I'd like to grab the mic for a minute. This is a break from your regularly scheduled content for—wait for it—Some personal news...
Are you intrigued? What could I be sharing? Maybe a life-changing announcement. Did I get engaged? Buy a puppy? Decide to drop everything and embark on my own Eat, Pray, Love journey all over the world? It's rarely that juicy.
"Some personal news" has become the de facto "big announcement" prefix on social media—especially Twitter— and what follows is usually completely unrelated to your personal life. It's the new business card: telling everybody you're starting a new job, quit or even got fired.
According to Refinery 29, the phrase began showing up around 2010. And for the most part, professionals in the media use it. The site notes that it's the successor of another Internet phenomenon: "I wrote a thing." Remember how ubiquitous that was at one point? People have even began poking fun with the overuse of "some personal news".
Maybe it's our human nature to brag. Or is it, a humble brag? I guess there's nothing really humble about telling the whole world to stop and pay attention to ME!!! But in defense of my fellow byline jockeys, things move fast in our industry. Companies are constantly churning and consolidating employees. It's impossible to keep track of who works where. More than 6,150 news workers were laid off during Covid-19.
There's convenience in firing off one Tweet/post/Instagram Story instead of having to personally update every single person in your contacts. And in our line of work, somebody in our social networks could very well facilitate the next paycheck. I've gotten more gigs off of Twitter than from LinkedIn. True story.
Writer Jessie Thompson observes how seeing "some personal news" on the timeline can be triggering with negative effects. It's the idea that everybody is winning and you're just a big loser. The pressure to keep up with the
Kardashians tweets is real. "And yet I have to confess: every time I see those little red siren emojis, my heart sinks," she says. "The 'personal news klaxon' has become a cliché. Not only does it make everyone’s triumphs sound the same, it feeds into the worst kind of social media narrative — making what is difficult appear easy."
On social media, we're constantly comparing ourselves to each other's highlight reel. No matter how good you feel, somebody is probably accomplishing more, earning more, doing more and looking better doing it. Hey, you have the same 24 hours in a day that Beyonce has, right? Get your fucking ass up and work!
It's not that serious. "Some personal news" is just the new goodbye email or farewell drinks. Between work from home and digital nomadism, those corporate conventions are less and less relevant.
There will undoubtedly be love from your friends, emojis from colleagues and congratulations from strangers. For those side-eyeing the phrase, remember that behind those three words, there's a whole lot of work, sweat and sacrifice that you can't see— and that social media can't fully communicate.
Some personal news...I have a newsletter. Share and subscribe. And extra points if you got the Mya reference in the cover image.