My very honest review of social media apps / part 2

This is the second part of my very honest unhinged review of social media apps. You can also check out the first part with Facebook, Twitter, Tinder and some other irrelevant stuff.

Instagram

In the future, archeologists will explore the underwater ruins of our cities, and searching between the bleached, dead coral reefs and the mountain-high piles of single-use plastic toys they will wonder: “what the hell was an influencer“?

We who are lucky enough to be alive in 2020 know the answer to that question: influencers are people who provide positive role models for the younger generations and have to be praised for their entrepreneurial skills. But when it comes to the other question (“what did they do?“), well, they essentially post pictures of themselves, and little else.

These pictures are taken by an invisible army of unsung heroes, very rarely paid professionals, but most likely sorry friends or exploited “Instagram husbands” – which is the only way to make the word “husband” sound even worse than it is.

When I finally gave in and signed up for my IG profile, a friend told me “congratulations! Now imagine your life being constantly under the spotlights, a never-ending red carpet”. She knows me, yet she wasn’t being sarcastic. Why the hell would I want to turn my life into such a nightmare scenario?

Well, apparently people love it. Instagram is the perfect place to show off how lucky, funny and privileged we are – even if we are not, and our life really sucks. Especially if our life sucks.

That succulent meal you just had? Post it. Of course, don’t mention that you had stale bread and fast-food for a week. That postcard-quality sunset by the sea pic you took at the exclusive holiday resort? Post it. Never mind you had to take a loan because you could never afford the trip. Picture, or it didn’t happen. And you can’t take a photo of debt, can you? Post that perfect yoga pose in the sunset and let everybody else know what sorry losers they are!

IG glorified our culture of excess and vanity and elevated it to a daily habit. Its main purpose is to make everybody else feel jealous and miserable all the time as they scroll, scroll, scroll seeing how everybody else looks happy – spoiler, they are not – and in the meantime generating revenues for the app. Influencers get paid to make this process faster and smoother. They are the lubricant helping society to get royally screwed.

Such a bonfire of human vanity is of course the favorite grazing ground of anybody who makes a living thanks to their looks. Since I am a patron of the arts, I follow the profile of a couple of camgirls and strippers performance artists. Instagram has a relaxed censorship policy – which I, always the progressive, approve. It can be summarized in four words: “everything but no nipples”.

On the other hand, this means the app is not safe for me to use in public. When I open it, the algorithm usually shows me what it thinks I want to see, which often means boobs something inconvenient even if it’s the first thing in the morning or during office hours. I find it strengely flattering, but it can be a problem.

I know, I could just stop following some profiles, but why would I want to violate the community spirit like that? I am much bigger than that.

You cannot use a PC to post on Instagram, you can only do it with a smartphone. I hate this idiotic feature. Writing complex text on a small screen is a pain, which proves that you shouldn’t even think of using this app to send complicated messages, just stick to what it does best: watching people’s boobs lives, and feel miserable about yours.

Finally, one of Instagram’s most successful aspects is the “Stories”, which I never really understood. To me, they seem like fireworks: flashy, colorful, pointless things that still are watched by millions of people.

Since bad news never come alone, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Which means you don’t just suspect that all those pictures you are spontaneously uploading will be used against you: you know it for a fact.

My rating: 3/10. I don’t even know why I use it. I really don’t want to watch your life all the time. Nobody really likes you. Not even you. Especially not you, or you wouldn’t need so much external validation from strangers.

Uber

“Never accept a ride from a stranger”: this piece of popular wisdom has been frustrating countless perverts, predators and serial killers since the beginning of time. Thanks to Uber, the problem is finally solved!

If you never liked classic taxi rides (sharing a car with a person who had to pass a public exam and must keep their license and photo-ID in full display in order to exercise their profession), then this app is for you. It gives you the opportunity to be locked in a confined space, for an indefinite amount of time, with a perfect stranger that you only know by the nickname “theWolf1234”. Talk about raising the stakes!

Uber makes it possible to summon a car when you need it, where you need it. And at this, it works really well. It also offers a lot of excitement because apart from your pickup point, nothing is under your control. You never know what kind of car you will get, in which conditions it is, and of course the most exciting feature of all: if your designated driver will murder you.

The cars will offer a lot of distractions – all welcome when all you need is to stop thinking about your imminent death caused by the unverified driving skills of a perfect stranger. From elevator-style deodorants (who the hell still uses Patchouli), to mints and candies (yeah, think about the hands that touched those), to various religious symbols in full display. Ok, I feel really better now, knowing I may be in the hands of a potential fanatic.

Many times I caught myself thinking that if a driver needs so many blessings for an activity he is supposed to perform on a regular basis, maybe he should have chosen another profession – and I should have chosen another car.

In my experience, drivers come in two types: those who really want to talk to you, and those who listen to really terrible music. In both cases, however, asking them to stop has absolutely no effect. My best self-defense strategy so far has been to pretend I am asleep. It also has the side benefit that if something goes wrong, I would die unaware, the perfect righteous death.

Other fun features of the app include the fact that if you cancel on a ride (most likely because you have been waiting too long), the driver can choose to still charge you. I call it “the asshole tax”. But if the driver cancels on you for whatever reason, even after you have been waiting for 20 minutes, you get nothing at all. The customer is always right, except when he is an obvious idiot because is using this app.

My rating: 5/10. I hate driving, so anything is better than doing it myself. And to guess drivers’ nationalities based on the wild stereotypes I see in their car is a fun meta-game that comes with the package. Still, the rest is generally terrible.

Youtube

Youtube looks like a platform to share videos, but in reality is the biggest independent research institute in the world. It’s open to everybody and completely democratic. It gives the possibility to a lot of people who can’t read are independent thinkers to “do their own research” and learn about the TrUtH that “nobody will tell you”. Except everybody is yelling it all the time.

It’s interesting to point out how this arcane knowledge is actually so easily available, that literally any random stranger is able to say it, make a video, and publish it. Secrets should be harder to find, is all I am saying.

Youtube is the native habitat of Youtubers: a new species of humans who have strong opinions on every subject, generally unpleasant voices and over-exaggerated facial expressions. Youtubers make loads of money yelling about stuff or ranting about bullshit their everyday lives, which for some reason is a matter of interest to millions of viewers worldwide. They are like butterflies, beautiful and colorful. And just like butterflies, their average life span is just of a few weeks.

Many of them are aggressive psychopaths, or at least cryptofascists, anyway positive role models for young generations. And it’s working really well in making a lot of people riled up against anything that’s remotely “progressive”. We see nazis marching in the streets again but nobody seems to connect the dots because adults and policymakers don’t know where to look, so everybody just keeps doing what they are doing, and it’s fine.

It should also be added that Youtube is the place where you can find the best and the worst the internet has to offer. In the space of a single session you can watch original footage from the satellites of Saturn, the most inspiring words from world leaders, videos of cats being scared from cucumbers, and why Justin Bieber is secretly a Reptilian. And then it’s 2 AM and you still haven’t found what you needed in the first place.

That is, if you can watch any video at all without being interrupted every minute by the annoying ads that want you to buy this or that unnecessary thing, so accelerating civilization even faster into a consumeristic, self-destructive spiral – but hey, we get free videos, right?

All things aside, the most interesting aspect of Youtube is its comment section. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy in the whole galaxy. This is a lawless place where people go from a cheerful “first!” to abusing each other’s bloodlines in the space of three-four lines. The first warning shots are usually fired by mashing the like/dislike buttons under a video. That’s how people take sides, then the real violence starts.

It’s called “online polarization” but it really means that people for the most part are brutal beasts and just need an excuse to lash out at fabricated enemies, because deep inside they grew up to hate themselves. Youtube therefore is a fantastic opportunity to connect with our true selves, and we should all be grateful for its existence.

My rating: 9/10. Come on, let’s face it. The platform offers an endless amount of bad quality music, low definition entertainment, an army of shouting performers, and a universe of information infused with all sorts of wacky political ideas. It’s well worth the risk of losing our humanity in its rabbit hole. After all, you shouldn’t blame the tool because of the way people use it. Like guns, right?

Airbnb

Ever had the experience of visiting somebody and being so jealous about the place where they live, you get miserable for the rest of your week? Now you can do it anytime you want, for a price!

Before COVID-10, Airbnb was the reason why nobody wanted (or couldn’t) live downtown anymore. If your neighbors put their flat online, you would see a different bunch of weirdos getting in and out of your property all the time – and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it.

Airbnb was also driving the rents insanely up – because who would accept a normal family with children, pets and all their normal shouting and domestic violence when you can earn way more by renting the place to different people all the time, who just discreetly come in, consume their drug cocktails, shoot amateur porn on your kitchen counter and leave without a trace traces only visible to the ultra-violet?

Some owners were taking the “community” aspect of the experience a little too enthusiastically. They would involve guests in everyday chores, share meals, stalk them to have endless chats over mundane matters. Come on, dude, I am here to rent your bed and your shower for a fraction of their price, not some genuine human connection. Who needs you as a friend when I can come back to your place home every night, completely avoid eye contact with you and entertain myself with free online cat videos?

Apart from weird, clingy owners, I had a good experience as a user with the app. It was really nice to have the opportunity to visit a different city every time I wanted, with the comfort of finding exactly the same IKEA bath, sofa, bathroom and curtains in each place, and then just leave without a thank you. Home is where cheap, Scandinavian furniture is.

Now, because of the pandemic, their business model is seriously compromised, which is a shame. All those newly refurbished flats are being offered for long term renting as offices or – God forbid – for regular families to live there. This is helping some people get by in these challenging times, which is a nice added bonus.

But make no mistakes, Airbnb is there to make money without owning anything, not to save the world. These people will be kicked out as soon as the situation stabilizes, without a shadow of remorse.

My rating: 6/10. There are so many places where I thought I would never want to live, and thanks to this app I got to visit them, and now I know for sure. I just can’t wait for the pandemic to be over so the exploitation business can go back to usual. Just never scan the bed and shower curtain with an ultra-violet cam, and you are sorted.

Linkedin

When I asked my online friends acquaintances which app I should review in these posts, Linkedin came out as the top favorite. Which means the least favorite. It turns out, people really hate it, for some reason.

For some reason? For many reasons. Let’s see some.

First of all, how can you not hate a place where everybody projects an impeccable, professional and reliable aura of confidence. I feel such a loser, all the time. It’s like going to a super formal event, to realize that I am wearing a faded Homer Simpson t-shirt and flip flops. It happens only in nightmares, and on Linkedin.

Everybody has these impossible job titles, from “Senior Catering Operation Manager in Retail” (been serving Big Macs since high school) to “Mobile Sensei and Planner” (a guy whose biggest achievement in a day is making a meme); from “Meat Distribution Chain Minute Point-to-Point CFO” (collecting spare change from people at a hot dog stand) to “Chief Marketing Guru” (somebody who should really address their shopping addiction). Despite the overwhelming evidence that I keep meeting idiots everywhere I go, everybody seems to be CEO or at least CFO of something.

And remember, these are the same people you met in high school, and they were total slackers back then. The chances that everybody became the best version of themselves are slim, to say the least. Besides, you have them on Facebook too and you can see the mess they are doing with Faceapp, so maybe everybody can just cut the act and get real.

And the app tells you how many people see your profile every day. Not the “likes”, the actual visits. It’s incredibly depressing to realize that I have better stats when I go to the supermarket to buy vegetables, than my Linkedin profile will ever do.

After I spend some time on Linkedin, I always feel depressed and I need to go on Facebook to chill. It’s like failing at a high level job interview, and hitting your sloucher friend’s sofa to drown your sorrow in beer and Playstation 2. Those edgy memes don’t judge you, and retrogaming will always be there for you.

People are always so nice and constructive on Linkedin! I guess you never know when an overzealous HR representative is watching you. Seriously, have you ever shared a dank meme on Linkedin? Just to see what’s the effect?

No, a cheesy, positive, sickening culture permeates the platform. Whenever anybody achieves anything, Linkedin wants to you to “Congratulate” them.

What? Nobody does that in real life. When I got my degree, my dad told me “now go and get a job”. When somebody gets a promotion, you usually just scoff and keep on brooding on why the hell that idiot is moving on in life, and you are still stuck sharing a flat with two total strangers. I usually just choose to icily ignore the suggestion and scroll on. The real, missing option is “Tell them that their life sucked before, and will keep on sucking, no matter what they do”.

Hell, you can even “congratulate” people for getting a volunteering position. Who does that? It’s like congratulating somebody for taking out the trash in the morning. Sure, it’s necessary, but I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. Nobody likes volunteering, especially not volunteers.

Seriously, this is how I feel, every time.

Now here is a feature I always found interesting. You know how you can write your skills, and people get to confirm them? If used massively, that would be really useful as a litmus test against the Dunning-Kruger effect: “you think you are so good at something? Let’s see what people think about it. Oh look, turns out you suck ass, idiot!”

But this badly needed feature is, sadly, not taken seriously enough. It should be obligatory, like a military service for self-esteem.

Anyway, I get it, Linkedin is important and it’s here to stay. Employers follow it, HR follow it, “head hunters” follow it. So I should get good at it and quit whining. Which doesn’t make me like it any better, to be honest.

My rating: 2/10. You can be mad at it, but it’s the perfect adult life simulation. What matters in it are your contacts, responsibility, hard work and skills. And just like adult life, it’s a necessary evil which can be so incredibly boring and frustrating. They could only improve it with a feature that urges you to change shitty diapers four, five times per day. Like a Tamagotchi, but full of shit. Then it would imitate the sad, desolate reality of grown-up life to perfection.

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