Peace. I was inspired to write this after engaging several people about their involvement with social media and its various outlets. I wanted to express my love and equal disdain of the phenomenon with equal balance. In fact, I may make this a topic with Inkognegro in the future for our Black Odd Couple show.
I’ve mulled over in my head the last few weeks how Social Media has transformed our lives for the better and worse. I can say with measurable hesitation that I while I embrace the varying mediums of communication offered via Social Media, I prefer the more organic ways of communication. I realize the irony of my criticism as you’re reading this on my blog. The fact I’m also going to use my Twitter account to further promote reading of this space challenges both my disdain for narcissism and supports my wish that we all have open lines of expression.
It’s the way of the world, they say. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Digg, etc. All of these spaces offer the expert and the neophyte places to express, share, inform, teach, critique, inspire and discuss. I do appreciate that aspect of information sharing and I definitely employ those means as often as possible. But I sometimes wonder if we’re too invested in this new, free and voluminous means of communicating. Of course, some reading this can say I’m over thinking it or it’s not that deep or whatever pro-Social Media contrarian words of defense one would like to levy upon me. That’s fine, but I’m still going to question it. I also know that this tiny rock I’m tossing at the gargantuan structure of Social Media will not derail its power or relevance. This is not my goal either.
In dating, Social Media bonds people/relationships and can sometimes destroy them. I know I’ve dated a heavy blogger for a long period on and off and people (to this day possibly) would read her blog(s) to find out more about her (or me and her) or just to be unnecessarily invasive. I barely read her blog and I wouldn’t read the blog of a woman I’m seeing, even casually. I tend to work from the standpoint if that I need to know something, I’m not going to peruse a person’s thoughts to find out what I need to know. Besides, people tend to get really raw and personal in their blogs. You can end up reading something you weren’t intended to witness or realize a person feels some way about you that you were unaware of. I say go to the source and have a real conversation. Then there’s FormSpring, the Internet’s hot new toy. It’s a simple data form where users are able to ask the owner of the page/form questions either under a log-in or anonymously. Some instances of FormSpring I’ve had the displeasure of witnessing displayed keyboard-inspired cowardice and childish behavior all in the name of LOLs. I have not joined yet and don’t know if I will. If you need to know something that bad, ask me and I will (most likely) tell you based on my determination if you need to know or not. Also, I do not use my space (or any other) to fire off subliminal messages to anyone who may read these pages. If I wanted to name names or instances, I would. I draw inspiration to write based on all aspects of my life, good or bad.
But I’m rambling, another downside to Social Media. How much is too much? Is it best to be dialed down or 3-d? When do you mute yourself? How much over sharing does one have to do? In an ideal world, all this “Internettin'” we do would be replaced with communal visits, large or small gatherings, nature hikes, phone calls, tea/coffee dates, long walk-n-talks — basically less reliance on computers and cell phone texts and email. As it stands (and I’m not exempt), I am just as guilty of doing the very things I wish to curb. However, I feel like this is my attempt to begin anew and try to go back to the older ways of relating. I don’t need or want to learn about your whole life via a blog or chat or text message. I shouldn’t have to hit send or enter to have a meaningful conversation with someone I want to know genuinely.
The question I pose, should you choose to answer it here or to self, is this: are we too connected to electronic means of communication or is this the way the paradigm shifted so we should willfully accept it? Is a desire to return to a simpler time a pipe dream?
P.S. I may follow up this entry to talk about the many music blogs and the writers who fancy themselves journalists when I feel that they’re little more than hacks with just a blip of writing talent.