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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Because I'm freaking hilarious!"

It is ridiculously raining. I just walked ten minutes through the storm, from a meeting to my dorm room, and even my umbrella and rubber boots could not stand up to what felt like gallons of water being thrown directly at my face. Now I know how Shamu feels. Well, like, Shamu after some anger management.

I'm crazy about rain. In the same way that it makes me want to hide inside a sweater with too long of sleeves, rain makes me want to hide inside my brain. I have so many story ideas swirling around in there right now that I can't even see straight. I'm drinking peach tea and typing so loudly and with so much conviction that I look like I belong in a movie montage-- I'm the erratic journalist, racing to the deadline, all while maintaining an atmosphere of chicness and sexitude*. I've also taken to listening to French pop music, breaking character to clap excitedly when I understand it, and nodding noncommittally (moodily!) when I don't. I'm really very artistic and indie, guys. You have no idea.

Okay, enough of that. I can only be a hipster for so long before I want to punch myself in the face. I will now try to counteract the damage: McDonald's! A genuine interest in the wellbeing of Lindsay Lohan! The unironic purchasing of t-shirts with "Hollister" written on them! There we go. Balanced and back to normal.

What's up, guys? Lately, I've been thinking about this internet culture that most of us are deeply invested in, and how it appears to people on the outside. As odd as it sounds, I spend most of my time around people with lifestyles so similar to my own, that I can go weeks without remembering that what I do is really, really strange. Last week, I mentioned twitter in a class, and some guy in the back of the room sighed loudly in response. "I hate twitter," he said, as if he couldn't have been more serious about anything, ever. "How self-involved are you?"

I can never predict ahead of time how I'll react to confrontation, because I either go completely silent, or retort as cockily as possible. It all depends on my mood, the setting, and the person provoking me. And apparently I was in Fight Mode on that particular morning, because I laughed, shook my head, and said, "7,000 followers' worth?" Which was, admittedly, both self-involved and a stupid thing to say in front of people whom I can now never mock online.

The guy then said, "See, I think that's disgusting. Why do that many people need to hear what you're doing today?"

I'd already started blushing, realizing that it was a pointless argument that would only end in me sounding like I was obsessed with myself, but I guess I had an adrenaline rush, because there was suddenly no turning back. I figured I'd better go big or go home. I shrugged and said, "Because I'm freaking hilarious!"

Guy: "Yeah, it's stuff like that. I hate twitter and blogs and all that. Anyone who wants can go online and write whatever they're thinking, and then other idiots read it and convince the writer that they're famous or something."

Me: "Well, mine's kind of different. I don't just write my opinions on Justin Bieber." As these words left my mouth, I became suddenly aware of the fact that I end each post with the nail polish brand I'm wearing, and that sometimes my tweets are somewhat obscure references to the personal lives of Disney Channel actresses... but he didn't need to know that part. What he did need to know was that, "I'm a professional writer," (I technically am!) and that "People read what I have to say because they want to."

I wish I had a better story for you, but our debate pretty much ended there. Class had ended and, as heated as the discussion had been, I was still more interested in the prospect of lunch than I was in defending my own dignity. He said something passively polite, like, "Well, I've never seen what you write, but maybe you're different," and then I ate a sandwich.

I wanted to recount this conversation to you guys, though. Partially to provide a less biased view of what an annoying person I am in the real world, so you don't get your hopes up too high, and partially because I know a lot of you can relate. Maybe our generation has become irrevocably shallow and selfish due to the large-scale outlets for adolescent vanity available through our computer screens, but I like to be a little more optimistic about it. Internet culture allows us to form heroes and quasi-celebrities around those who offer something we desire, instead of always limiting us to what major media corporations deem Fame-worthy. Sure, Kim Kardashian is still a household name in our society, but internet communities allow us to also follow people who make us laugh, or whose self-produced music makes us happy, or who make videos about things we care about. I may be bombarded with Kim Kardashian, but now I have the ability to idolize someone like Natalie Tran, too. Not because she had a nice butt (although she might; I haven't studied it extensively), but because she has creative things to say. Natalie probably wouldn't have peddled her talents through auditions for TV shows, or taken her clothes off in order to be noticed more**, but youtube is the perfect environment to bring people like her to the attention of people like me. Do you get what I mean? Do you agree?

Anyway, that's just what's running through my spastic mind tonight. I hope you're all having a good week, and that you're not letting the news about Hiccup Girl upset you too much. I'd apologize for the gap between posts, but you know how that goes. You've heard it all before. You guys stick by me even when I suck, and for that, I will leave you with this.

Chipotle burritos this year: 29
Subscribers: 36,148
Nail color: Just clear Sally Hansen Hard As Nails.

*Don't say anything; let me have my dreams.
**Not that any of us would object! I mean. Not that... OTHER people... would... object.

51 comments:

DaisyJo said...

I was beaming like a fool while watching the 101 Dalmations clip. My brother walked in and asked why I was smiling so much. ;D

Rachel said...

I completely agree. Maybe keeping a blog/being on YouTube can be considered self-involved, but it's also a way to reach out to people, be creative, and *gasp* just have fun. My parents and friends read my blog while I'm at school, and vice/versa, and that allows us to be caught up with each other even when we're not living together constantly and maybe don't have time to call. I think more communication, in any form, can only be good.

Oh, and last week I had my first Chipotle burrito. My mouth threw a party.

Rachel said...

I completely agree. Maybe keeping a blog/being on YouTube can be considered self-involved, but it's also a way to reach out to people, be creative, and *gasp* just have fun. My parents and friends read my blog while I'm at school, and vice/versa, and that allows us to be caught up with each other even when we're not living together constantly and maybe don't have time to call. I think more communication, in any form, can only be good.

Oh, and last week I had my first Chipotle burrito. My mouth threw a party.

Madhu said...

HAH I was really amused by the guy in your class and your response to him. I think you might've come off as pretty cocky, BUT he was still somewhat yielding to you in the end...right?
Anyway, next time people say twitter makes you self involved, you can just say "well I don't tweet to gain followers, I tweet for me. I enjoy posting my thoughts about what I'm doing."
well...that would be my response but i don't really have twitter...that's what FB statuses are for!

Stefan said...

thanks for fighting the good fight. I wish the embarrassing things I blurt out in public could be recounted and sound like I was fighting for something.

We all wish we could shout 7,000 worth! thats for being a quasi-celebrity that owns it.. and for being my quasi-one-way-friend.

love ya

Suburban Sweetheart said...

I don't really see how bloggers or Twitterers are any more self-absorbed than filmmakers or actors or authors or artists or anyone at all who creates things for a living & wants other people to love & enjoy them. No different at all. Of course, it doesn't mean everyone's good at it, just like there are plenty of terrible filmmakers or actors or authors or artists. But the point is that it's the same. Creating with the hope that others will want to consume. Just another medium.

anna said...

It's never easy to explain online involvement, especially when confronted like that. I would not be able to count the number of times I've tried to explain Twitter as not only an update machine on what I had for lunch, though it is used for that, but also as a means of communicating with well-known authors and quite respectable YouTubers. At least, that's what I like to think I use it for.

Michael said...

It is a tremendous assertion of self, this blog/twitter/youtube thing. "Why should anyone give a shit about your life?" is a fair question about this whole thing, but it doesn't really have a proper answer.

Scott said...

I agree 100%. Internet communities are refreshing because not only do they celebrate the average Joe, but they give faces to things that mainstream media simply can't. Like knowing that there are other people out there who have the same interests as you, or are going through the same things as you. Or what kind of sandwich they just ate. Social media like Twitter and blogs aren't platforms for self-involvement, they're vehicles of coexistence!

But srsly. I just ate a cheese bun.

Kristina said...

You should listen to Parles Vous Francais by Art vs. Science
It's not a French band, and I'm sorry if I spelled anything wrong D=
But I find it quite addicted. I'm pretty sure they're Australia

Kate said...

See, when people get all "OMG, [internet activity] is SOOOOO self-involved!", I always think, "Ah, I see you've never done it and have no idea what you're talking about." Because all the people I really love on the internet, all the bloggers and vloggers and Twitter users who are really amazing, they use it to reach out to other people, not to be self-absorbed. Look at Maureen Johnson; her Twitter feed is amazing. Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, too, use Twitter as a means of communication--not just as a way to broadcast to the masses what they ate for breakfast. And John and Hank, obviously, have made internet-based community interaction into an art form.

You know how people say "You get out of life what you put into it"? Twitter is a perfect microcosm of that. I was just thinking about this today: when Twitter first started, I couldn't really figure out what the point was. It wasn't till I started reading @SmartBitches all the time that I GOT what makes Twitter work: conversations and interaction. And later, when I found Maureen's Twitter stream, things fell completely into place. Maureen has this incredible community, and she doesn't just broadcast to them, she interacts with them--so much so that she's DEDICATED A BOOK to her Twitter followers. (#jarlove to you too, mj!)

So, uh, that was kind of a longwinded way of saying that I think this guy's main problem is that he doesn't understand that blogs, etc.,--good ones, anyway--are not about exhibitionism so much as they are about interaction with other people. Tell him that next time.

JuliaClaire said...

Someone said in a previous comment that bloggers and vloggers are no more self-absorbed than actors and directors, but those two categories of people are among the most self-centered I can think of.
Do not misunderstand, I love your videos and your blog, and think you are a great writer, but I was kind of put-off by your delivery. It is fantastic that you have 7,000 followers on Twitter, but that does not really disprove your classmate's point? As a college student myself who loves Facebook and YouTube like the rest of us, I too am part of "Generation Me". But I worry that Facebook, Twitter, and the like feed our narcissism WAY too much.
And I disagree with "Kate" that these are about interaction, because Twitter comments are not a dialog at all, but more like two monologues. Twitter is a very self-centric world with which I could never really identify.

Two arguments that keep being made are that these online outlets are about "communication" and "coexistence" but I disagree. Having a conversation with someone on Facebook chat, or leaving a comment on a YouTube video or Twitter post can not even begin to compare with having a face-to-face conversation.
I should reiterate that I like Facebook and YouTube, but some part of me has just always felt this way about them.

creativemachine said...

Regarding that link to Say You'll Be There...
Hayley G Hoover. You are my hero. That freaking made my day.

Scumbag Sam said...

I totally get it - people are WAY to judgy- judgy about the internet etc. Which is why I don't tell people I blog or am obsessed with YouTube! I decided a looong time ago that it was more fun to have a secret life!! :D
I say Bravo to you for incorporating it into your real life!!

Zaphiie said...

Sure, maybe bloggers/vloggers/avid twitterers (tweeters?) are somewhat self-involved, but in a freaking awesome way.

I mean, would you have so many people absolutely clamouring to comment/subscribe/retweet/follow you if you wrote boring, rubbishy crap like the guy in your class clearly perceived the internet to be made of?

Not to mention the reactions of awesome you get from people like Lauren (vloggerqueen17) and Ben Cracknell when you subscribe/comment to their blogs/vlogs. And then the comments of intense jealousy they get from everyone else (myself included)

The self-involved gets overshadowed by the awesome when you're Hayley Hoover ;D

Mike said...

Much of typical Internet activity is, at it's heart, very self-involved. Not that it's necessarily bad, just that there's a lot of pointless "look at me, I regurtitate semi-artistic content form other's websites!" floating around.

Put in that way, I guess I can see why some people disagree with the web 2.0 concept. But then again, those people have never come across anyone like you, Hayley, who make the whole system seem like much less of an exercise in futility.

Kate said...

Julia, I think you might have misunderstood what I was trying to say. I don't mean that Twitter, for instance, is the same as having a face-to-face conversation with someone. What I was trying to get across is that sometimes people have this perception that Twitter (or whatever) is made up entirely of individual users carrying on individual monologues in a kind of vacuum--broadcasting themselves to an audience they may or may not have, but not actually interacting with anyone; everybody's talking and no one's listening. And of course that's true for some users, but there is a LOT of interaction and conversing going on if you look for it.

Apart from that, friendships and communities can be made on the internet. Hayley's proof of that herself, with 5AG--to say nothing of the Nerdfighters in general. And how could these things happen if there's no genuine communication happening? Of course the internet is not the same as being face-to-face, but neither is a telephone conversation; one's interactions with someone else are no less valid for happening over an internet connection.

It's 3:30 in the morning, so I might not be expressing myself very well, but what I'm trying to get across is that while the internet CAN be and sometimes is self-absorbed and a place for people to listen to themselves talk (just like real life!), it is not ALWAYS, and that to pass judgment on somebody else just because they have a Twitter account is ridiculous.

Kate said...

GAH! In case that last bit sounded accusatory, please understand that I was talking about the guy in Hayley's class, not you. Sorry. (Time for bed now, definitely.)

Abbie said...

The weather here is the same. Cold and windy and rainy. It kind of makes me happy. Which is weird, because it looks depressing. Anyway, if you want some good French pop music, you should try listening to Yelle. She's really upbeat and cool sounding.

Also, you are freaking hilarious. Thanks!

VTBurninator said...

Hey hey HGH! Bravo for sticking to your guns! Just wanted to share this article I read on Science Daily about a group of teens that went 24-hours without technology...results: They ended up showing withdrawl symptoms similar to drug and alcohol addiction. Anywho here is the link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025090017.htm Have a fabulous week of rest, NaNo starts soon!!

VTBurninator said...

Alas, the link was too long and didn't paste right....Science Daily article on 24-hour break from technology can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/2agfcb3

riddlesdiary said...

It's hard to argue with something like that. I can totally see how other people find b/vlogging and tweeting self-absorbed... but at the same time... what's so wrong with being a little bit self-interested? It's how us socially awkward people are free to be ourselves. ...Yup.

I'm a new soprano to the Hayleylujah Chorus! :-) *waves* Just wanted to say hello!

Krazy_4_Kelly said...

We need to come up with some coherent way to explain the interwebz to those who don't live on it. Yesterday I sounded like a complete idiot trying to explain to my manager what exactly goes on at Harry Potter conferences to which I was left with a complete blank for how else to describe wrock other than people writing songs about HP which sounds kinda strange and makes me cringe whenever I have to explain it to people. The internet as we experience it (via nerdfighteria and the HP fandom, primarily) is one that can't be explained and instead must be experienced inorder to understand it.

On that note, I wish I was in that class because that debate sounded amazing. And you shouldn't feel self-involved, anyone can put stuff on the internet and the extent to which they become "famous" has nothing to do with them being more self-involved than most but all to do with how funny/smart/awesome/*insert possitive adjective here* people find you.

Sidsel said...

I actually wrote a rather long essay discussing what social networks, especially Facebook, do to people. Some guy thinks our whole generation is becoming dumber and therefore everyone is screwed. I don't know... as long as you still know how to interact with people face to face and have interests outside the internet, I think we´ll be okay.

Maria said...

Hayley this is exactly why we all love you ,because you are freaking hilarious! <3

Jen said...

Token "older" reader here. To an extent, I do understand that dude in your class. I don't follow Twitter and I don't blog, nor do I follow many blogs. When I started watching 5AG a few years ago, I was just really impressed by how genuine you all seemed and as someone a generation ahead of you, we are known to bash future gens...it's a cycle. I enjoy you because you ARE hilarious, but genuine and a damn good writer. You give me hope because I like to believe there are more Haley's out there than the shallow and self-absorbed types. I'm often jealous of the connections I see being made through Youtube because I would have LOVED that "in my day". Hayley, you are welcome on my lawn anytime!

Cassie said...

I like the people that I follow on the internet because they are so creative. I love the things all of you come up with. Mostly though, I follow people I identify with. We really get into eachother's thoughts on the internet with all of these self-centered outlets. I like reading about you because your a Christian(like me, you've just started college (like me). you have bad days (like me). Blogs and random seemingly boring vlogs about people's lives are great to me because someone else, however far away or different from me, is feeling just as bored or shy or lonely as I am now. Everything here tends to be so honest and it brings us closer together. That said, there is AMAZING unmatchable talent found in a lot of unknown people on Youtube and such that you just couldn't get from celebrities. All of you really matter to me because I feel like I'm a part of your life and you're a part of mine. (I apologize for the appalling lack of organizied thought in this.)

elfarmy17 said...

It's not arrogant for those of us who have a high enough self-esteem to know we have something worth saying to say it. People like you, Hayley, and apparently people like what I blog about enough to stick around. That isn't self-involved. It's just...self-good. Even though that's not a word.

Katie said...

I agree with everything you've said, Hayley. Also, just got back to Scotland from Washington where I tried a Chipotle burrito for the first time, was amazing!! Felt like the weight of a small child when the woman handed it to me.

Kai said...

I loved the 101 Dalmatians clip :)
And I don't think any of us judge you for being self involved or talking about yourself (obviously, we care if we're here!). But, I don't think there's anything wrong with having a creative outlet to talk about what's going on in your life. And, if someone wants to give you money for expressing your self, would anyone say no? This guy . . .
anyways! I enjoy you. =]

Jenny said...

I agree. I find it easier to relate with the people whose blogs I read than I do with many of the people I go to school with, and definately more than I do with celebrities. It's comforting to know there are people who see the world similar to how I do.

I like the rain too, but more for the smell that comes in the windows when its still raining.

Morgan said...

Just so you know, I just extensively researched chronic paroxysmal hemicrania. JUST because you have it and I've been wondering about your issue for awhile. I'm so glad you have a diagnosis! I'm so glad you can feel better now!

<3

Miranda said...

Haley, because of the internet i look up to you instead of Lindsay Lohan. because of the internet, i've started a blog that has pushed me to write better and more frequently because of the support and motivation of my followers. because of the internet i've connected with people who are from opposite ends of the world.

i doubt the random guy in your class has.

alimarie_11 said...

Haley. The difference is that people pay attention to you because you are thoughtful and intelligent. and yes, hilarious.

Your followers are not mindless celebrity worshipers. At least I'd like to think that...

Frankly youtubers, like you, are VERY different than celebrities.

When I see updates from you, i feel like i'm hearing from a friend who moved away or something. Youtube is just more personal.

in other words, that guy didn't really know what he was talking about and shouldn't have generalized!

ps. It's great hearing from you!

Kookie said...

I've never seen the internet life as vain. When you tell people about your classes, your conversations, and of course your nail polish, I never thought someone would do it just because they thought someone would be interested in reading it. No one really just wants to read on the internet: They want to react. We want to laugh at that conversation, tell you we have the same nail polish (or hated it when we had it) or something like that. It's not interesting if it's just mindless stuff that you think "Hey, these guys like me, I'll tell them where I went today and with which famous youtuber!" Instead, you put thought and opinion into it so we can come in and leave a comment, or just sit back and ponder if we want.

PinkPieLover18 said...

I know exactly what you mean. People just don't get the whole Internet thing unless they're involved in it. Everyone in my class thinks Twitter is stupid because they don't care what all the celebrities are doing. But they don't know about all the really cool YouTubers I follow on Twitter that usually have something funny and interesting to say.
I guess it's really weird to most people to watch people just "talking to cameras", but I find it really interesting to kind of follow along with someone's life and to watch someone who you can relate to or that you find entertaining.

Jessy said...

I feel the same way about just watching videos on youtube. My closest friends know I watch a bunch of people uploading videos and talking about their lives but if I were to meet a guy that I like..
I would feel really weird explaining that to him. It's so strange to me that not every single person in the universe knows about vlogging and how fun it is to connect with people on a weird level.

apples_and_pancakes said...

I agree with you.
Besides, twitter is another way to communicate. Was he being self involved when, unprompted, that guy shared his opinion as if it were wanted?

Lizzie said...

This was such an interesting blog post and it's funny cos I made a video aboutsomething similar last week. It's about the relationships we have online and how different they are from the other ones IRL and in the media and your take was really different from mine and made me think, so thank you! And I'd much rather be reading your blog than watching Keeping up with the Kardashians or something.

Veronica said...

Because of you, I just watched 101 Dalmatians instead of practicing piano.
...
Not that I'm really complaining. Thanks for that. :)

Meggggg said...

Haha, of course I agree. You're talking about the internet, to internet people.

mmomechanicallyinclined said...

I don't participate in the whole Twitter scene... probably because there isn't much to talk about that wouldn't bore people completely. I feel that I'm very uninteresting. I do have a blog, but it's mostly to share highly developed thoughts on rather complex topics (well, as complex as video games can be). I don't begrudge people their tweets, however. To each their own. At least I know some of my friends occasionally read my blog. There's some small comfort in that.

That and I'm a bit too verbose for 140 characters.

Emily said...

For what it's worth, you ARE freaking hilarious.

I love what you were saying about the internet letting us find idols from real people, and not just the images of celebrities that the media feeds us (and I say this as a film major who wants to be a director). I think it's so cool that the internet connects us to all these people we would never know about otherwise. I think by bringing us together, it helps a lot of us understand each other more, and not feel so isolated. It opens our minds to other mindsets as well, which is awesome.

Alice said...

Reading your blog is such a normal part of my life now. And I genuinely hope that I can be like you one I'm (ahh) 20.
I totally agree about the internet thing. My school is starting a science club, and the posters are ALL over the walls, and one has that strolling LeoDecaprio memes on it. It was just like "wait, I ONLY see that on Tumblr, other people (who I walk by in the halls) know these memes too?"

Natalie said...

I love it when you give us spice girls.

kira902k said...

I completely agree with you. Instead of (only) looking up to un-relatable celebrities like Angelina Jolie or whoever, we can look up to people who inspire us, like the Green Brothers, Melissa Anelli, and, honestly, hayley g hoover.

But yeah, i've been judged and made fun of more than once for my involvement in internet communities. Because no one sees it for what it truly is until they've been a part of it.

Also, you're not self-involved for posting your nail polish colours. I'm genuinely interested. Haha.

Anyway, I have nothing else to say.
Blog soon! Keep us updated on nanowrimo (if you're doing it.)

-alex

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with anything, but a guy is playing Jason Mraz in my dorm's lounge. I thought of you lol

Maya said...

Okay, so I see the merit to both points, obviously. On the one hand, it might be deemed self involved (by some) to think your life is important to other people, especially, for example, your current nail polish color.
And for some people *cough* Chris Crocker *cough cough* it might feed some pre-existing attention-seeking complex that might now get out of control and be really annoying to everyone around them.
However.

I agree with your point about how, in many cases, people who garner internet fame are earning it for being who they are and they would not otherwise be able to become "famous" because of their lack of means and/or incompatibility with mass media's idea of sell-able talent.

I would also like to add, though, that I think there's something to be said for making some random kid feel like their life is important. I'm sure there has been one time in your life where you were feeling down about life and your followers/blog readers/subscribers were able to make you feel like a celebrity and make you feel like your life was important. And, hell! It is important! Everyone should feel like their life matters! After all, people care deeply about the details of fictional peoples' lives (Harry Potter, that bitch from Twilight, etc) and they're not even real! It could be said that we, as an audience, fictionalize our "celebrities" and make their lives into our entertainment, and that's going to happen anyway. Better it be Harry and Hayley than Lindsay Lohan and that bitch with the big ass.
Right?

Taylor said...

The Spice Girls video is far too ridiculous to be made as recently as 2005. Sporty was always the best.
I agree with you. I think that the internet has become this completely separate culture with our own celebrities to idolize or gossip about. Just like any other group, outsiders view what happens in the community as something unacceptable. Or, the guy in your class is just stupid. Either way, he just doesn't get it.

Danielle said...

Hayley! I love your blog and your videos. I've been following since July 2007 but never comment on anything. So... I just thought that now would be a good time to tell you that I think you're awesome :)

Kaylee said...

Hey Hayley, Can you help me out? I'm having a horrible time writing college application essays. Any Tips or Advice?