How social media is like tracks in snow

There is something about snow that makes you reflective. Right now I'm reflecting on how snow is like social media. Walking to the corner store to get a diet coke today was an unusually voyeuristic experience. Seeing the tracks left in fresh snow, I could tell which of my neighbours went out today; who'd used their car. I could see who'd been walking a dog; even what size the dog was. The high heel shoe imprint next to tiny dog paw prints leaves a very different impression of its owner than the big chunky boot imprint next to a huge paw print.

And so, it leads to my (very reflective) thesis that snow is like social media. A tool like Twitter is the ultimate stalker solution, where one leaves tracks that tell a lot about our lives and our personalities. It wasn't until I started following an A-list Hollywood celeb that I realised the extent of it. I'm in wintry Birmingham (the uncoolest place in Britain, or so people believe), spending a large portion of my day talking to journalists, PRs and builders (an odd mix, I know). She spends her day sunning herself next to her pool in LA, hanging with other A-listers and working with Hollywood's most accomplished directors. And yet, here we meet, on Twitter, and I know what her daily personal response is to news stories, I know about how her husband wants to kill the neighbour (well, not really) and all sorts of personal stuff about their lives.

So what does it all mean? Is it good or bad? I think it remains to be seen. I'm not likely to attract real stalkers so I feel pretty safe using Twitter (mainly for business, when I'm not using it to track celebs). I keep my Facebook profile as secure from random viewers as possible and have turned off its wider web search capability. But for some, the stakes of using social media are presumably much higher. I don't know if I'd be so open about it if I was "famous." And yet the openness of Twitter is its real appeal, so without that willingness, the tool would be much less interesting. Still, I don't know if I'd want to be leaving that many tracks in snow (to neatly wrap up my analogy) if I needed to use a bodyguard to get to the nearest shop. Would you?

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