As I scroll through my Facebook timeline, I see them. It’s almost as if they’re following me. With every swipe of my screen another one pops up, baiting me with their numbered lists. The inescapable shared links that have spread faster than an itchy rash on an unfortunate body part the day of your O Chem final. “37 thoughts every college student can relate to,” “7 things I forget to thank my mom for,” “10 signs you’re an extrovert.” The countless publications of these list-based articles go on and on.
I understand their appeal. They’re funny, relatable, and quick to read. Oftentimes they’re even eye opening, informative, or inspiring.
Not only are people sharing these links on Facebook with all of their friends, family, strangers and the “I met you at orientation two years ago but we haven’t talked since then” guys but they’re also tagging them in association because it describes their relationship perfectly, explains to their mom the things she did that they took for granted, and thanks their best friend for all the times they stuck by their side.
In an attempt to seem personal we select a specific list that is seemingly unique to one person. Ironically, that’s about as impersonal as it gets. Anyone can go online, find an article that somehow relates to person and slap it on a status exclaiming, “This is you!” My lazy-eyed Chihuahua could do that.
Don’t get me wrong. I want my mother to know that I am grateful for her and I want my best friend to realize how much our friendship means to me as much as the next girl, but I can certainly express my thoughts to them by means other than a public, universal, one size fits most bulleted list.
Just think of how appreciated your mom would feel if you called her just to let her know how thankful you are for all she’s done for you or the confidence boost your friend would get if you personally told them all the things they do that make you value their friendship.
So, maybe you don’t have to call up your Beyoncé obsessed bestie to recite the “99 Reasons Beyoncé is Flawless.” In this case a simple tag will suffice but’s let’s try to keep the personal things personal. Isn’t that what they said about sexting?