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Monday, February 26, 2024

The Internet Explorer: A (subjective) ranking of social media sites

garcia_opIn this special edition of The Internet Explorer, I have tasked myself with the mission of ranking the most popular social networking sites. That being said, this list is centered around the very trivial, high stakes question of how I would rather waste my time. As a note, since my assessments are based on experience and ergo, a subjective angle, apps or websites that I do not frequent (what’s a Reddit?) are neither included nor analyzed. So, without further ado, here’s the list:

#7. Instagram

Listen up. I’ve tried the whole Instagram thing. I guess my selfie game just isn’t up to par or #onfleek. I get that Instagram is a wonderful place for many users where they are able to promote a desired self-image. Personally, I have no use for an online photo album and find myself annoyed with the hashtagged, short story descriptions of people’s Starbucks errands. #somanyhashtags #wheresthespacebar

#6. Pinterest

In my head, Pinterest is a diluted version of Tumblr. It’s what you get after downing a lemonade and all that is left is ice and some watered-down drink just sitting at the bottom of the cup. It’s basically Tumblr’s neat freak sibling who’s also kind of crafty. Pinterest is probably a very satisfying invention for those who like to organize potential projects or who like to categorize things. I personally have a creative writing board (“The Write Stuff”), a Harry Potter board and a humor board — to name a few. But no DIY or wedding boards. Because I don’t wish to set myself up for that kind of disappointment.

#5. Tumblr

Tumblr is the Internet’s blackhole. I have to exercise great self control in order to not succumb to typing my URL on the search bar. Tumblr is essentially a day killer wherein you sacrifice all potential productivity in exchange for geeky amusement — or at least that’s been my experience of the site. My one gripe is that it often garners an extremely PC culture in which many users readily attack any mention of a disadvantaged group as if it were an implied insult. Ultimately, however, many consider Tumblr a hub containing fandom blogs, hilarious appropriations of memes and glorious gifs of clumsy animals. I’m sure there are other uses for Tumblr. I just don’t know what they are.

#4. Snapchat

I was immediately sold by the idea of sending photos with silly captions to my friends as a way of keeping in touch throughout our college years. And quite honestly, I have no complaints.

#3. Facebook

I was debating whether to place Facebook lower on this list, considering the pains it gives me every time I log on. It’s a love/hate relationship, because the fact of the matter is, I log on at least ten times a day and I can’t quite pin down the reason why. I think this might be because it keeps me connected to the greatest number of people. My Facebook friend list is far larger than the amount of followers I have on other sites, as well as the number of people I have in my contacts list.

And I don’t necessarily go on Facebook “for fun.” I frequently visit because it’s an extremely accessible and informative environment. I have to give props to Facebook for its innovative nature that connects us to other people (and their unnecessarily aggressive political beliefs, cryptic callouts, etc.) and to the events of the world (such as the fact that Kim Kardashian wore a latex dress to some event or whatever). Like I said, it’s a love/hate relationship. Thanks, Zuckerberg.

#2. Twitter

I’m a fan of two things: soundbites and a challenge. Twitter is the perfect place for self-proclaimed funny people to exercise their wit. Or, if you’re like me, it’s so you can wallow in the possibility that you’re not as clever as you fancied yourself to be. The site’s many users provide enviable humor for you to appreciate. Then you can ride on the coattails of their very funny one-liner by way of the retweet.

And of course, Twitter has gifted us with the monumental hashtag along with its activist implications. Believe it or not, the hashtag aids in our becoming a more protective society in the face of adversity and social injustice. I use Twitter to promote and enjoy all of these things, but mostly to stalk Chris Pratt.

#1. YouTube

For me, it’s a no brainer. Admittedly, YouTube is the most different from the other listed sites because it emphasizes less performance and more watching. Sure, many turn to YouTube to present a version of themselves to the world, but most of its users act as audience members. The videos pertain to a plethora of genres and content matter, whether they be satirical news reports or bootlegged versions of movies and television episodes. You can learn to apply the perfect winged eyeliner, vicariously play Call of Duty and watch laughable ‘90s music videos all in one place. I find it to be a therapeutic site where funny videos abound. YouTube also often benefits its users with educational content, providing supplementary classroom learning materials. And like many sites, it promotes shareable media. It has established and effectively propelled social support movements like the ‘It Gets Better Project,’ which facilitates the coming out experience for LGBTQIA+ members.

Thanks for reading The Internet Explorer this quarter. You may not friend or follow Jazmin García anywhere except to contact her at msjgarcia@ucdavis.edu.


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