The love you take

"I like combing through my friends' [Facebook] photos... but the empty idleness of it all is sinking in. What began as a social networking trend in 2004 has grown into the equivalent of the Israeli army-- you have to join for at least two years and most of it is lonely patrol duty. I've lost track of all the hours I've killed in entrenched solitary socializing."

--Holly Millea in the January 2011 issue of Elle Magazine

Two thoughts:

1. Writers like Holly Millea are the reason I continue to subscribe to Elle. Millea has ruffled feathers by writing frankly about her experiences with plastic surgery and the like, but I think she's hilarious and sharp and I always love her stuff.

2. I see where she's coming from here, and it's a feeling I've gotten a lot from social media websites. I now think there are two antidotes: either participate more, or stop looking at it entirely.

Since I've realized I probably won't be quitting Facebook any time soon, I've found the only way it doesn't make me feel totally crummy is if I spend roughly the same amount of time contributing to the site (via commenting, messaging, posting my blog entries) as I do passively reading it. If you're not willing to pitch in your own information, spending an hour reading everyone else's content is liable to make you feel lonely, idle, vaguely jealous, resentful-- just generally awful.

I've found that equating my production and consumption is a pretty good rule of thumb for avoiding the alienating aspects of most media-- and actually, life in general.
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