Social networks: wild expectations versus grim reality

Expectation versus reality
Expectation versus reality

Here Startup Hipster – the most elusive member of the Berlin Startup Scene, pens his thoughts on the hard-won truths of social networking. It all comes down to stalking, Twitter-induced seizures, food, and Justin Timberlake’s face… 

width="216"There’s a lot of tagline guff out there. “Share experiences with friends”, “The easiest way to do Pythagoras’ theorem” etc. They set the stage for a dreamlike sequence where we all hold hands and skip merrily into a sunset housing our wildest dreams.

But over the years we’ve bent our etiquette on these services so much that they’ve turned into specialised hubs for nonsense, stupidity and lulz. It’s pretty easy for me to guess your main driver for signing up to a service, but it’s even easier for me to guess how you’re using it now. Behold!

Facebook – A world of cat videos, cover images and stalking

cat stalker

You like the idea of Facebook more than Facebook. You started out wanting to catch up with old friends and keep in touch with your family as you moved across the world.

But now your account is a festering pool of self-promotional status updates, tagged pictures of you looking fat, and a friends list that resembles a party that you were accidentally invited to.

Your profile picture screams Brad Pitt, when in reality your face is more arm pit. You’ve descended into a world of cat videos, cover images and stalking; a spinning abyss that’s so far away from what you thought it would be. But you’re happy enough. Oh, and you occasionally use hashtags for no reason.

Twitter – An epileptic hazard

rave

#followallthethings! You’ve developed an attention span so short that witnessing particle fusion would make you drift off. You’ve constantly got your Twitter feed flickering in and out of view on your laptop, so much so that it would be a hazard to have anyone with epilepsy around you.

You tweet at famous people hoping for a reply, but you don’t get one because they’re busy being more famous than you. Retweets are out to be exploited, as is the follow button.

You also start tweets with: “Hey, @[name]” so everyone knows that you know that person that they don’t know.

pancakes

Instagram…

You take photos of food.

Flickr…

You take photos of food.

Vine…

You record your food.

 

Pinterest – Where dreams go to die

fishIf someone set out to make a place where hopes and dreams slowly die in public, Pinterest would be it. And you love it. You pin pretty things, like cupcakes and curtains.

The way you want your apartment designed and laid out is in a board. The way you want to dress is in a board. Basically everything in the world ever is in a board.

Some people go clinically insane and make boards entitled “red” and “green” where they collect objects in various colours. You like all of it. It’s pretty.

Linkedin – Adding the shit out of anyone

tie

Around three-quarters of people on Linkedin have been endorsed for “Strategy”… and you’re one of them. Any project that you’ve spent more than half an hour on is listed under your experience. You’ve made your one-month internship at that design agency sound like the greatest Spielberg movie script of all time.

You only really check back at Linkedin when you get an endorsement, but it’s usually from that weird guy that you don’t really know. Even though it’s a network based on people you’ve done work with, you just add the shit out of anyone. It’s a suit-and-tie-free-for-all.

Myspace – A barren wasteland with Justin Timberlake’s face floating around

tumbleweed

You love Tom’s smiley face so much. You can’t let him go. Myspace really isn’t an online service any more – more a barren wasteland with a tumbleweed of Justin Timberlake’s face floating around.

You’re basically locked in the early 00’s, constantly refreshing your profile page hoping you can once again pull off some sweet HTML moves that’ll impress all the 12 year olds. You heard that a big redesign was on the way but you don’t believe it. You’re more happy rearranging your top friends and posting LOL gifs than coming to terms with reality.

Image credits:
Cat stalker – flickr user Phelyan
Pancakes – flickr user cherylleong
Rave – flickr user vegas
Fish – flickr user leshaines
Tie – flickr user nicolecole
Tumbleweed – flickr user jezarnold

For related posts, check out:

It’s all about the beanbags – the Startup Hipster’s guide to office decor
9 Signs you’ve become a Startup Hipster
Anatomy of a Startup Meetup – the 5 major startup stereotypes