One’s relationship with social media is just that: a relationship. Be it friendship or love affair, each one plays an important role in how we, in this brave new world of technology, navigate our careers and personal lives. The closer you get with each platform, the deeper your understanding of its personality.
Facebook is your sweet, supportive, long-term boyfriend. Creating an account is love at first sight. Before you know it you two are gossiping almost every night, being invited to events, and sharing intimate personal details. Facebook doesn’t even mind if you creep your ex-boyfriend and gawk at his tacky wedding photos and babies that – yep! – inherited his oddly shaped skull. Facebook is confident and easy-going. He makes the act of giving and receiving love as easy as the click of a button. He understands that sometimes you’re busy, and he never holds a grudge – he’s more than happy to catch you up over the weekend. He gives you plenty of attention when you change your hairstyle, and he never forgets your birthday.
Twitter on the other hand, is the classic bad-boy. You flirt with him every once in a while, but it doesn’t turn into something right away. His hashtags are too cool and you don’t quite understand them. They’re jarring and political, hip and often ill-informed. However, there’s still an attraction there. All it takes is being paired together on a school project and something starts to click. As you spend more time together you slowly start experimenting with hashtags. You find they’re actually quite enlightening. After some digging you find he has stances on politics that really align with yours. You start bringing things up Twitter has said in every conversation and suddenly it’s “hashtag this” and hashtag that.”
Then you go away for a few days – you’ve earned some time off. You come back to Twitter happy and refreshed to find: nothing. Silence. No notifications, no messages, nothing. He gives you the cold shoulder for a day or two until you can ease back into a routine together. He holds a grudge if you ignore him, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with how needy he can be. While trying to stay on top of his ever-changing trends and you start to think, “maybe we should just be friends and only see each other on special occasions.” But then in a lovely and surprising gesture he puts you in touch with your favourite author, (he knows how much her first book meant to you) and you just can’t let go of this complicated, fickle, misunderstood man.
And then there’s Instagram. When you first meet him he might look a little rough around the edges. He’ll be wearing an outfit that could be equally interpreted as not caring about his appearance or putting loads of effort into looking like he doesn’t care. He’s quiet and shy, but once you look into his eyes you know he’s an old soul. He loves right angles, patterns, and the rainbow after a spring shower. He sees beauty in a back alley fire escape and the sweet tragedy of road kill. Instagram believes that everyone is an artist and encourages you to share your unique view of this planet with him. He’s a little dull to interact with on a day-to-day basis, but you value him and still check in with him often.
Pinterest is so much fun to have around at parties. She’s so artistic – the perfect balance of modern and vintage flair. She’s got it all going for her. She knows how to handle a budget, she’s incredibly organized, and every time you hang out you feel inspired and empowered. Pinterest makes you feel like anything is possible.
However, after spending a lot of time with dear Pinterest she starts to get on your nerves. She’s a little too good at everything. You dread potlucks she’ll be attending, as your contribution will look like pig slop next to her plated perfection. She’ll spew yet another inspirational quote as she tosses her delicately coiffed hair which she insists only took her five minutes to style. “Yeah right,” you’ll think as you roll your eyes. You begin resenting her tailored outfits and spotless pantry. You’re a real woman with real problems – who really needs a DIY lazy Susan for their Tupperware anyway? The chaos of containers and mismatched lids in your cupboard is an adventure.
Your interactions with these platforms are intimate and constant. Nurturing these relationships is rewarding, and each one is unique. Some people gel better with certain personalities. Perhaps the best feature of social media platforms is that they all get along – you don’t have to pick just one. It’s socially acceptable to be poly-platform, and even your parents will understand: “No, it’s not just a phase. Being poly-platform is a real thing that works for a lot of people”.
Hang out, date, commit, break up. Add a third, a fifth or a tenth into the equation. Surround yourself with friends that raise you up and help you share your beautiful self with the interweb!!!
(Omg, that last line was so something Pinterest would say).
*Disclaimer: For those who have been dreaming of their first fairytale platform romance, wise old Tumblr would recommend youngsters have a few boundaries in place such as:
- A strict curfew
- The bedroom door always stays open
And, last but not least…
- Before things get too serious, the platform has to be formally introduced to the parents.
Media offers a world of entertainment and learning possibilities for children and youth. The kidsmediacentre explores kids' media futures and is committed to supporting cross-platform content producers in Canada to ensure the kids' media industry is vibrant, indigenous and committed to the healthy growth of children.