Internet Bystander Syndrome

There are times when I’m staring down at that facebook news feed I can’t help but feel like a bystander. Someone’s cooking dinner. Someone’s watching a movie. Someone’s posted a link to salon.com. Someone’s pregnant. Someone’s broken up. Someone else is howling to heavens at all the “haterz” in the world (seriously, who actually talks like that?).

I see this stuff and I want to know details. I want to know what they thought about the movie, how dinner went, the baby’s name, weight, and gender. But who am I to do that? I haven’t talked some of these people in over 10 years! If I started commenting or liking every status that held my attention, I’d turn into the Gilbert Gottfried of social media. I’d be as ubiquitous as farmville and twice as annoying!

Or would I? Do I get annoyed when someone comments on my status? Do I feel invaded when someone actually wants to know what’s going in my life? I could avoid social media if I really wanted to. We all could. We’re not looking for our 15 minutes of fame here, but I think we all need just a little acknowledgement. Just a little ping to remind us that we exist, and that someone has noticed. For however long that is.

One thought on “Internet Bystander Syndrome

  1. Amber

    I think that when people update their Facebook status or tweet, they WANT your comment and feedback. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be sharing it there. So engaging with them would be the opposite of annoying.

    Engaging with them without their consent, by spamming all of your Facebook friends’ inboxes or sending auto DMs is another thing altogether. But that’s a very different behaviour than hitting the ‘like’ button.

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