Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Passivity and social media

I've noticed a trend recently of people abandoning social media. It starts with taking a "vacation" from Facebook, dissing Google+, and leads to a deletion of Twitter and Facebook accounts.


In the past month a few people have announced their intention of not using Facebook anymore. Reasons why vary from being sick of status updates that detail the minutia of someone's day, to it not fulfilling a need to connect, to just being a time sucker.

One particular person I only connect with on Facebook, and I really enjoy her updates, photos, and comments on my photos. But she left a forwarding email address and blog site, so I'll have to be more proactive in finding out what she is up to.

Then I realized, that is the problem with Facebook: it's passive. Feed me more updates! What? No one has posted since 1 AM? Where is everyone? Not that I'm going to search right now. I'll just play some games while I wait. And the people appearing in my feed are interesting, but I find myself connecting with them only because they are showing up. Some people who don't post every week may as well have fallen off the face of the earth. If I don't see it in my timeline, it's not there.

The same goes for Twitter. I can just log on and read updates, many of which are repeats of Facebook postings. But I still log on, even though I'm not sure why. I have random twitter people following me @Rt95Chevorlet why do you follow me? I'm pretty sure you are a car dealership. The last car I bought was a used 2002 VW in 2003.

Social media does pander to its audience, but I feel like I can't even change the channel.

That isn't to say there aren't good days. Just yesterday I participated in a 41 comment post on Facebook about swimming, zombies, bikinis, and cats with string. But that creative spark isn't always showing.

So is it any question as to why people are leaving? They are bored. The only way to change the channel is to turn off the set.

In thinking about this topic, I remember a few years ago how people were talking about the rise of the global community and how we were all going to be able to learn from each other no matter our nationality, culture, gender, etc. The worry was that our local, "real" [read: non virtual] communities would go undeveloped. Neighbors shutting out neighbors.

A young lady I tutor said that she deleted her account after taking a break last fall. She felt free. She found other things to focus on in the real world. I have to admit, when I'm not online for a chunk of time, my frontal lobe relaxes. At night now I make an effort to not be on the computer (or tv, or phone, or xbox) and take care of myself and family's needs.

As a matter of fact, since I began limiting my social media time to office hours, we've been eating dinner at the dinner table. Which is now cleaned off because I'm not checking email every 15 seconds. I wouldn't say it's changed my entire way of being, but it's given me the 30 minutes I need at night to get stuff done.

Personally, I love Facebook and have found it easier to communicate with family, actual neighbors in my community (I hate phone conversations except with 1 or 2 people), and to stalk people. Don't laugh, you know you've done it. But I am posting less and less. And I don't think it's to be secretive about my glamorous life. The passivity is now overtaking me. I'm a lurker, wanting to be entertained.

So, I put it out there to you...why are you laying off the social media?

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