The Philosophy of Social Networking Pt1Posted: July 9, 2010 | |
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine posted the following Facebook status…
“I hate you Facebook, you offer so much but deliver so little, when will you learn Facebook, no-one likes you, they’re just using you.”
I think there’s a lot of truth in those words. The first section in paticular grabbed my attention. “You offer so much but deliver so little.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, Flickr etc) has been lying to us.
What is the lie that social media tells us? What does it claim to offer but fail to deliver? There’s probably lots of little lies. But THE lie is this: “You are important, you are significant, and I [social media] can make people realise that.”
Before you all stop reading, let me explain what I mean. Social media is built on the individual. You can claim it creates ‘community’ and ‘networking’, but really that’s just one of the offers Facebook (and others) fail to deliver on. Social media has yet to prove it can create anything like a meaningful community.
Because social media is about me, it plays on my pride and screams ‘you are important, so go ahead and promote yourself’. Social media is not about other people. It’s all about me. It plays on my pride.
Proving the Point
Or what about use of pictures? We don’t post bad pictures of ourselves. We un-tag ourselves from embarrasing photos. We select the picture we are most proud of for our profile pictures. We use pictures to promote ourselves.
What about the Facebook biography? You don’t write about your bad habits, mistakes or failures. You say how wonderful you are. When was the last time one of your friends blogged something negative about themseves? Blogging isn’t about being honest. It’s about promoting yourself.
How do you promote yourself? You put up all the pictures from your holiday to make your friends jealous, you post overly emotional statuses in the hope that someone will comment and give you all that attention that “you so deserve”. (Again social media plays on pride). Or perhaps it’s as simple as falling into that age old trap of popularity.
It’s true, we all know some people fall into the trap of judging their own self-importance on how many Facebook friends, or followers [Twitter] they have. It’s easy to feel sorry for such people. But examine yourself. Can I honestly say my confidence and self esteem wouldn’t take a knock if a couple of hundred Facebook friends deleted me overnight?
Deep down we all know the truth. The truth is we are each important, significant and valued beyond our mere appearence, background and experiences. Our true friends value us regardless of what appears on our profile page. There’s no need to be full of pride and seek to constantly promote ourselves online or offline.
Don’t believe the lie.
***I realise this post has been very critical of social media. But before you delete your facebook page and live in seclusion from the world…I’d like to point out social media has many benefits. Future blog posts on the subject will most likely be much more positive. The aim has been to create a debate. I welcome your comments…