The Social Media Reflex

By | 27/08/2019

This morning I uninstalled Facebook and Twitter because most of the tweets I saw were people complaining about things or posts that would fit perfectly as blog posts on a website. We have moved towards the Social Media reflex, rather than towards an open sharing habit.

Before social media, we would have conversations on web forums and within comments on websites. As social media centralised all of those conversations so the engagement between people declined. With that decline of conversations so we shift towards two things. The first of these is complaining, rather than engaging. When you complain there is no expectation of a response so the personal investment is low. Add to this that algorithms are designed to promote posts that have a lot of engagement and you have a perfect storm of pessimism.

That pessimism has no positive outcome and it is for this reason that I removed the two apps from my phone. Twitter and Facebook will probably make their way back on to my phone within days or weeks but I’d like to resist and see what change occurs.

I have kept Instagram and Whatsapp. Both of these apps, although part of FB help us keep connected with people we still see in the physical world. I also love to walk around and take pictures to share to Instagram before reusing the same images for blog posts once I have time to write a proper blog post.

We need to take back the time we invested on Social media, and reuse it for productive pursuits as we did before Twitter and Facebook post-2007. Twitter and Facebook were productive when they were just websites, rather than profitable.

Blogging, as a challenge

I like to see blogging as a daily challenge. The challenge is to find inspiration to write at least three hundred words on a topic every day when possible, and after every adventure when not possible. We improve our writing and creative skills. We go from a blank page to remembering what we did, as well as developing our ideas from 140 characters to three hundred or more words. The result is something that others can read. When it’s about hiking, Via Ferrata, climbing, travel or other topics it may even inspire them to follow and try the same thing.

Another part of this challenge is to write half a paragraph or two and run out of inspiration, think for a few minutes, walk around, put some batteries to charge and then coming back with more. Whereas a tweet or facebook post is a single thought shared within seconds a blog post is a cohesive collection of thoughts that join together to form a blog post. Every blog post is an intellectual journey.

Sustained positivity

Aside from finding inspiration for blog posts another challenge is to try to keep them either positive or neutral. If you write a negative blog post you are not anonymous and it is sustained for a few paragraphs. If you write a positive blog post and sustain that for a few paragraphs. The reader and the writer have gained something.

Something Worth sharing

Blogging is about creating something that is worth sharing. It isn’t about filling time like Facebook or Twitter. It is about thought, inspiration and experiences. It’s about having something positive to share. Whereas some people want to write a thread I do more than that. I leave the stream of constant interruptions and I focus on just one thing, until it’s done, or I run out of inspiration. I wish that the same people who write twitter threads would write blog posts instead.

To write a blog post is to invest your time in an activity that may get no response, or if it does get a response it maybe years later. This doesn’t matter. We read entire books without leaving a response for the writer, except the money we spent to buy the book. Social media has tricked people into believing that without a response, whether a like, a favourite, a comment, or a share they are being ignored. “I’m not writing a blog post because no one will read it, that’s why I write a thread of tweets”.

The time that you spend writing a blog post is the time that you have invested in a finished product. There has been less “mindless scrolling”, fewer interruptions and best of all you have something tangible to show. “Yes, I did spend an hour writing this blog post, but I did something productive with my time”.

Compare that to this article in the Guardian. ;-). I haven’t uninstalled the apps because I’m worried about the time I spend on social media. I uninstalled the apps because the Return on Investment (ROI), as a user, is almost zero.

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