sucks” or “Ugh, all it does is rain” or “No one would ever date ME” – listen, would you rather read updates from chirpy positive Polly up there, or negative Nelly? Honestly, as much as I hate all-rainbows-all-the-time, I’m going with Polly. I’d rather deal with positivity than constant negativity. Constant negativity is EXHAUSTING.

Remember Debbie Downer? Would you have wanted to be her Facebook friend? Didn’t think so.

Is the person who’s constantly positive (or, if you read it this way, braggy) annoying? Well, yeah, sometimes. But it depends on how you read it. It depends on you. And you have options on how to deal with it.

If they are being a braggy asshole, you have choices about how to deal with it.

If you’ve decided that someone IS being a braggy asshole, and isn’t just a., clueless, or b., positive, or c., just talking about what’s going on in their lives and their lives happen to be pretty damn good, you have options.

Is it Twitter? Unfollow their asses. Easy peasy. If you can’t – it’s a friend of a friend, they’ll get yelly, they’ll get pouty, they’ll hit their blog and be all “LUCY’S FOOTBALL IS AN UNFOLLOWING ASSHOLE,” they’ll get suicidal, you know them in real life – you can do things to minimize your contact with them. Twitter has a setting you can mute their retweets (I’ve done this with a lot of obnoxious people.) It cuts down on a lot of their stream-hogging traffic. Then: you simply ignore the rest of their tweets when you see them. Is it a pain in the ass? Are they annoying the shit out of you? Yep. You’re a grownup, though. Muscle through, sunshine. And if you ignore them long enough, you might be lucky and they’ll unfollow you. Total win!

Is it Facebook? Even better. If you don’t want to unfriend them because they might pitch a fit, you can block them from seeing anything on your page and you can block YOURSELF from seeing their updates. It’s like they’re not even there. Anything you post? As long as you don’t mark it “public,” that jerko doesn’t see it. And you don’t see their relentless cheery updates. Done! I mean, sure, someday they might contact you, all, “why don’t you ever update your Facebook anymore?” Just say “eh, Facebook is SO OVER, I’m into Google Plus now,” or something you don’t ever check.

If “bragging” is bothering that much, you might want to deal with what’s going on in you-town.

Sure, you can ignore and you can block and you can eye-roll. But if all that braggery is bugging you SO EFFING MUCH and making you feel like your life sucks? Well, I’m thinking that maybe you have some inner work to be done. I mentioned this in my earlier post I mentioned above, but honestly, when my friends post something good that happens to them? I’m overjoyed. I respond accordingly. I want them all to have the best things in life. If I had my way? My people would have ALL the best things. As much money as they need or want, a significant other that they deserve, people around them that love them, children if that’s their thing, a job that fulfills them, hobbies that they love, their good, long, and enduring health, and all the laughter in their lives that they need to nourish them. And if they post about those things on social media or send me an email about them or otherwise tell me about them? Shit, what kind of asshole ISN’T happy for their loved ones? Now, sure. You wouldn’t be human if, sometimes, you didn’t get the slightest twinge of “oh, damn, I wish I had that” when a friend tells you about something awesome they have. A husband that does an awesome thing; a job doing something you’d love to be doing; a home in a place you’d love to live. Of course. It’s only natural to want what you don’t have. But it doesn’t mean you need to go from “damn, wouldn’t that be nice to have? Oh, well” to “I HATE HER WHY IS SHE LIVING THE LIFE I DESERVE,” you know? And if you ARE doing that? Something’s going on in your brain-area. You need to look into that. You need to get that checked into. Therapy, talk to a friend, I don’t know. Something. It’s not your friends’ fault they have good things in their lives. And you don’t need to be pissed at them about it. You should be a big enough person to be happy for those you love if something good happens in their lives. I’m a gigantic enough sap that when something good happens to my nearest and dearest, I totally get teary. I’m thinking back, and yep, I can think of two different things over the past month or so that I found out from my people that made me cheer audibly and tear up. Maybe that’s not normal, but I have to think it’s a little nicer than getting all stompy and WHY NOT MEEEE???

I’m sorry, I know this has very little to do with the preceding paragraph; it made me laugh until I snorted. SO EMOOOOOO

So, are we all braggarts now? I’d say, probably not. We talk about ourselves. We tend to talk about the positives, more than the negatives. (Well, most of us. The Twitterati among us talk about everything. We’re fairly shameless.) If everything’s striking you as bragging – well, you might be a sensitive little flower, darlin’. Deep breaths. Not everything’s a personal attack. I promise.

Title from my beloved Woody Guthrie’s “The Great Historical Bum” (also known as “The Bragging Song” and “The Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done”.) Enjoy!

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

22 responses to “I taught Solomon his little ABC’s; I’m the first one to eat Limburger cheese

  • Charleen

    I was going to do a bullet-style blog post the other day, thinking that I didn’t have a ton to say about any of those topics. My first bullet ended up dominating the entire post. So I totally get your verbosity.

    Oh, and I love the Wil Wheaton cartoon.

    Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Mmm! Jellybeans! *roots through cupboard, finds bag of sweets from yesterday* I’m sure I won’t be feeling sick if I eat them TODAY. *starts munching sweets*

    Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Yes! I concur! For me, FB is people you know or once knew from RL. And how many cool interesting people have you had in your real life? (Really? Huh. I might be doing RL wrong..)

    Twitter on the other hand is all about cool interesting people you would really like to know in RL. Probably more kindred spirits than your old classmates from 20-30 years ago (yes, I’m old, I know..).

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Absolutely. The people I interact with most on FB are the ones I know from Twitter, for what it’s worth. :)

      You’re not old. My classmates were from 20 years ago. My 20 year class reunion was (is?) this summer. Wouldn’t begin to know when. Wasn’t invited. Told them I didn’t want to be when they asked.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Blargh. I’m feeling slightly sick now.. *puts bag of sweets away*

    Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Shit.. You want me to have a significant other that I deserve?! But I like Fiancée to be my significant other! *sighs heavily and reaches for the bag of sweets again*

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      You deserve someone you love and that makes you happy and that loves you back and makes you laugh. I assume she does all of those things? Otherwise, why would you even be with her? Therefore, yes! You are with the right person! Nice how that works out.

      Like

      • Andreas Heinakroon

        Really? Are you sure, because that doesn’t sound right? Usually when one gets what one deserves, it’s some kind of horrible karmic punishment, not a bonus present one didn’t expect. But if you say that’s how it is, then I believe you. Because that’d be really rather nice!

        Like

        • lucysfootball

          Well, sure, the crappy people get the crap they deserve. But you’re one of MY people. Therefore, you deserve only the best (as my people are the best – I only choose the best, you see. I’m very selective.) You’re awesome; therefore you DESERVE all that’s awesome. And that’s the way it is. So sayeth Amy. (Plus, it’s an incentive for people to be awesome, because what goes around comes around, people!)

          Like

  • Heather

    It would take a lot for me to think that someone is being an asshole braggart. Also, I can much better deal with a braggart than someone looking for false sympathy. The updates looking for false/forced sympathy annoy me SO MUCH.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      YES! I was just talking to sj about that the other day! People that need false sympathy (or even a constant need for attention) are my personal annoyance. I’d take bragging over “look at me LOOK AT ME” any day of the week. I’m 100% with you on that.

      Like

  • jennabenda

    Anytime people complain to me about someone on FB or Twitter, I thank myself for being very good at editing who gets to be in my life. I usually have little hesitation about blocking or deleting someone. Doesn’t work for everyone, I know, but whew it’s a relief when you can remove that thorn in your side. As long as you do address bullet point #3 you mentioned – which I lovelovelove. Always visit You-Town! Good and bad. Then you get to say, hey this is great and I love this thing! Or, yikes this feels icky and I need to do something about it. Win-win!

    I had a resolution to journal about negative stuff instead of taking it to Twitter. It only lasted a short while. I should try it again because I don’t want to be Debbie Downer, but Twitter is indeed for spewing.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I think as long as you have a decent balance of happy/sad on Twitter, you’re fine. And you’ll know if it’s too depressing. I always do – right before I post I get a weird “um…this is TOO ANNOYING FOR TWITTER” and I delete it. :)

      At first, I was weird about who I deleted, and I still am, a little (I really hate to hurt people’s feelings, even if they’re making me insane) but I’m tougher than I used to be, that’s for sure. Life’s too short for weirdos.

      Like

  • Samantha

    I agree on all of this. I don’t tend to think people are bragging unless they’re ACTUALLY bragging…like it’d be considered bragging in person. I don’t know. I kind of hate Facebook lately, I enjoy Twitter more, I’m not sure if it’s just because I get a wealth of actually useful information and good interaction, rather than Facebook which seems to be mostly memes and people spewing opinions that make no sense. At least Twitter leaves you more confined to 140 characters, and you can self-edit things down. :)

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    • lucysfootball

      I don’t, either! I give people a lot of leeway, bragging-wise. I mean, I notice it when it’s really egregious, like if they comment on someone else’s sad status all “I’m sorry that’s happening to you, but I can’t relate because MY LIFE IS PERFECT” or something…but otherwise, I just assume things are going well for them and I’m happy for them, you know?

      And yes, I agree about FB/Twitter. I barely post on FB anymore. I feel like everyone there is judgey, as opposed to Twitter where we’re all equally goofy and no one judges anything. :)

      Like

  • sj

    I do a lot of self-censoring everywhere. And then if something slips because I didn’t censor myself enough I worry that people will think that I’m just looking for attention, but it’s pretty much the worst when no one acknowledges it – whether it’s happy OR sad.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I do TOO! And that’s why I don’t say sad things, because what if no one responded? OR, almost WORSE, what if everyone was all aw, poor you, because I hate sympathy? (I know, I’m a weirdo.) So I keep my sadnesses all locked down tight. They’re my own issues. Yep. That’s healthy.

      Like

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