“Please link your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts if you’d like to apply.”
“To apply: Include your Twitter account.”
These have been the constant requirements while searching for a job in writing and media. I got back from Argentina about five days ago. Needless to say, I’m struggling, in more ways than one. But wait! Let me tweet about it!!! ###
I managed to arrive back into the United States earlier this week, with my baggage, alfajores, and Cuban cigars in tow. My two and a half months in Argentina had regrettably come to an end, and it was time–as my father so kindly reminded me– to start thinking about employment. After graduating eight months ago, I’ve constantly and ruthlessly been plagued by the question of what I will be doing with my life. More importantly, what will I be doing to make money. And to be perfectly honest, I’m still not sure. I know what I’d like to be doing– but I’m not sure it’ll put a roof over my head.
Regardless of the uncertainties and doubts that seem to have settled into my everyday life about my career as a writer, I have indeed returned from South America with an even stronger resolve to continue writing, and that one day, I will indeed be paid for my words. It doesn’t do me, or my readers any good to read about my complaints about how hard finding a job as a writer, or even snagging a gig as a writer anywhere is. Complaining won’t do me any good. It won’t do you any good. And let’s be perfectly honest: if you’re passionate enough about something, there’s nothing that will stop you from doing it. And I completely believe that. So this post isn’t to whine with my words about employment. Fuck that. Rather, it’s a response to the growing presence of social media in careers.
Countless job listings I’ve responded to require that I send them my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts–most likely to see how well I utilize these social media apps, that will also be used at work. I have a huge problem with that. Not because of privacy. Nothing is private these days, especially if you put it on your Facebook. Not because I don’t know how. I’ve been knowing how. Not because I don’t have them. Because I have had them for several years. So why?
Why do I have a problem with this? As a Global Studies major, I should know better than anyone how the world has become incredibly interconnected, by and large to the Internet and technology. And as a millennial, who uses social media more often than not, I should know why. But the answer isn’t so simple. Even when I was thinking about this post while hiking in Marin yesterday with my mom and brother, I couldn’t totally pinpoint why.
What was it that bothered me so much about the high schooler that asked her bestie to snap a photo of her sitting on the cliff, arms thrown up to the sky, looking out onto the beach yesterday?
Or the other American girl who asked her friend to take a photo of her jumping mid-air, with Torres del Paine in the background?
Or my classmate two years ago at UCSB who literally tweeted everything our TA said during section?
Why did this shit bother me so much?
Because nature, knowledge, and our experiences are no longer what matter. It’s the public, Internet display of our experiences that give us validation and attention. All of the former have come secondary to the publication itself of what we’re doing with our lives. It’s not about capturing that beautiful mountain range to cherish long after you’ve stopped traveling– it’s about getting the most likes on your Instagram, or showing all our friends on Facebook the cool things you have been doing, not all the cool places you’re visiting. It’s less about sharing beautiful moments or adventures, and more about proving to everyone that you’re actually doing something cool with your life. We’ve become more and more self centered–and social media both augments and tricks us into believing we need to do that. The need to insert ourselves–literally–into photos of cool places we visit, goes to show how obsessed we’ve become with ourselves. And what’s worse, is that we have the perfect platforms to continue doing just that.
I didn’t have a Twitter. Up until maybe three hours ago. Since I learned what Twitter was five years ago, I had refused to make one, or have anything to do with it. I found it so stupid. Why the need to tell the Internet that you’re driving home from work with your carmel macchiato in hand and that #TGIF? Or that you’re standing in line at CVS waiting to #turnup for the weekend? I could never, and still will never, ever get behind the concept of Twitter. It only makes the obsession with ourselves–and others–greater than it ever has before.
But I digress. This is the direction our society continues to go in–and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. And to be fair, I love watching Vines on FB, or seeing how Kanye West continues to dig himself into deeper holes everyday on Twitter. I also won’t deny that news sources have adapted to having a stronger online presence, and that I do find it convenient to see news pop up on my Facebook feed. I suppose by the end of this article I’ve come to accept the way things are–and that I can either run with it, or be left behind. I may not like it, agree with it, or approve Twitter or certain qualities about FB, but that doesn’t allow or excuse me from keeping up with the times.
Because really, who’s going to hire me if I don’t have more than a hundred likes on my Instagram photo of the Perito Moreno glacier? #FirstWorldProblems #YOLO