"Consumers spent over five and a half hours on social networks in December, up 82% from the same time last year. A year ago, most users were spending a little over three hours a day on social sites, a group that includes networks like Facebook, blogs, and the Twitter micro-blog service. Social media is now the most popular activity online. Gaming and instant messaging are the next most popular categories."
I'm a recovering social media user. I tried Facebook for about a year, collected 150 "friends," tried all the features and then DELETED my listing. What's my gripe with 24-hour instant access to gossip? Where do I begin? At a time when most of us spend way too much time in front of television and computer screens, handing us an addictive device that creates the illusion
of connectivity is a brilliant way to bring the focus back around to our selves--to our most petty and shallow personas.
, I'm referring to the person you represent on a social media site. That person is not YOU. It's a constructed avatar of yourself--you as you wish to be seen. But you soon learn that this too is an illusion.Once you're part of the social media matrix, your personal life is everybody's business. Before long you find that someone has posted a picture of you from a party five years ago, when you were half in the bag and leering like an idiot. An old friend from college finds you and begins sending you minute-by-minute updates of her cat's surgery. Another friend you haven't seen in years signs on and you see he's having an art opening that you SHOULD attend, but you don't want to. Let the guilt begin. Guilt for not being a better friend. Guilt for not attending someone's anniversary party. Guilt for not responding to an email for weeks.
It doesn't take long for people find out you're an editor, or a builder, or an insurance agent, and begin asking your advice (AKA unpaid consulting). You feel like instead of talking to you, you're at a perpetual trade show, where second and third tier friends (people you barely know) are walking up to you and reading your name tag, not looking into your eyes.
And all this time, as the creeping malaise of social media works its way into your day, life is ticking away. At a time when we should be reconnecting with our natural environment, instead we're sucked into a world of faux relationships, faux conversations and pseudo reality. That's a hard thing to explain to my teenager. But I'm hoping that even if social media is here to stay, it will eventually peak and then begin to diminish in importance--as people discover the true alienating properties of sharing life with carefully constructed ones and zeros.
PS: I just read a great little essay titled Twittering Fools
by Edward Docx. It's even harder on the social media idiocy than I was. Check it out.
Posted: 1/26/2010 8:02:34 AM by
Matt Power | with 0 comments
Filed under: facebook, media, social, criticism