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Post Column: Shifting Tides: Staying on top of social media can be tough

A couple weeks ago, I made the mistake of getting back on Facebook. I scrolled down the endless page of posts, pictures, and “updates” from a range of people I’ve known all my life to the ones I’ve had single encounters with.

I saw pictures of girls in college attempting to look like 30-year-old housewives and statuses that led to a “my life is better than yours” conclusion. Shaking this feeling that social networking has turned into a drawn out miniseries of how to prove that my life appears to be more lavish than yours is something I can’t accomplish.

Laughing with my hometown friends at seeing the same pose repeated in every profile picture could occupy us for a heavy amount of time, but the fact that the poses continue and I’m finding it hard to keep up the laughter says a lot to me. As a result, my Facebook remains deactivated.

The attempt to lionize your life via social websites has turned from theory to fact over the years with the addition of cover photos, a check-in feature and even Twitter. The communicative updates today are infinite, and though experts claim that this generation isn’t getting worse at communicating, simply observing and living through this technological time leads me to think otherwise.

Our phones now serve as communication portals through which we can be exposed to news throughout the world and at least five means of connecting with the people in your life instantly. The thought alone is exhausting, let alone actually utilizing all of them. Earlier in the year I decided to go for Snapchat, and I couldn’t get through a psychology lecture without receiving a picture of a friend’s convoluted face and feeling obligated to return the favor (Snapchat was gone later that evening).

Each day I continue to fail in my ability to keep up communication with the circle of people who have led me here today. There are seemingly hundreds of ways to be in contact and I can’t find one that seems sincere.

My sister finds it odd that I’m not a member of Twitter, Facebook or any other form of social media that is labeled as a fun way to communicate. But, I like to hide in this grandiose idea that if the year were 1965, I could potentially shoot you a phone call or a letter, but the truest way to have a conversation would be to wait until the opportunity for face-to-face interaction occurred. The stories we would hear when we’re reunited at home for the summer would go on for hours and seeing the people you love would be an actual, genuine event. However, the year is 2013 and social networking is practically running the world. When I’m laying in bed at the end of the day, I’m recounting the people I forgot to call or the people I have to talk to in the near future — my punishment for not getting a ticket aboard the social media bandwagon.

It’s a race to say the most clever thing first, to prove how important your life is compared to the person posting a status below you, or to exude the image you have of yourself though a picture saying “be at peace with yourself” splashed across your timeline. Hundreds of ways to communicate, yet the process is so selective that we’re always disappointing someone.

I came to college thinking that keeping up with everyone in my life would be a simple task because of cellphones and social networking, but what I’m finding is that people get hurt when there’s a way to communicate right in your hand and you’re not utilizing it for them.

I suppose I’ll just have to give my apologies and wait for spring break when the communication channel doesn’t include a keyboard.

Garrett Lemery is a freshman studying communications at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Are you a social-media addict? Email Garrett at gl496111@ohiou.edu.

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