Social Media: ERROR WITH CONNECTION

So I went to a writing conference yesterday and one of the things they stressed the most about success is community and social media marketing. What social media platforms should be doing for us is helping us network with people in our communities and especially our industries. I don’t know how important social media marketing and social media networking is on a global scale, but a lot of companies do it and a lot of companies spend a ton of time, money, and effort in personifying their business model. Some of the most successful people online right now are those who have individualized themselves through social media.

People are interested in connecting with other people. They always have been and they always will be. People wan vulnerability, individuality, and stories. This is why people like Pewdiepie, Philip DeFranco, Steven Crowder, and many others are so popular. Alex Jones has a huge audience, not necessarily because everyone who watches him gets behind what he says, but because he has a clear character and he’s unique.

I don’t think those are the only reasons someone is followed on social media or successful, but it is one of the most important things. No one cares about a depersonalized individual in stories, television, or even commercials. They want specifics. They want what they see to be real human and to show vulnerability… and this is where I think social media usage and social media networking gets very interesting…

Despite the ease we have nowadays to connect with other people, billions of other people sit in front of us, on a screen, and we can send a message across the world without putting in major effort. We can learn about someone else or something else by just moving our fingers a little bit. Yet rather than being brought together, it feels like generally… the internet pulls people apart.

Like I said, I spent the day out at a conference yesterday and it was incredibly interesting to not feel division among the crowd, to feel the human interaction, warmness, and excitement to talk to one another. However, you get online and there is none of that same energy and excitement. Instead, there’s a desire to dominate or a feeling of intimidation. At least I’ve felt this. I’ll look over my feed on facebook or twitter sometimes and I’ll feel insanely distant from these people I know I have so much in common with — because I don’t think most of us put the same kindness and compassion in our online personas as we do in real life. My personal feeds are filled with views that are completely opposite to mine–and not just that, but the sensationalized version of them. People I believe I have fine conversations with in person become hostile online when met with disagreement on the internet and in turn, this causes silence or distance among friends and family. A great example of this was a professor of mine from UT who came at me hard, insulting me because I didn’t dislike Trump irrationally with him, yet the next time I saw him 2-3 months later, he didn’t say anything but did ask me to take his photo for him very kindly.

I know I don’t go on my personal social media sites as often anymore because instead of making me feel more connected or giving me the opportunity to network and keep up with friends, family, colleagues, cohorts, and professionals in my business, I feel isolated from them in a way that doesn’t exist in the real world space.

I think there’s a problem with social media in that it sucks the humanity out of people. It doesn’t matter if you’re using facebook or twitter or even a dating app. No wonder it’s harder for people to find others they want to commit to–the internet doesn’t provide that human connection you can feel in person and so we feel no problem in dehumanizing and destroying people when they’re pixels on a page and words typed by someone who doesn’t have a human voice.

Social media has been weaponized to destroy people based on having the wrong beliefs. It will end friendships and family ties that wouldn’t have ended if cutting someone off wasn’t as simple as BLOCKED.

I think… it’s really important to get out there and talk to people in real life… Because otherwise I think we’re put at the risk of forgetting what real human connection is like and losing our ability to talk to people, period–at least in a civil manner.

After the conference I logged into my Youtube to check on a couple of the content creators I follow and I was informed there of some huge women’s march that took place in LA (and maybe in other places too?) and I had no idea, but these people are militant, they’re cutouts of a villain who think they’re doing well, and in so many cases, they feel like human versions of the eggs on Twitter. They don’t care much for anything but holding signs that fit in a 140 character limit, screaming, and doing something provocative to ‘make a point’.

This isn’t how the real world works…

So I guess what I’m trying to say is be kind and don’t forget to go outside and talk to people.

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