About People Who Sign Their Name At The Bottom of Social Media Posts
Are you truly delighted when people who you consider to be otherwise thoughtful, mentally sharp humans engage in the at best duplicative and at worst daftly ignorant act of signing their own name to something written in any public form already earmarked as coming from them?
Back in the later aughts when Facebook went from a sparsely populated college town — how awkward it was and self-absorbed it seemed in those days to ask a roommate to take your profile pic! — to a big box supermarket populated with everyone’s relatives, hardly was it surprising when not everyone above a certain age was savvy to new linguistic practices.
“HI BRANDON THIS IS YOUR MOM’S FRIEND LISA, HOW DO I POST AN ARTICLE ON CATS I WANT TO SEND YOU — LISA” was all too common a trope at that time, despite the fact that next to anything a Lisa would have posted sat Lisa’s icon. Could Lisa not see her own icon? Did Lisa not realize everyone could see her post and her icon?
But we’re eighteen years past the launch of Zuckerberg’s misogynist engine; and have had Orkut, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter, Instagram, ello, Snapchat, and TikTok to train us in the standard protocol of comprehending that everything we publish will by definition be tagged as ours.
Perhaps what boggles the mind most are not all the instances of generation-related cluelessness, but the displays of stylistic ingratiation that those who’ve been alive and logging in long enough to understand the method to the madness insist on displaying.
“[Heartfelt greeting][Excessively long paragraph about personal feelings and reasons behind something of significance that perhaps family, friends, or fans expected a response on][Saccharine closing, like “warmly” or “humbly” or “with gratitude”][ — Name of person who wrote the whole damn thing]” is a political move I’ve seen often of late, and always from a younger person who you’d think would be well-versed in the language of writing online.
My assumption is that they feel that signing their name to the arena to which their name has already been signed is a kind of sincerity surpassing the earnestness of your average post. They’re angling for a throwback to Grandpa Harry’s “hello this is harry I am interested in your used lawnmower how much did you want for it harry.” If Grandpa’s writing a letter, so are they with their imitation 1950s intimacy writ large to a potential audience of millions.
What does it mean to attempt to be vulnerable with your reader when they are legion? Can the hat trick of signing off “personally” on what you publicly post ever function as true emotional connection? Is the act another form of navel-gazing through doubling down on self-reference?
Does the choice to add your moniker to the end of something you clearly wrote point to the notion that perhaps everything else you’ve posted was not actually from you — perhaps a team of hired hands crafted and entered those messages? Are you hoping for celebrity status? Or are you performing the social media equivalent of when someone drops a “tbh” or “to be honest” in a sentence; suggesting that they are not usually truthful in their speech?
Most of all, is the decision made to remind those who read your words that you are a real person, just as your uncles and grandmas, moms and dads attempting to parse the internet in 2008 revealed themselves to be with their mishaps on the platform? Grasping to identify yourself where you’ve already been identified, is your goal to pop out of a frame that cannot do more than box in and objectify you, as it does with us all?
These are my thoughts, along with urging you to trust that we already know who you are. — Lukewarmly, The Author Of This Piece You Just Read