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Rhetoric in the technosphere: How to be a socially responsible millennial

Many of us are members of the millennial generation. As such, we’re accused of many crimes, egocentrism being one of them. The “me me me” generation, they call us.We’re at the center or our own worlds, independent solar systems revolving around “me”-centered social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. As much as we may want to resist such labels, to say ‘that’s not me,’ some of these critiques are apt. Here are some ways you can avoid representing our generation at its worst, by following the unspoken rules of social media etiquette.

First off, watch how much you’re bragging about your own accomplishments. Once in a while, it’s fine. You got into a prestigious graduate program? Just got an awesome new job? Great, we know you well enough to have added you as a “friend,” so go ahead, keep us posted on these major life events. But we don’t need to know every time you get a 96% on essay. We don’t need to know that your professor stopped you after class to compliment you on your professional attitude. We don’t need an update every. single. time. you go to the gym.

For the love of God.

Hold strong to your intrinsic motivation. You know you did good and that should be enough. You’re proud, now internalize it, and move forward. Don’t try to sneak your bragging in as a side-note in a joke or long-winded anecdote either. We can see through this thinly-veiled cry for recognition, and we don’t appreciate it.

What may be worse than less-than-subtle-egoist is the constant-complainer. If you had a shitty day, Facebook shouldn’t be your go-to means of catharsis. As a general rule of thumb, you probably shouldn’t be posting Facebook statuses longer than your thumb. If you’re posting more than one of these rants per week, odds are someone out there (or many someones) have blocked you. No more vague cryptic statuses relying on impersonal pronouns like “I swear to God, I’m not going to put up with it anymore. I’m better than this.” What does that even mean?

I’m sorry you had a crappy day, genuinely, I am, but posting all about it to the public means you want everybody else to feel equally crappy, at least for the ten seconds they spend reading your status. I have 700 Facebook friends, 650 of whom are loose acquaintances at best. If you’re struggling, find a close friend to talk to, find a therapist, but the next step should be finding some self-restraint and self-respect. Stop burdening the whole technosphere with your sorrows.

New media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat Stories have only made this self-salesmanship worse. I love Snapchat, don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing better than sending your friends stupid pictures of your face that only last 3 seconds. But the Story gives people an excuse to send selfie-play-by-plays of their mundane lives. “Sitting at the bus stop!” “Me and my cat!” “Dinner at Applebees! Yum!”

Please, I’m begging you. Just stop.

Social media has blurred the lines between personal and private life. The larger these platforms get, the smaller the world shrinks. This may sound harsh, but what I’m asking is for you to take ten seconds pre-post to ask yourself, “Does anyone else care?” If the answer is no, don’t post it. If your Mom is the only one who will care, send her a text, or a phone call, or a personal Snapchat.

But don’t send it to me.

nfisher@lanthorn.com



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