It’s funny how social media websites like Facebook and Twitter work.  When someone posts a genuine dilemma in their life, crying out for help or advice, they are overlooked and largely ignored.  Perhaps one or two people will eventually chime in, oftentimes to offer hollow platitudes and rarely to actually offer assurance or encouragement.

However, should someone post a picture of their sleeping cat, hundreds of comments will ensue praising the cat and it’s maximum cuteness level.  Emoticons will abound, and the original poster will know that their cat is loved.  How sweet and genuine.

Oh wait.  It’s a cat.  Social media websites used to be…well, useful.  Twitter used to be a way to briefly let your friends know what’s going on and if you found something you think they might enjoy also.  Now it’s a way for you to spam your friends with dozens of updates a day consisting of “gee toast sounds good for breakfast”, “decided on toast with breakfast, now to ponder jelly choices”, “i think I like raspberry today, let’s try that”, and the climax – “had toast with raspberry jelly for breakfast today. yum.”  Wow.  Inspirational.  Motivational.  And definitely something everyone you know would be moved to find out about as you tweet every other minute.

Oh wait.  It’s toast.  Nobody cares.

Facebook has become the same thing.  It is now the land of “if you know someone with [insert debilitating disease of the week], repost this to prove that you love them and are thinking of them and hope they get better someday”.  In essence, if you don’t join the masses and repost, you are a horrible person who hopes people with that disease die.  Bravo Facebook.

Religion has become one of the most common frequenters of this type of peer pressure.  “I’m not ashamed to say I love Jesus.  Repost this if you aren’t either.”  Fantastic.  I didn’t realize that religion had now turned into a popularity game of posting about loving Jesus more times a week than someone else.  Faith is very personal, and not necessarily to be kept to one’s self, but not to be trivialized and turned into a Facebook status update guilt trip.  I refuse to believe that when I die and stand before the pearly gates, I’ll be asked how many times I posted on Facebook about my love for Jesus, then be cast into the fiery pits because I say “umm…none?”

In the end, it all comes down to the burning desire to be noticed.  We all want attention.  Some more than others, but we all like it when others take stock of us and are impressed or in awe of us as a whole or just something we did.  I am more guilty than some.  It irks me when I post something on the internet that I feel should garner attention, and is ignored.  It further irks me when something I consider trivial gets more attention than my (undoubtedly) genius and though-provoking post.

But that’s just me.  I acknowledge and own this fault of mine.  I know I ask too much of others.  Doesn’t mean I’ll stop asking it of them, it just means I know that I shouldn’t be as disappointed when they don’t come through for me.  This is what social media has done to me.  It’s given me the ability to put everything I think and feel out on the internet, to genuinely reach out and try to connect with others and share thoughts and opinions, and yes – occasionally a picture of a funny cat, and I’ve grown accustomed to it.

If you see someone somewhere on the internet reaching out for help or seeking a pick-me-up, take a few moments and humor them.  Ultimately, what will it cost you?  And it will make them feel so much better.  On the flip side though, if you see someone who complains all day, every day, about the same thing?  Kick them in the shin.  And then post about it on Twitter.

P.S. – In accordance with the post…reblog and comment on this as much as possible.  My self-worth depends on it.