Sometimes we have to ask whether or not to tweet. We have to ask this question because social media is seen by many, in common culture, as an addiction. Everything that is perceived negatively by society suffers, whether justifiably or not. The same is true of cyclists.
In Switzerland there is an ad campaign that says that cyclists are responsible for half of accidents involving them. The truth is that sixty eight percent of accidents involving cyclists are caused by cars. That’s two thirds of accidents. This means that without cars, cyclists would have one third of the current number of accidents. The discourse needs to change, to favour cyclists, not to vilify them.
The same is true of social media. Since the 90s people have said the world wide web is bad, social networks are bad, you don’t know who you’re talking to and more. In the end advertisers and investors seem to be the greatest danger that web users face. Social networks are made, or broken, by the people who take control, and take a conversational social network, into a revenue stream flooded with adverts. YouTube and Instagram are prime examples of this. Facebook is another.
The problem with social media websites is that they see advertisers as the clients, rather than users. Instagram was a nice social network, until Facebook bought it. It was usable until ads were added after every fourth post. I then left. The community went from friends sharing with friends to strangers sharing with strangers for memes. The personal aspect was destroyed.
People like to ask questions like “Are drugs worse, or FaceBook, and although it may seem like innocent fun it isn’t. There is a cultural expectation that social media is bad, so people do not invest themselves as they would, if not for the negative perception.
We are in the middle of a pandemic that we know is airborne. We know that masks, hepa filters, air flow and open windows are open. Despite this we do not stigmatise people for not doing everything they know will minimise risk, to socialise. If you’re an extrovert during a pandemic, risking infection every weekend, no one questions it.
If you’re an introvert on social networks the question “am I an addict” is repeated over and over.
I could go on, but at the end of the day Social media, and social networks, should be about like minded people connecting to have conversations online, before meeting in person and doing sports, working on projects or more. The race to followers and likes, completely nullifies the appeal of personal conversations that lead to long-lasting friendships. It is a shame. I have been discussing this for decades now.