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Me, Myself, and I

This afternoon, I was browsing around The Pessimist website and briefly flirted with the idea of actually buying something. What, you might ask, was I doing on this site? Well, aside from the fact that it’s a great website (see “The Pessimist’s Guide to Working From Home” which, in addition to being flat-out hilarious, pretty much exactly matches parts of my experience), it’s mostly a sad and predictable story of bouncing around from link to link and then, fifteen minutes later thinking, “Um, how did I get here and what am I doing?!” I didn’t buy anything (although I still kinda want to), but I did get to the “checkout” stage where I was greeted by the following delightful message:

Your shopping cart, like your impoverished soul, is empty.

How can you not appreciate such humour?

At any rate, as I was cleaning up the mess made by nearly spraying coffee all over my computer screen (and out my nose) I was messaging with my brother who was filling me in on some of the more entertaining deliverances from the Twitter-verse this week (not being on Twitter, I do not as yet have access to the wisdom that undoubtedly pours forth from this medium daily). Our conversations tend to proceed according to a fairly predictable formula: Making fun of what people say on Twitter usually leads to making fun of Twitter itself, which leads to a prolonged lament about the state of popular discourse and our slavish addiction to technology, and generally concludes with some hand-wringing about the general state of human civilization and our inextricable embeddedness in the very structures we bemoan.

It’s even more fun than it sounds.

There are times when the entire world of social media seems utterly, laughably ridiculous to me. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or any of the innumerable other ways that we broadcast ourselves to the world (well, mostly to ourselves—let’s be honest, here), sometimes it seems like we are all turning into the equivalent of a bunch of desperate thirteen year olds on a never-ending quest to find new and creative ways to scream at the top of our lungs, “LOOK AT ME!!! PLEASE!! LOOK AT ME!!!” “I’m smart and funny and attractive and I travel to cool places and my kids are adorable and I read good books and I’ve been to the latest movie and my kids are adorable and I once saw a celebrity and I got published in a magazine and I can take ironic photos and put witty captions underneath them, and… Oh my GOSH, my kid just stuffed an animal cracker up his nose—that is SOO adorable, I simply MUST Instagram/tweet/pin this to show the world!!!!”

If there is one thing that the Internet has made manifestly plain about human beings is that we are huge, HUGE fans of ourselves! We never tire of counting and elaborating upon the ways, it seems. Good thing the Internet seems to be very, very large indeed. Plenty of room for us to document our awesomeness (or the precise contours of our empty, impoverished souls) indefinitely.

Some of us can do all this in a paltry 140 characters. Some of us are less efficient, and take 800-900 words or so 2-3 times per week.

If the above seems unnecessarily grouchy or inappropriately ungrateful for the myriad blessings of social media, I blame the ten minutes I spent on The Pessimist. Or the summer heat. Or the prospect of jackhammering up a sidewalk this weekend to deal with water in our basement. Or… well, I’m sure there’s something negative out there that is acting upon me against my will. Probably.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tanya #

    Lovely post Ryan. 😀 This is too funny as just yesterday I was browsing through the Pessimist store looking for something to buy you as joke. But I couldn’t pick! I seriously was.

    Yes, we are all very high on ourselves and the tweets that make National news sometimes make me want to throw up, along with Kissie face pictures-which I am ashamed to say I have done. However, I recently talked to someone recently who loves twitter to keep up with (in almost real time) what is happening in his favourite sport (He signed up for water skiing highlights) and for News posts from the local news room and city hall. So, I guess it can be handy and I know I am sounding my age, but most of it is so ridiculous that today I feel like shouting “Bah Humbug” to it all and unplugging. I won’t. But I want to.

    Now excuse me I need to go check Facebook and see a picture of what my neighbour made for supper…

    July 11, 2013
    • That’s hilarious, Tanya! One of the reasons I couldn’t buy anything was because every time I clicked on a product, it said “none in stock.” By the end, I was starting to wonder if this wasn’t a deliberately designed part of the “experience” of shopping online at the Pessimist. You can never get what you want… :).

      I hope your neighbour had a delicious supper. Or at least that it looked delicious :).

      July 12, 2013
  2. mike #

    ….“LOOK AT ME!!! PLEASE!! LOOK AT ME!!!” hahahaha… All is vanity saith the preacher.
    Love it!

    July 12, 2013
    • The preacher knew the score.

      July 12, 2013

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