Internet Time Machine

Social Media Is Like the Weirdest House Party Ever

If Facebook is a club, Twitter is a dive bar

Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readNov 17, 2019

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Photo: Pexels

This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.

AsAs a writer, I often go to house parties. These parties take place at the homes of some guys I know. You’ve probably heard of them: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. They’re alright people most of the time.

House parties are a bad idea for writers like me. When I’m at them and I don’t talk, I feel like I’m not supposed to be there. When I’m at them and I do talk, I feel like an idiot. Parties for me are like existential dread with other people. All the same, I still go to all the parties. I don’t know why. Call it idea generation, self-abuse, addiction; all are and have been true.

I don’t remember exactly how I met Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook — I think it was a friend-of-a-friend introduction kind of a deal — but they have the biggest houses so it makes sense that we’re always hanging out there. And I mean, everybody goes to these parties that they host. Seriously, everybody. They attract all kinds of people from all walks of life.

The parties are interesting, sure, but recently I’ve been unsure if I really want to go to them anymore.

Let me explain.

The other day I was at one of Twitter’s parties when I had this moment. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with Twitter’s parties. Sometimes they’re really great; I’ll stumble across enlightened conversation with people I respect, or discover inspiring art, or watch a joke climb to new heights of hilarity as people riff on it over the course of the evening. But then I’ll excuse myself to go the bathroom and suddenly I’m being assaulted by complaints about the Japanese immigration system or debates about Nazi-punching etiquette. Sometimes I’ll walk into rooms full of ugly political shouting contests. It’s weird; everyone says they hate each other, but they all kind of want to be there, too.

Comrades in hate. I don’t really get it.

Anyway, about my moment. I was at the party, and I got lost. (This happens to me a lot at Twitter’s parties.) I ended up in a…

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Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts

Fragments of the everyday in Tokyo, as written by Hengtee Lim.