Day 1 – Five problems with social media
Most recently, my biggest problem with social media is that Facebook eats things. Private messages don’t get delivered with any sort of reliability, especially if you are sending messages to people who are not on their phone or computer 27 hours a day. If you have more than 10 friends, it really doesn’t matter because you’re only going to see 10 people on your news feed. If you want to see what the rest of your friends are up to, you have to go searching through their page to find all of their posts.
Cross-pollination is another problem I have with social media. If you follow a friend on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you are going to see everything (photos) three times. But you still get excited to see what they tweeted, even though you already saw their sandwich on Instagram and Facebook. It is, sometimes, helpful when Facebook eats things because it shows up in the other places as well. Except when it doesn’t.
Mostly, I think my problems revolve around Facebook but I don’t spend much time on the other sites. Facebook has become a place where original thought is frowned upon. Probably 95% (or more) of my daily news feed consists of people clicking “Share.” Rarely does anyone put their own commentary with their shared posts and even more rare are words that don’t include a meme or similar attachment. Although, the last time I visited Twitter, it was kind of the same thing. One person would have 20 posts in a matter of 5 minutes and every single one of them was “John Doe retweeted this.”
Unfortunately, I also feel like this problem is not exclusive to social media. I feel like original thought is becoming less and less prominent in every day society, too. But now, I’m getting off topic so let’s reign this back in.
The main problem, I think, is the paradox of feeling connected to people all around the world, through social media, but in reality, you’re not. I have 159 “friends” on Facebook (not too long ago, it was closer to 200; I pared it down considerably and could probably get rid of a few more). Of those 159 people, I have met 50, maybe 75 in real life. Of those, I have the opportunity to see maybe 20 on a regular basis. I don’t know that actual human interaction has declined with the rise of social media but it has definitely become different.
Not long ago – 10, maybe 15 years ago – those 20 people would be my circle of friends. Because those would be the people I knew. I would talk to them, either on the phone or maybe through email or on an instant messaging service like AOL or Yahoo, and that would be it. Having 100 “friends” with whom you had never had a real, genuine conversation, much less ever shared the same air, wasn’t a thing. I mean, sure, you could send a letter and $5 to the address in the back of your Tiger Beat magazine and be paired up with a pen pal but if you exchanged five letters, you were doing awesome. Now we have friends we never talk to. It’s like we’ve started collecting them like baseball cards, or pogs.
I’m recycling a thought at this point but I can’t remember where I expressed it originally so if I’m repeating myself, I apologize. The reality is I’d really like to spend more time with those 20 people (and maybe a few more) in the real world and less time on Facebook, being frustrated that they aren’t getting my messages and as a result I feel more and more disconnected, but for now, it’s what I have to work with.