Officially one whole month into a new year, and I can’t help but wonder: How many of you have already broken your resolutions? No judgment, seriously. I didn’t even bother making any resolutions. Why? Well, it could be because I’m already perfect and don’t need to make changes in my life. Or . . . let’s just stop right there.
Of course, there are things I need to or should change in my life. But, all in due time. After all, I’m a work in progress . . . and I plan to be working for a long, long time. And while my new year may not be filled with resolutions, it’s filled with something else: questions . . . and Coors Light. Duh!
For example, when you’re in a relationship, is it possible to be too social on social media? And, if it is, who is the one plagued with drawing that line? More so, how do both parties come to an agreement of where that annoying, albeit needed, line should be placed?
If there’s one thing I can admit, it’s this: I’m not a natural blonde. Okay, two things I can admit: I don’t know shit about shit. Perhaps that’s why I’m a writer. Whether I’m writing about a serial killer who gets off on strangling young women (have you picked up my novel, ‘Til Death, yet?), the highs and lows of relationships (because I’m such an expert on the subject, right?), or the benefits of cosmetic surgery (a bitch has to eat), I get to explore the whys and why nots of, well, almost every aspect of life . . . and, hopefully, learn something in the process. Because, eventually, I would like to know shit about shit.
Or something like that.
Anyway, as previously mentioned, today’s final Jeopardy is social media – specifically, Facebook and Instagram. Oh, and one last thing I’d like to admit: I thoroughly hate social media – specifically, Facebook and Instagram.
After reading that last statement, you’re probably betting that I’m currently living a social media-free life. In a word, you would be, well, wrong. Hopefully, you didn’t wager it all. And just like that, it would appear that I’m a hypocrite. You’re welcome. Though, at least I’m an honest hypocrite.
So, why do I hate social media, yet continue to have an online presence as if I’m a long lost Kardashian (ick, by the way)? Let me count the ways . . .
First, most social media profiles (male, female, gay, straight, K9 … these people should be killed) are full of bullshit. From filtered photos to faux check-ins, I often need thigh-high boots just to scroll through my newsfeed. And don’t even get me started on the “story” feature that now stains Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. There is only one reason why people use this feature: attention. In fact, it would be highly appropriate for content to automatically populate as soon as a story was created, content to accompany all pictures and videos. This content would obviously read: “Look at me! Look where I’m at, what I’m doing! Aren’t I cool? Are you jealous?”
Yes, my name is Cutter, and I’m still a hypocrite. I’ve never used the Facebook or Instagram story feature (though, I most likely will to promote this article), but I have dappled with the Snapchat one. Why? I done told you: attention! However, when it comes to seeking attention on social media, I would like to state that I don’t think I’m as bad as some people. I recently heard a guy say, “Don’t post that picture of me; I’m going to lose so many followers!” What a toolbox!
Now, I don’t want to come off as having a completely negative perspective in regards to social media. Too late? Well, damn. But, as with most other parts of life (immediately, the important ones come to mind: sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll), there are usually pros and cons to consider. Not to mention, there is something to be said about one of today’s cardinal rules: Everything in moderation.
Truth be told, social media can be utilized in a healthy, productive manner. Many of us use Facebook, Instagram, etc. to stay in contact with family and friends who live in other towns, states, or parts of the world. Or, if you have a business to promote or a product to sell, like me (still waiting for you to pick up a copy of my novel), then social media platforms aren’t just ideal, but a necessity to help get that business and/or product in front of the public eye.
Unfortunately, there is a large majority of people (males, females, gays, straights, K9s . . . these people should still be killed) who have ulterior motives when logging onto their social media accounts.
And here’s where the conversation might get a little messy.
How do you deem what is and is not appropriate social media behavior? Obviously, if you’re single, then you can use social media for however you want to use it. Sure, the repetitive gym selfies, restaurant check-ins, and improper use of the English language may prompt some of your followers to label you a “douche,” but, alas, your page, your prerogative. Besides, if these people are still following you, then they either like your updates, or have learned to favor the “block” button.
No, social media, in my humble opinion (meaning it’s a fact), is really only problematic when it comes to relationships. So, allow me to repeat: When you’re in a relationship, is it possible to be too social on social media?
Again, it’s up to each couple to determine what is and is not acceptable social media behavior within the parameters of their relationship. However, you’ve found yourself on my website, meaning you’re stuck with my outlook on the issue – which, again, will be considered factual.
Let’s say, hypothetically (yeah, okay!), you find yourself out at a gay bar with some friends. Your partner is, I don’t know, at home, perhaps knitting a sweater. Maybe baking cookies. Suddenly, an attractive guy approaches. We’ll call him Eric . . . or Kevin. Hell, pick your favorite.
Side note: I’m a gay male. For the sake of confusion, you, the reader, should read this as if you, too, are a gay male. Got it? Fantastic.
Anywho, Eric/Kevin starts a conversation with you and your friends. Yet, before too long, it’s somehow just you and Eric/Kevin chatting. About what, exactly? How should I know? This situation is completely hypothetical, remember? So, before you and your new “friend” part ways, you decide to exchange social media information. Specifically, you begin following each other on Instagram.
Has a line just been crossed? I’m asking you, the gay male reading this. Further, should you have told Eric/Kevin that you’re not single, but in a loving relationship, and therefore, only in the market for friends?
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt : The initial conversation between you and Eric/Kevin was completely innocent, platonic – not flirtatious at all. Then, a day later, two days later, a week later . . . you get a private message on Instagram from this so-called innocent, platonic, non-flirtatious buddy. Another conversation ensues, and yet, you still haven’t divulged the fact that you’re off the market. Is this a form of deception? Particularly, if there are no clear-cut signs on your Instagram page that you have a boyfriend, aren’t you (consciously or unconsciously) misrepresenting yourself as a single, gay man?
I whole-heartedly believe that making friends is an essential part of survival. I’ve said it one hundred times, and now, one hundred and one times: Everyone needs at least one pal, their “person,” if you will, to make it in this crazy, unfair, fucked up world. Simply put, we’re all entitled to find that innocent, platonic, non-flirtatious buddy.
But, shouldn’t you be upfront and honest with said buddy? And from the very beginning? Especially if the friendship has the potential to turn into something more? Don’t you owe that much to this buddy, not to mention, your partner?
Look, I’m not saying it’s necessary to wear a neon sign that says, “Unavailable.” Of course, there’s no reason to lead with the fact that you have a boyfriend. Though, I do believe it’s appropriate to make it known sooner rather than later (mainly if social media information is getting swapped) that you do have a significant other, and therefore, not looking for anything other than a friendship.
Some readers may even argue that private messaging another guy on social media, in itself, is inappropriate behavior, regardless if relationship status has been shared or not. Further, many believe that “liking” an image or post could be an entrance into murky territory. I’m honestly not sure where I stand, but probably somewhere in the middle.
How’s that for being politically correct?
Obviously, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having friends, even gay, male friends (remember, you’re a gay male reading this). There does seem to be something rather sneaky about private messaging a new friend or bar buddy on Instagram, particularly if they don’t know you’re committed. Then again, it could depend on the conversation that is taking place between the two of you. Are you guys talking about the upcoming Justin Timberlake concert that’s scheduled to take place in the midst of some football game? Or are you discussing sex positions, penis size, and who looked sexier in their Halloween costume?
Bottom line: No two relationships are the same. We are lucky enough to live in a world where everyone can make their own rules. To me, it’s all about honesty and communication. If you are proud of your partner, and happy with your partner, then you want people to know you’re not single. There is no reason to be deceitful, or to imply to Eric/Kevin that you’re available. Respect Eric/Kevin, but more so, respect your boyfriend and loving relationship.
Perhaps the issue in question isn’t social media after all, but rather, deceit . . . or fraud, even trickery. Again, pick your favorite. Is it possible that social media is just the innocent bystander here, so to speak? Merely a pawn to help us lie and/or cheat?
Either way, the true lesson here, what I think I’ve come to learn most about social media, is this: Social media can definitely be a tool of destruction . . . but only when we allow it to become one. Oh, and be fucking honest – to everyone! It’s really not that hard of a task.