Thoughts on Social Media (in 2017)

(My last few posts on here have been tangentially related to some of the older posts I wrote on twentyeleven. This was mostly coincidental, but I like the idea of revisiting topics from the old blog and updating them. Today, I’m sharing my ideas about social media, a topic I discussed in this post back in 2011.)

Social media has become a more toxic environment since 2011. The 2016 election exposed a lot of division in the US, bringing with it a lot of anger, vitriol, and bitterness. Recognizing that Facebook and Twitter have become cesspools of angry political debates might be one of the few things the divided factions can all agree on. The places we used to sign on to connect with others have now become places of division and segregation. Filters allow users to maintain a feed of agreeable posts, so they’re not confronted with ideas that might challenge their point of view.

I rarely go on Facebook anymore because it has become such a landfill. Beyond the rage over political differences, it’s difficult to navigate through the trash heap of memes, Buzzfeed videos, and clickbait articles to find the original posts that my friends have made. Facebook isn’t about connecting with friends and their lives anymore– it’s about bouncing around shitty memes, “insightful” news articles, and “motivational” Gary Vaynerchuk videos.

Perhaps I’m jaded. I’m open to that possibility. However, I can also recognize when something has outlived its useful lifespan. The value of a Facebook account is no longer recognizable to me. Beyond having a profile to maintain some sort of social norm, why do we continue to use Facebook?

The other social media networks aren’t much better. They’re all vacuuming up our personal data, adding slashes to the death of privacy by a thousand cuts. What value do we get from them?

As we march triumphantly into 2018, I encourage you to pause and reflect on the value you receive from the entire lot of the social media platforms you use on a regular basis. Do you feel happy when you’re checking your various feeds? Do you feel that you’re using your time wisely when you use these sites? Are you actively making and/or maintaining valued relationships with other people through these platforms? I’m not chastising anyone for using social media– I just think we should actively examine what we’re getting from these various platforms.

Thanks for reading today’s post. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section. I’ll have another post on here by next Monday.

-Will

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