I know how Facebook uses my information to make money (offering highly targeted advertisements to companies like Chubbies who want to sell shorts to 24 year olds that like their competitors brands). I know who people are dissing when they subtweet (just look at who they were tweeting nice things to about a week ago). I know why your profile picture only got 15 likes when your last one got 60 (you posted it off peak usage hours, it’s not shot on DSLR, and it has a person that isn’t you in it). I like to think I have a solid understanding of digital social interaction.
You wouldn’t assume this about me if you looked at any of my social media presences however. What I post is rarely (if ever) smart, compelling or worthwhile. In fact it is usually the opposite. On the web I do my best to come off as “normie,” or average user. Not the self-righteous social-web expert I believe myself to be on the inside.
The case and point here would be my #QuesadillAlone tweets. As of late, I’ve wound up at home by myself for dinner on a few consecutive Monday and Tuesday evenings. Sans roommates to listen to Hot Chip’s new album with while we cook together, I settle for making quesos solo. I actually really enjoy doing this. I’m very good at making quesadillas and to be honest I don’t really like sharing them. My tweets about the process project the opposite impression:
In my own mind, these tweets are hilarious. I’m parodying the #ForeverAlone lifestyle and melodramatically implying that nothing could be worse on this earth than lacking someone to share my perfectly-crisped caramelized cheese creations with. Some of my audience clearly understands that said tweets are written in jest, others do not. This message of concern from my cousin will not stop me from pretending to cry into a bowl of salsa.
My digital idiocy is not limited to the Twitter platform. I post awkward glittery cakes straight out of early 2000s workplace emails to friends’ walls for their birthdays. I’ve asked what artist will be performing in clearly labeled Facebook events for concerts. I ask questions in the comments of @fuckjerry Instagram posts that will never see the light of day. I especially love posting unoriginal jokes on posts from a friend’s business’ Facebook fan page.
I partake in this stupidity as sport for two reasons. Firstly I must pay homage to a hero of mine, king of the internet idiots, Ken M. In his escapades on Yahoo! Answers and Facebook, Ken M asks the important questions. He innocuously posts “Grandson does yoga” on the 237K-like “Yoga” Facebook page. He reveals his wife’s secret recipe for homemade Bacon (rolling pin-flattened hot dogs). His content is so unintelligent that it circles back around the spectrum of stupidity and lands into a difficult to define and subtle brand of humor that troll padawans such as myself can only seek to imitate.
More importantly, I seek to highlight the idea that our digital identities do not necessarily reflect who we actually are. Much of what we perceive about who a person is comes through their social media presence. If someone posts an Instagram with someone of an opposite gender, they’re in a relationship. If someone posts a self-congratulatory status, they are a braggart. If someone shares an Elite Daily article about wanderlust, they are a spoiled idiot.
While the preceding represent plausible assumptions to make, it doesn’t mean they’re always correct. So think again the next time you see a stupid comment on a friend’s status. It might be from a two-steps-ahead-of-you Ken M. Otherwise it’s probably me, in which case you were right to assume whoever posted that was an idiot.