Question 19 of 365: Is Social Media trying to turn your life into a movie?

I hope this question is not too flippant or ridiculous as to simply be cast to the side because I think it may be an important one. As I was working my way through this metaphor, I came to the conclusion that social media is constructing the soundtrack, the voice over, and the script to your life.

The soundtrack is being constructed by last.fm and Pandora. It is taking the mood you are in, your searches and your interests and providing you with an appropriate tone and atmosphere. These services are social to the point that everyone you know is building a collective song list, a universal memory of who listened to what and whether we liked it or not. The soundtrack to our lives is no longer a figure of speech. It is a reality for those of us who share music videos on facebook or upload photos of concerts. We have theme music for ideas and we raise and lower the tempo of our discourse depending on what music is pumping through our  ever-present earbuds.

The voiceover is a tried and true method of advancing the plot, establishing an alibi or just giving some added voice to a flat character. Twitter has done this for our lives. It has become the voiceover actor that makes small reflections about daily events, trying to put everything together as if it were a giant puzzle. We tweet about the ways that certain events make us feel or something that we want to remember. It is all just a way to create a sense that there is some greater purpose to the chicken sandwich we ate or the monotonous meetings on a topic we couldn’t care less about. It provides the voice that we wish were just layered on top of the event and read by someone like Morgan Freeman.

The script is laid out quite easily by our Google Calendars that are shared with family and friends. It is made by our blog posts and Google Docs that spread the word of what we are up to. It is crafted by our project plans and wikis that propose new and better ideas of what should be. It is wrapped up in the ebb and flow of 24 hour news that gets more worthwhile commentary in Disqus posts than on television. It is the retweeting and revising of our own words as they seem important to do so, reframing knowledge for our own purposes, thus creating the lines that we want to say.

We even act out what we are supposed to say. We put together the presentations and share them on Docstoc and Slideshare. The backchannel is a hum of voiceover artists all vying for their turn to speak. The soundtrack is gently suggesting what would go along with this occasion. The relationships we make on social networks are just as fleeting as those felt in a movie; they only seem real while they are on screen. Afterwards, they simply fade into the background.

Now, it is not to say that any of this is bad. It just is a fact of the way I live my life now. I am a part of the Ben Wilkoff movie, and as it seems that the movie isn’t a snoozefest or anything, I think I’ll stick around to see what happens next.

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