If there's one thing social media is good for, it's definitely not "staying connected with friends and loved ones." Nope. It's systematically learning every single thing about yourself that is uncool and insufficient, and trying, through artful self-representation, to fix it. Fun, right?
In no way does this manifest itself more than in the form of FOMO, or "fear of missing out," for the
losers uninitiated out there. Mercifully, there's now an app that can help us all gloss over this painful new facet of 21st century living, in the form of "Couch Cachet," which uses Foursquare to literally fake a night out for its users. From their website:
"CouchCachet finds the coolest parties in your neighborhood, and automatically checks you in on Foursquare so all your friends can be super jealous of how awesome you are. Plus it will tweet all the right lyrics from the right indie rock bands, post amazing images of young 20-somethings in skinny jeans from instagram and wax poetic about that perfect local, organic, microbrew that everyone's drinking. You won't be cooler, but you will seem that way."
Now aside from the obvious pitfalls of this — feeling like an idiot and getting caught, which both seem likely — I tend to hear alarm bells whenever anyone points to "skinny jeans" as the ultimate harbinger of cool, and to hear screaming, deafening sirens when anyone spends much time "wax[ing] poetic about that perfect local, organic microbrew." Yikes.
But, I'll give credit where credit is due. I took the app for a test run last night, and the results were not horribly off base. For the "artsy fartsy" evening option it "sent" me to Goodbye Blue Monday, some recording studio I've never heard of, and a wine bar nearby. Ok. Fair enough. For my more natural state — "hangin' with the cool kids," of course — Couch Cachet told the world I had gone to the Narrows, then Tiki Disco at Roberta's, which it tweeted on my behalf was "full of amateurs." Hmm. Legitimate enough, had I not previously sworn to (maybe) never set foot in that particular pizza establishment ever again. I didn't bother with the "outdoorsy" option, because really, no one can lie on social media that much.
The point is, this is the natural next step towards... wherever it is that we're heading as a society. We are all commodities (and many people at Roberta's are amateurs). I mean, who even are you if you choose to spend a night in, re-charging your mental batteries and maybe even reading or watching something you enjoy and learn from, instead of building up your "personal brand" and funneling demographic data to advertisers? Nobody, that's who.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.