Anti-Social? No, Just Social Media

For today’s Topical Tuesday, I’ll try to assemble my personal viewpoint on social media and why I “don’t social” personally. I’ll even try to keep it simple and concise for smooth reading. I might utilize –wait for it!– bullet points (oh, the organization!)

But we’ll see how well my good intentions fall out. 😊



(Anti-Social? No, just social networks.)

 
Background:
Like most everyone I guess, I’ve sampled a wide buffet of social media options and generally found them not to my taste. I realize it’s how the real world communicates now, but I’m still a good old-fashioned telephone and email gal! You know, one-on-on talking to people I know—like it used to be done.

{Quit call me Grandma! Cell phones actually made calls once, ya know. Pretty soon they are going to remove the call function from phones entirely to make more selfies & app storage.}

I opened various social accounts for one reason or the other (usually because someone in my sphere of friendship was raving, “C.J., you must try . . . __insert name of trending social network here__” then inevitably I didn’t like it and the account goes dormant until said network-bot spams my Inbox with annoying messages like, “so, we noticed you haven’t updated your account in 15,863,154,515,485,125 weeks, are you trying to say you don’t like us???”

{Why yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying in my non-confrontational passivist voice. Good for you! Now go away.}

“But—BUT everybody on the whole internet LOVES us & they all just can’t wait to log on from their smart phone/tablet/snap selfies on their iToilet –introducing the “bathroom of the future”, brought to you by Apple– so it couldn’t POSSIBLY BE THAT you don’t LIKE us!?!?!?!?!!! Maybe you died so like, you don’t have Wifi access??? So, you know, like “come back to life” or whatever, and head to nearest free Wifi cafe so you can UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT PLZ!!”

That attitude sort of irked me.

 

Why I dislike social networks:

  • I’m a control freak. Ha, you didn’t see that one comin’, didjya?

    Regardless, it’s true in a loose sort of way. More specifically, I like to feel I have the control over my online privacy and what information I share with people I do not personally know.

    Sharing personal information on the internet is a risk, point blank. There’s identity theft, misrepresentation, predators and stalkers to be found online (and, in real life but stay with me here).

    The point is, I don’t walk around telling everyone I meet on the street, “my name is … & I live at … and here’s my phone number” but, social networks do reveal similar information, & to faceless, nameless strangers across the wilds of the internet, no less.

    Whether I’m posting what kind of cereal I had for breakfast or where I physically am today, it is still my life and my right to control who sees it . . . which leads to . . .

  •  

  • Poor information security/lack of locking options.
    Most social networks have some kind of a “friends lock” option, but urban legends abound about the bigger ones being hit by hackers and thieves. Yeah, if I were a hacker or thief, that’s where I’d go.

    Most networks baseline at friend/not-friend level and I like more preferences of content flow than that. Which leads to . . .

  •  

  • Bad layouts/styling.
    It’s a one-for-all-uniform look on a lot of social sites & okay, that’s probably for the benefit of the reader as you know 9-out-of-10 people would default their page background color to “tangerine orange”.

    But I’m just sayin, I find that uniformity as stifling and personally irritating as . . .

  •  

  • Written content limitations.
    I write. A LOT. I’m a WRITER (you may have heard), and to quote the genius who was my A, “content is a FRIGGIN BONUS that you get with me!”

    180 characters or less = offends my little white cotton socks! Who died and made that little text box my editor-in-chief? I could utilize 180 chars just to say a proper “hello, good morning” . . . &, that’s a lead-in for . . .

  •  

  • Does anyone else find this boring?
    Reason #1 I don’t social: it’s boring.

    If I’d rather be doing ANYTHING ELSE but reading a Facebook feed of pointless, non-interactive, not-connected, ad-banner-ridden, randomly-jumbled non-sequiturs of 27,000 different lives of SOME family, SOME friends and SOME acquaintances that I sorta-can’t-recall-where-I-know-you-from-but-you-look-vaguely-familiar.

    I have no chance of following any thread of “what’s going on”–generally, I login and I’m totally lost trying to follow the stream of consciousness because–well gee, there isn’t one!! It’s mass chaos, a million voices shouting over each other to be heard. It just doesn’t compute with me.

    So wait, why am I not doing something else, such as actually TALKING to the people I actually WANT TO? Yeah REAL COMMUNICATION– what I came looking for to begin with.

    Do I feel any inclination to add 180-severely-depleted-characters of “random news” to the non-sequitur jumble puzzle? In a word, NO.
    (Look, that only took 2 characters, though I feel a distinct urge to tack a “hell” on there somewhere.)

    I can find something better to do even if it’s cleaning my fridge.
    At the end of 20 minutes cleaning the fridge, I have . . . wait for it . . . a clean fridge!

    At the end of a social (so-called) “news feed”, I have a sense of lingering confusion or a headache and feeling I just threw 20 minutes of my life in the trash. Could have spent the time writing my book (or, cleaning the fridge even).

 
Flipside of the Coin:

Okay, social media is a “trend”. And trends don’t have to make sense to be followed by the universe at large—the old “if everyone were jumping off a cliff” principle.

On a personal level, I needn’t participate. That’s my choice.

But on a professional level I must participate, because social media, to its credit, is still the faster way to get news to a whole bunch of people across the planet all at one time. So, there is that.

There’s a flipside to that (social) coin I hadn’t considered but have found very helpful as I began growing as an author. Social accounts are great at giving something of an “instant snapshot” of your life & biography; who you are, what you’re about, how you live, what your background and history is. So my readers can tell within a blog post or two, if they like how I write

Plus, I’m far from exempt from fangirling when celebrities interact on social sites, and we’ve all done the “omgijusttweetedmyidol&hesaidmyname!” squees! And that kind of 1-on-1 interaction wasn’t possible until now.

Sure, maybe social media ain’t all negative. 😉

That to say, where C.J.’s private life &/or thoughts may be kept to herself or her journal. . . C.J.’s Books on the other hand should be (ha!) an “open book”. Socially-speaking, that is. 😉

Just don’t expect me to be first in line to jump over that cliff in my personal life as well. Oh look, I think the fridge needs cleaning.

 
What are your feelings on social media? Do you use it personally, professionally or both? Views on the pros or cons?

Just call me interested but I’d rather read comments than tweets! 😉

 

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