Saturday, April 9, 2011

Social Media is Taxing My Patience

Social media is everywhere. It's simply a part of life. You can allow people to know about all the stupid things you do throughout the day that they most likely don't care about via multiple networks.

Because of social networks, everyone knows how often you check in at Starbucks. The third grade classmate you haven't seen for over twenty years knows that you enjoyed the frozen pizza you had with your kids the other night. You awkwardly discover just how startlingly often that one guy you met once at your brother-in-law's birthday party and whose Facebook friend request you accepted just to be nice smokes weed.

Being updated about random, useless information is a part of the landscape of social media now. Pretty soon, I'm sure there will be buttons for updates like, "ate a sandwich," or, "got dressed," so that we don't even have to spend the time typing.

For as accepting as I am of this, I noticed something the other day that caused me to shake my head. I discovered an undiscriminating tentacle of social media reaching into a place that I never thought I would see it.

I had to complete my taxes. Normally, I do it in February, but every time I was about to get it done this year, something else would come up. Finally, I had time to sit down and do it via TurboTax, which is how I've happily filled out my taxes for the last several years. After the entire process was over, I received the notification that I was finally done, that everything had been successfully submitted.

Then, an icon appeared on the screen in front of me. TurboTax urged me to brag about the fact that I had finished my taxes on Facebook.


I could see bragging about the fact that I sat down with nothing but pencil, paper and abacus and filled out the forms myself successfully. While extremely geeky, at least it takes a great deal of skill. It's something I can respect. Filling in boxes on TurboTax is hardly impressive. It might possibly be the lamest possible thing that I could think of to brag about.

I suppose that both Facebook and TurboTax have nothing to lose in making that relationship happen, however. Facebook gets its name out there even more (if that's possible) and TurboTax might end up having people post their accomplishment on Facebook which might lead friends of such people to think, "Hey, TurboTax must be pretty easy because that guy's a complete moron and just did his own taxes with it. I should try that out."

All I know is that if anyone who I am currently with on Facebook posts an update bragging about having used TurboTax to complete their taxes, they are going to be immediately de-friended by yours truly. I would expect the same from any of my Facebook friends if I did anything so lame.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to post an update about this new blog post being up.

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