5 Ways Social Media Makes You Part of the Cicada Swarm

Posted on May 26th 2013

5 Ways Social Media Makes You Part of the Cicada Swarm

cicadaSome parts of the east coast are already experiencing the highly anticipated emergence of cicadas.  There reception to these buggers has been decidedly mixed.  Some see the mass numbers of cicadas as gross and their presence is little more than a noisy pestilence.  Others view the coming of the cicadas as a rare sight of beauty, appreciating the significance in their appearance.  Whether or not one favors the hordes, it may behoove every observer to stay their judgment until they take a more personal look at their cicada brethren. 

Use of social media brings the casual observer much closer to cicadas than they might realize.  If one breaks down the purpose of varying social media platforms into its most basic forms and apply a bit of abstract thinking, there are five ways in which social media bridges the gap between humans and cicadas.

We tweet, they buzz: 

Most savvy social media users know that Twitter is a micro blog designed to allow people to send out short messages.  Cicadas send out brief bursts of buzzing.  In essence our tweets and their buzzes function in very similar fashion, they are meant to get attention.  Furthermore, in order to be effective, tweets and buzzes happen with high frequency.  Finding one individuals tweet in a lengthy string of tweets is difficult, especially if they don’t tweet often.  Likewise, for one cicada to find another specific buzzer, the buzz needs to be reoccurring.

Summer Lovin’:

Online dating sites are essentially a form of specialized social media.  They serve to bring people together for the specific purpose of making a connection with that special someone.  While common interests and hobbies are all well and good, the end goal is to find a mate.  At the end of the 17 year life cycle for the cicadas, their buzz is a search for another cicada to help continue the species.  Humans simply have the added benefit of not expiring after reproduction.

Finding Opportunity:

LinkedIn is perhaps the most notable way for people to make those professional connections.  The idea is to present one’s credentials in order to network with like professionals or even seek new opportunities.  When all is in order, success is likely the end result.  However, others have difficulty and fall short of their goals.  Humans and cicadas both run the risk of running out of time before finding what they are looking for and miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime.

Countless Friends:

Few social media platforms allow you to claim as many friends as Facebook.  Some profiles claim numbers of friends large enough to populate a small country.  In reality the quality of those friends vary significantly but they are still apart of an individual’s social circle.  When cicadas come out in force they number in the billions.  In both cases, a sharing of significant events, like weddings or the last few days of your insect life, can be experienced with those around you.

Pinning a Legacy:

Before the move to let online marketing companies move in on the online posting board, one of the more appealing aspects to Pinterest was being able to leaving something behind for future onlookers to benefit from.  A user can find a recipe or a photo and pin it to a board.  In turn, visitors of the board reap the benefits or joy that those before them sewed in.  In a more literal sense, cicadas pin their legacy to the trees that they spent so much time on.  Cicada eggs are drilled into tree branches and the nymphs that hatch benefit from their forebears’ choice of home.

Before giving into fear or disgust of countless cicadas, take a minute to reflect on how we are more alike than you might have originally thought.  We’re both social creatures and we both want to be heard.  After all, if you only had a little while left, wouldn’t you want to go out with a bang too?

 

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Christopher Hansen

Chris Hansen is a freelance writer with a Master's in social studies education and Bachelor's in history.  Follow Chris on twitter @ChrisDaleHansen

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