July 23, 2024

Column: “That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” The Geezer Guide to Social Media


9/7/20 “That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” Chapter 13 “The Geezer Guide to Social Media”
By Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams

Raising a teen and a ‘tween and trying to keep up with the times can be a little daunting these days.  During the stay-at-home directive, they have become increasingly dedicated to their phones, iPads and the Xbox, so I figured I better do some investigation on what some of the sites, apps & forums are all about.  So here it is: a 53-year old man’s understanding of social media…

Facebook is where you re-connect with your high school friends and then realize that you hate their politics and go ahead and unfriend them again—and also where you can see pictures of their kids eating tuna sandwiches in their back yard on a Tuesday, whether you’d like to or not. 

Twitter is the home of the President, Chrissy Teigen, fever swamps and provocateurs.  Also home of the “clap back”—what we used to call a “good burn” back in the big hair ‘80’s.

Snapchat is the one where the pictures disappear in short order, so I’m assuming mostly dick pics and boob shots here?  What’re you hiding, Snapchat?  Sinner.

Instagram is where middle-aged moms and their daughters take cutesy pictures with dog ears and noses, and 20-something gals frame the sunset with heart hands.  Sometimes referred to as “Insta” by the insufferable.  

I get Grindr and Tinder mixed up (good thing I’m not single), then I remember Grindr sounds grosser so that must be the dude one (because dudes are just grosser in general, not because I’m anti-gay or anything—rock on, rainbow).

Pinterest is where women post recipes, home decor, and hairstyles that they think are good ideas but have no intention of ever following through with.  I’d be more interested in the opposite of this—say a page dedicated to mullets, muffin tops, murder vans and mustard stains.  Minterist?  Nah…that sounds like a mojito page.

You vote submitted items up or down on Reddit, which seems kind of fun, and it in turn toggles their ratings up or down.  I know of no one that actually uses this app, but I do wish there was a thumbs down on Facebook because it’d more fun than simply scrolling past stuff I loathe.

Tumblr is a microblogging forum where you can obsess about dogs in sweaters, Pokémon, keto entrees, PT Cruisers (or what have you) in relative peace and obscurity.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around what WhatsApp is, though I found it amusing.during my research that a commonly asked question was “Is WhatsApp for cheaters?”—probably posed by someone from the shared Facebook page of SharonandDouginlove.

YouTube is where conspiracy enthusiasts get their “news” and also seems to be where both the kids and myself end up watching “How to” videos.  I’ve saved myself many a repair bill with these tutorials, so a big, enthusiastic thumbs up from me

Tik Tok was first shown to me on the phone of a religious coworker.  After several videos of scantily clad, provocatively dancing young women he waved his index finger back-and-forth Mutombo-style as a “no no” warning.  I’ll have to keep my daughter off of that seedy virtual pole.

Remember MySpace?  It was all about you, glorious you—the ultimate in navel gazing self-indulgence.  It was also where emo’s and goths could go to escape their parents who, “…just don’t understand…”

Twitch might be the most appropriately named of all the apps—a gaming tutorial hub for every pasty basement dweller that’s shouted up the hoarse, irritated demand of, “Mom! More pizza!!”

Messenger is texting for people that don’t have your phone number and need to get ahold of you quickly.  Moreover, it seems to be a spot for phishermen to contact you with “Check this out…” links after they’ve successfully hacked one of your unsuspecting friends’ accounts.

LinkedIn is the site you clean up all that other junk so people think that you’re actually hireable.  It’s always interesting to see people’s business profile that is diametrically opposite of their actual troll-like online personality.

Then there’s WeChat, Qzone, Viber, Telegram, Skype, Foursquare and a million others to stay connected with—and I have no intention of ever using any of those.  I’m a texter—the only person I still talk to on the phone with is my mom, and I think she might be using one of those seniors’ flip phones that are advertised alongside walk-in tubs, Life Alert bracelets and reverse mortgages (my wife watches a lot of Golden Girls).  I love when Verizon’s caller ID started labeling some incoming calls “Potential Spam”—brilliant!  Alright then, that’s enough out of this old man…I’ll see you out there on the web.