Social Media Vitamins

I’m secretly 100 years old. I complain about my joints, I reminisce about the price of candy bars and I am so incompetent with social media I might as well have been born in the 1800s.


The truth is the internet terrifies me. The idea of having “the world” at my fingertips often sends me into a catatonic state reversible only by a sprinkle of epsom salt or some Buddy Holly. I’d prefer to have just a sliver of the world at my fingertips and the remainder kept at a safe distance forever. And when it comes to getting the news, I’ll always have a soft spot for the old-fashioned way: stealing newspapers from the local market and flipping through them until my fingers are inky and bleeding.

I guess I would say this news diet has been the kind of diet that tastes pretty weird but I do it because it’s probably good for me and maybe one day I’ll get used to it. Remembering to check twitter and facebook was the hardest part, as most days I can’t even remember where I left my glasses.

So why do I think this will be good for me? For one, everyone else is doing it. Which is always a good reason to do anything. Another reason: I can keep my eye on the progression of news sharing and the constantly changing ways human beings ingest their news. I’m currently following 135 twitter accounts as well as a handful of news/science organizations on the facebook.

It’s helpful to see the 5 million various ways different organizations can say the same thing. At first I thought it was kind of redundant to be scrolling down my news feed through 30 different tweets about a lego contraption that allows scientists to safely handle insects but then I realized that every journalist or news outlet has developed their own language and style to communicate these sorts of events. And exposing myself to this will help me develop my own style.

Admittedly, sometimes it feels impossible to keep up with the endless stream of tweets without missing anything important. Or without being inundated with things that are so unimportant they make my eyes sad.

But really it’s not so bad. The nature of tweeting makes it practically impossible for people talk too much, also giving me a free pass to say as little as possible. And I’m sure the trained twitter person is able to sort through what’s interesting and what’s not with minimal effort. Plus aggregators like feedly and tweetdeck help to organize the mess I’ve made of social media into bite-sized chewable vitamins.

And vitamins are good for you!

So basically I’m keeping an open mind, eating some social media and hoping it will become less overwhelming and more tasty by the time I hit 101. And then maybe I will be the oldest social media expert in the world. Which is pretty cool.


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