Anti-social media

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 28, 2018, 11:36 AM | comments: 0

One of the few things that I don't like about the Internet is the way that it has enabled attention whoring. It's not a new phenomenon that came with Facebook and YouTube, it's been around since the start of the commercial net. Social media has definitely made it worse, and the funny thing is that there's nothing really "social" about narcissism because it's totally a one-way interaction.

It's one of the reasons that I don't get the ephemeral features (or entire point) of some of these platforms. Snapchat in particular, but also stories on Instagram and now Facebook (which with one minor UI tweak, people are now using). What's the point of a drive-by post that disappears? That's a very one-way interaction. What am I missing?

The way I use Facebook has changed a lot since having a child. What I post is generally intended for friends and family that are not geographically close, so they can see what we're up to. Conversely, I look for the same from them. My "friend" count hasn't changed much the last few years. Where years ago I'd try to keep up with everything from everyone, chronologically, now I submit to the algorithm or use my "close friends" list to make sure I don't miss anything from those folks.

The biggest thing though is that I find the site to be a great historical record. Life has involved so much change for me in the last decade and change, but it's even more dramatic when you have a young child. Pretty much every year is different. I get a lot of value in seeing that change because it makes me appreciate life more. That context makes for a happier me.

Am I being a judgey hater for people who crave likes and shares? Yeah, but that's OK. Everyone needs to be loved, it's just that most well-adjusted people seek that from someone other than anonymous strangers. I don't think that human behavior has fundamentally changed with the advent of electronic social opportunities, I just think they're amplified.


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