The minute I wake up each morning, I grab my alarm clock (a.k.a. my iPhone), unlock it, and spend the first moments of my day checking social media outlets. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Facebook is obviously the most dominant of the four. Facebook has been part of my life since I was 14 years old; it’d be very easy to imagine what my world would be like without Facebook. Although it often offers the most intimate information about the people you’re connected with, Facebook offers the least intimate experience. I often find myself deliriously reading my news feed and asking myself, “Who is this person? Why are they on my news feed? What on earth are they talking about? Why do I care?” Many people I’m friends with (I’m talking about real-life friends) have deleted their Facebook for extended periods of time; some reactivated their account and some have remained “off the grid.” Perhaps it’s because they are more novel than Facebook, but I would have a much harder time deleting my Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat.
Both Instagram and Twitter have a format that allows for more personal sharing that would normally happen in the real world. Facebook offers so much information that is entirely unusable. I really don’t care about what my best friend’s little brother ate for brunch, but Facebook puts it on my newsfeed. I think the exclusivity on Twitter and Instagram come from their terminology. To connect with someone on Facebook you must “Friend” them. “Would you like to be my ‘friend’ so we could both be updated on the mundane lives we each are living?” It’s almost rude to not accept a “friend request” from even the most obscure “real-world” connections. The information gained from such “friends” is often unwanted and, for the most part, useless. Twitter and Instagram on the other hand each use the terminology of “following”. “Following” someone is a lot more deliberate than accepting a “friend request”. What I mean by more deliberate is that you choose to “Follow” where as you’re practically obligated to accept a “Friend Request.” On Twitter I follow 115 users, compared to the 1000+ friends on Facebook. The information I consume on Twitter is far more relevant and worthy of consumption than that of Facebook. Twitter consists of close friends’ quirky thoughts, not aimed at anyone in particular, and short amusing anecdotes. If Twitter, or Instagram, were to disappear I feel that my “real-world” connections would suffer far more than if Facebook were to disappear. I care about what a friend of mine tweets, I don’t care about the 180 picture photo album my cousin’s ex-girlfriend put up of her spring break.
My Twitter and Instagram, because they are more exclusive and personal, are a much deeper extension of myself than my Facebook. The smaller audience size of my Tweets and Photos, as well as the limited amount of output all users are allowed, enables me to share deeper, richer content while knowing those reading are more likely to appreciate my statements. For this reason, I think Instagram and Twitter are far more personally fulfilling than Facebook. Rappers like Trinidad James and A$VP Rocky recognize the greater intimacy of these social media outlets and reference Instagram by name in their lyrics. A world without Twitter and Instagram would be less enjoyable than a world without Facebook.
Shameless Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat plug: @bermansauce