In media studies, people are classified into different groups when it comes to how quickly they adopt new ideas and technologies. Your gadget-hounds are early adopters. They crave new stuff and are quick to adjust to whatever changes the next wave of whathaveyou might bring. Most people are in the middle, going with the flow and updating their cellphones and personal beliefs alike as need be. The late adopters are those most resistant of all to new ideas, new technologies and new products.

Generally I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle. If I don’t need a new smartphone, I’m not going to buy one just because it’s new, and however radical opinions like equal pay for equal work might (apparently) make my political views, I hardly feel like I’m at the progressive fore. There are, however, some outcrops of the age in which we live that I’ve been more than hesitant to make a part of my life, and one of them is social media.

I have a Facebook profile that I use mainly to post links to promote my own writing and bands I dig, but I don’t really consider it a personal page. I don’t post pictures of my dog, for example. My old band had a Myspace page when that was the thing. I have a LinkedIn profile that the company I used to work for made me start. But along the way I’ve kicked and screamed and hated each and every new development of this anti-interactive clusterfuck of information. Myspace sucked, Facebook sucks, Twitter sucks.

Nonetheless, it’s always fascinating every time I pick up my wife’s iPad—she’s somewhat quicker on the gadget uptake than I am—and open her browser. Invariably, her Facebook profile is up and it’s loaded with links to political articles from various feminist studies groups, blog posts about sundry underrepresented peoples in the world today, New York Times opinion pieces and those meaningful-looking pictures of celebrities with the pseudo-wisdom quotes they may or may not have said. Like Louis C.K. is a prophet of modernity.

My own Facebook page? Nothing but pirated rock videos and softcore porn.

Opinions pop up every now and again, someone says something about “fuck Chik-Fil-A” or something like that, but the din of Black Sabbath bootlegs and cleavage shots is hard to overcome. I think about this and I wonder what it is I’m saying about myself as a person?

For all its flaws—and on every level, from design to function to the corporate ideology driving it, it has many flaws—Facebook is about as efficient as market-targeting gets these days. The whole idea is that through the people and products you associate yourself with by “Liking” them or friending them, you build a virtual version of yourself.

So what the hell kind of version of myself have I built? Maybe there is nothing more to me than digging music and thinking pretty girls are pretty, but wow, it sure is disheartening to see it every time I go to share a review link. It’s the kind of thing that, if I actually gave a crap about it, I might just burn the whole thing to the ground—figuratively speaking—and start over. However, bummed as I am to have blatant confirmation I’m a shallow jerk, I just don’t have that kind of time.

If you have a Facebook feed, however, I invite you to take a look and see what it says about you. Seems a poor substitute for a vision quest or some other way of actually finding out who you are, but if you already had the sneaking suspicion you had failed at life, at very least it can let you know you were right.

I knew there was a reason I avoided these things. Early adoption be damned.

JJ Koczan

jj@theaquarian.com

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