Mary: “I can’t text, you know, I’m not charming via text.”Anna: “Well maybe you should just stop texting.”
Mary: “But it’s not just texting, it’s email, it’s voicemail, it’s snail mail…”
Anna: “That’s regular mail.”
Mary: “Whatever, none of it’s working. I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my blackberry, and so I texted to his cell and then he emailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control… and I miss the days where you had one phone number and one answering machine, and that one answering machine housed one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from the guy or it didn’t. And now you have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
In 2009, He’s Just Not That Into You changed many women’s perspectives on what it means to “date” a man–or at least mine. In the film, Mary, played by Drew Barrymore, grapples with the numerous channels of communication that she has to worry about when choosing to interact in the social sphere.
Today, the idea of a home phone or an answering machine with a cassette tape is now a distant memory, and instead has been replaced by social interaction portals such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, LinkedIn, Tinder… the list goes on as new websites and apps are being developed daily. (Mary is breaking out in a nervous sweat.)
For millennials, the content produced on these social platforms becomes the paint you use to brand to the outside world. Each post, picture, tweet or snap must be carefully crafted to build and support your personal brand. (Mary is becoming short of breath.)
Not only do millennials feel that they have to create content but also aggregate existing content that supports their brand. They have to interact with friends in an on-brand manner and perhaps the most hairy of all, distinguish which pieces of content belong on which platforms, and on which platforms to share content and when. Talk about exhausting. (Mary is now having a full on panic attack.)
Ladies: You’re at brunch with your girlfriends for Katy’s birthday and you take a group photo.
Gentlemen: You’re at a Rangers game with your bros. Do you:
A) Facebook a photo
B) Instagram a photo (make sure you pick the right filter though and the right hashtag)
C) Tweet the photo
D) Snapchat a photo
E) A & B – if this is your choice, will you tag your friends via Instagram or Facebook (this matters, because handles aren’t the same for both)
F) A, B & C – same hashtag dilemma as E
G) B & C – again, see E’s dilemma
H) All of the above
You’re reading Slate and come across a phenomenal write-up about the latest True Detective episode. Do you:
A) Post to Facebook
a. Via Slate
b. On your own – do you really want the Slate caption?
c. Tag your True Detective fanatic friends
d. Write a witty caption or just post the article and let is speak for itself
B) Tweet the article (All options from question A apply)
C) Tumble on Tumblr
D) A & B – don’t forget to consider all of the sub-options from A and B
E) All of the above – that’s right, the possibilities are endless
You are on your lunch break and happen to see Beyoncé, Jay-Z AND Blue Ivy taking a walk through Madison Square Park. The actually agree to take a photo with you (just go with it). Do you:
A) Post to Facebook
B) WHO ARE YOU KIDDING? You are posting this to every single social media site you are on—even the ones you haven’t been on in ages—and watch your Klout score rise.
I’m with Mary. There are far too many portals, choices and things to consider. Yet, I admit that I Instagrammed a picture of the sunrise in Brooklyn this morning (I did not however link it to any other form of social media–do with that what you will). Since everything you do online is a reflection of who you are, there is much to consider when engaging in social media. At the same time, the importance of having a defined “personal brand persona” is becoming more important as technology becomes the dominant form of communication. To not engage is to not have a brand and in turn, become obsolete in the social sphere, a millennial’s worst nightmare. So we continue to put more importance on choosing the right Instagram filter than we do paying off our credit card bills, and we get more excitement from the popularity of our posts than we do free healthcare.