Social Media Experiment: Socially Inept?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was written Oct. 10, 2010, as part of a social media experiment that I decided to document along the way. I had dreams of creating this “scientific journal” but it turned into eight pages of babble. This is the third installment of a 3-part series. Click here to see introductory post.

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One of my last Facebook posts was a picture of me and my son at a Rangers game (right). He was looking up at me and I was acting like I was scolding him. I wrote a clever caption:

“CRASH: Dad, I like how the Rangers match-up against Tampa Bay in the playoffs. ME: BOY! If you just jinxed them…I’m going to spank your tiny little butt.”

Funny, right?
All I could think about after uploading that picture were the potential responses.
“How many people are going to comment on this post?”
“Is anyone going to ‘like’ it?”
“Cute baby photos with funny captions ALWAYS generate some dialogue…and then you throw in the Rangers. WOW! This should be huge!”
“Please! Please! Please!”
Confession: I’m not that pathetic, but I DID login several times to see if anyone had left a comment. (Actually, that’s more embarrassing than my pseudo, over-dramatic thought process.)
But that’s why we post and/or Tweet, right? To get feedback, comments, reTweets?
Otherwise social media isn’t very “social.”
This desire for online interaction started to impact my psyche, though. The adjective “obsessed” carries a lot of negative connotations, but it’s definitely appropriate in this instance.
I HAD to receive feedback.
More confessions:
• I’ve actually gotten my feelings hurt when no one commented on certain status updates.
Explanation: You think you’ve formulated just the right status update – it’s funny, engaging, something everyone can relate to. It’s one of those posts that even makes you giggle. But after you hit “submit”… crickets.
• I check my Twitter account daily to see if any of my thoughtful Tweets were reTweeted.
Explanation: Similar feeble explanation from above…but this is also the case when I share a funny or interesting news story, an inspiring quote or upload a fun picture.
• I would get excited when one of my random followers (Twitter) or a long-lost friends (Facebook) came out of the wood work to share their thoughts.
Note: No pitiful explanation needed.
I just hate the fact that I needed that feedback.
Why couldn’t I just be happy to live peacefully in my quite narcissistic world?
Why couldn’t I be like everyone else and post about where I was or what I was eating? No one is going to respond about a turkey sandwich or the fact I was at Starbucks AGAIN.
This need for online interaction even started to impact my life. I would stress about making the “perfect post,” which means I was thinking about it ALL THE TIME.I was planning my next update during life’s mundane activities – taking a shower, driving to work and/or mowing the lawn.

But major life events were not exempt.
Example: I was planning my status update even before my just-born son had the birthing goop washed off of him. And I already mentioned the first time my son ate real food – I snapped a photo after his first bite and then raced to the computer.
Yep…missed it all.
I guess I just HAD to have one of my “friends” write “Cute” or “Like father, like son” to get me to my next post.

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