This post is coming into existence purely based on my own personal feelings and positions regarding social media. This is not a treatise on the nature of the social media space. It’s not a predictor of the future of social media. It’s not a rant for or against social media. What it is is actually quite simple. It’s how I am feeling about my life in social media these days. Think of it as a “Dear Diary” entry written to social media. I say that because you only write about what is important in a diary, right?
Well, despite some of the moments I have regarding social media it is pretty important to me. Here are some of the main reasons.
- I make a living, in part, because of the growth of social media
- I have used social media to connect with family that is geographically separated from me
- I have used social media to build a more consistent and deeper bond with friends both past and present
As you can see, each of the above statements starts with the word I. That’s because at its core, social media is a selfish act. It’s a way to be heard, seen, recognized etc etc. It’s very narcissistic. To argue otherwise would be foolish so don’t bother.
There are several other upsides as well. I can make professional connections I would have not otherwise made. I can learn a lot of stuff. I can create things I may have never done in the past.
All of this is very good but here’s where you might want to stop reading if you are the type who needs a polly-annish “all is well that ends well” kind of thing here. I won’t offer that because that is fantasy. That is not reality and it’s this very mindset that makes me wonder whether social media is helping or hindering people.
You see there are several things that are very real about social media that we simply don’t like to talk about because we are always supposed to be upbeat. Well, here are a few of my concerns about where we are and where we are heading.
- The “everyone should be positive all the time” thing is not real. I am not saying you need to poo-poo everything on social media. Quite the contrary. Most people don’t like a Donald or Debbie Downer in the room. The trouble starts when we give someone a “thumbs down” if they dare be real and express how they really feel or see something in the social world. It’s like people and politics. Everyone is right as long as they are in agreement with their point of view. Ridiculous, but just watch people get blown out of the social media waters if they dare dissent from the status quo.
- We stop thinking when we are hell bent on sharing. Look at what Spike Lee did this week in the Trayvon Martin case. He perpetuated the complete falsehood of the accused killer’s address so people could literally go after this guy. So when his address was passed along. Twitter Spike was happy to tell his 250,000 followers the information so he could be involved and be an activist. Too bad the address was wrong and now an older couple in Florida live in fear because they are associated with this situation from a complete lie. Nice work Spike, you idiot.
- We are all trying a bit too hard. The call for everyone to be everywhere in social media is simply not sustainable. There is only one group of people on the planet that need to be on all social networks and that is marketers. Social media for regular people should be restricted to only where they are comfortable. The idea of being all things to all people and being everywhere all at once is just silly. So what if Google+ isn’t as big as Facebook? Maybe that’s a good thing. Joe Average doesn’t need to be there but marketers need to speak to those that are. That’s all.
- The more we fake it the less we make it. In certain aspects of life, one is encouraged to “fake it ’til you make it.” That can be decent advice in the right circumstance. It’s a popular stance amongst those fighting addiction. It’s not a mantra for how we should present ourselves in the social media world, though. Not even close. We thought resumes were bad when it comes to lying. Well, we now live in world where anonymity is encouraged so people don’t have to be tied to their actions! That’s just plain stupid. The less reality there is in the social space, the less real progress we will make.
I could go on and on but won’t. Like I said at the start of this post I am really just airing some stuff that rattles around my brain on most days. It’s good to get it out from time to time. Of course, I do risk being ostracized by the social media powers that be, dare I swim against the tide of today’s social media conventional wisdom.
My response to that reality? I couldn’t care less. Because those who want to fire slings and arrows at me for approaching the social media space realistically wouldn’t be my friends in real life anyway. At that point, all I can do is pray for them and move on.
I’m done for now. Thanks for listening.