Instagram and Tumblr – I’m glad The Who didn’t t-t-t-talk about our generation.

Taking a break from the usual discussion of film for once, although I do have some work coming down the line that should be up very soon.

If I remember correctly it can only have been a couple of months since I wrote an entry that was a little bit different from my usual jumble of film talk. I wrote an entry that was outlining the reasons why I dislike the social networking site Instagram, and I wish I could say that post had all of the reasons but I was holding back quite a bit. It’s only recently after reading through that particular post again that I realised just how much I dislike social networking sites that rely on photos.

Instagram was just the beginning for me, I’ve already talked of how annoying it is. You get constant updates of small details of someone’s life that honestly you could live without. If you like receiving updates on what someone is drinking, what colour underwear they’re wearing, what page of a book they’re up to, and what their legs look like when they’re in a bath tub then by all means sign up. But if you can take a step back and realise that it’s all just nonsense then I would stay well away. Trust me, having been a part of it for nearly a year you come close to drowning in the sea of hashtags. People will pile hashtags on to a picture if they think it will get them more likes, even if some of the things they tag aren’t even in the picture. You’ll see a picture of someone’s coffee from Costa and it will be swiftly followed by an army of meaningless hashtags; #coffee #costa #drink #liquid #hot #girl #browneyes #blonde #young #breathing #oxygen #blinking #human #skin #drinkingonacoldday #england #earth. It’s just rubbish. We depend so much on how many likes we get on a picture it takes our attention away from things that matter, you know, things that genuinely exist, not just a picture of a love heart with a number next to it. And I know just how ridiculous it is because I used to be part of it. Luckily those days are behind me now.

But the stupidity doesn’t stop there I’m afraid.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “are you on Tumblr?” which I can safely say I am not. Why would I be? I’ve had a glance at tumblr when friends have shown me the site and there was nothing appealing from my point of view. From what I saw it’s a site that has fallen victim to an increasing problem, which is essentially a computer virus consisting of teenage hormones. It’s a technicolour splattering of meaningless statements, pictures and videos that should really be quarantined in a corner of the internet that is difficult to reach. Scrolling down the news feed or whatever it’s called, all you see is pictures of kittens, porn and idiotic quotes that were clearly written by the same overly emotional fifteen year old. And that last one is the main problem for me; the quotations.

I’m all for quotations as most people will know, I think they’re a brilliant source of motivation and inspiration, but they have to mean something. The sort of quotes I like are ones said by truly inspirational figures like Abraham Lincoln or Muhammad Ali. I don’t take inspiration from a fourteen year old from West Berkshire who got dumped after two weeks of awkward hand holding in the playground. The sort of quote I’m talking about are things like “you can separate two lovers by distance but you can never break the bridge that connects their hearts no matter where they are in the world” Now I’m not sure about anyone else but after reading a quote like that I can’t help but feel on edge. Ever stroked a dog’s fur the wrong way? That’s how every inch of my skin feels. Firstly I would just like to point out that their choice of words is very annoying. Lovers?! It’s a social networking site, not a Jane Austin novel! I also think the whole basis of the quote is stupid because it’s suggesting that someone that young has found someone they are genuinely in love with. I hate to be pessimistic but you haven’t, you’ve just managed to find someone you can stand seeing for longer periods of time before moving to University. I know what some people are already thinking by this point; if I don’t want to see this sort of quote then don’t go on the website. The sad thing is I don’t go on the site, the quotes are somehow being leaked on to Facebook. Honestly they are the sort of posts that make me re assess the situation and consider the possibility that updates about Farmville weren’t actually that annoying.

It’s worse when a quote from someone famous circulates the site and leaks out on to Facebook. The amount of times I’ve seen the same Paul McCartney quote “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian” which annoys me to a certain extent. Firstly I don’t think it’s true, mainly because we’re well aware of the horrible affairs that go on in the world but we still consume such products because we choose to. We’re not being force fed meat after being horrified by how it’s prepared, we’re choosing to eat it because it’s become part of our balanced diet. Secondly it relies entirely on the assumption that everyone lives within a certain radius of a slaughterhouse, which is a contextual factor needed for the exercise to work efficiently. Most of all for me however is that I don’t think the quote means as much as people think it does. This is mainly because the situation that the quote suggests sounds rather pointless. If you genuinely need somewhere that is called a “SLAUGHTERhouse” to have glass walls, then you’re not doing the best of jobs at reading. The word “slaughter” is suggestive enough and implies the nature of activities that occur within the building so why bother suggesting that we need visual evidence in order to allay our doubts. Let’s not go wasting money on an exercise that could be eliminated by simply showing people a dictionary definition of certain words. I understand that people interpret the quote differently, but there’s a difference between quotes that mean something and those that are over used until we think they mean more than they do.

The dependence that our generation has on social networking scares me. Likes on a picture of our new socks mean so much to us, and we seek advice from quotations that are about as poetic as instruction for cup o soup. I’m sure that Tumblr has more than that to it, but after going on it  couple of times and being bombarded by so called philosophical quotes and animations of porn it opens a lot of questions as to what has happened to our generation. They call it a blog which is fair enough, but if you’re interests don’t span much further than cats, porn and sentences that have as much use a swimming lessons for fish, then I don’t think a blog is really for you because it requires a certain level of creativity and imagination.

Safe to say I’m sticking to this site, Facebook and Twitter firmly for the foreseeable future. That way I can stay how I am for as long as possible without having to re create myself so that my identity suits the trashy new format of social websites. I shall end this post on a positive note, with a quote from Abraham Lincoln that sums up my views about online identities quite nicely:

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”

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