Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Social Media

It's called "social media" but it's gotten pretty anti-social.

This isn't the first time I've touched on this. But today another incident brings the topic to the front.

People use Twitter, Facebook et al in many different ways. Someone I've known a few years looks at social media as a way to promote her business and the activities that she's into. She's also used it as a sort of classified ad space to sell things. Lately, she used it to try and find homes for her dogs.

Now, I'm not the boss of anyone but myself. But, I do have the feeling that the point of social media is to sustain friendships, stay in touch and share conversations.

Having things sold to me does none of that. If I want to buy a couch, I'll pick up a shopper, go to craigslist or hit the furniture store. I don't want to buy my friend's old couch.

Also, if I want updates about your business, I'll seek it out. If I want to watch commercials, I'll turn on QVC. Trying to sell tickets to an event is fine; sending the same message six times in a week, twice in four hours? That's obnoxious.

These are MY values. You don't have to share them. But I don't think that using social media in this way is very... social. To me, users who do this don't grasp the concept.

Or maybe I don't grasp the concept. Today, I saw this:
"I hate it when people fuss about what I post on my page. Last time I checked it was MY page. So therefore I will post what I like. If you do not like it, un-friend me. Rant over."
So what did I do? Unfriend.

In broad terms, users of social media choose one of two paths: using the tools as a way of engaging in conversation, or as a one-way pronouncement of their message.

I've certainly talked to the TV before. It's never talked back. When someone wants to sell me a couch, there's only one buyer of that couch. So that message is kind of ridiculous.

We live in an age of noise. Noise bombards us constantly... TV, radio, ambient sounds, going to work, being in society. I was a reluctant participant in getting a cell phone because I really didn't want to be on-call 24-7. Only doctors and other heroes need that kind of accessibility. I always treasured the commute time between home and work... blessed silence.

Silence is not a bad thing. You get some of your best thinking done then. Cell phones ended that. Now the only time you can have some silence is when you sleep.  

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