- image courtesy of facebook.com
I began my journey into social networking to connect with people, to socialize, and to learn fun and new things! I have met so many wonderful people through Facebook, Twitter, and various other Social Media outlets, but lately it’s been making me feel more alone and more disconnected. I started to google “problems with social media” and a whole spring of articles appeared before my fingertips. I guess I wasn’t alone…
This post is not intended to convince you to quit Twitter or Facebook. I had some happy years on twitter and wouldn’t trade them for the world!
That being said, here are the key points I really connected with:
The Type: The Easy-Breezy New Mommy
Profile Picture: Her totes adorbs bundle of joy
Status: Everyone told me I was going to get zero sleep these first few months of parenthood, but little Matty is just so amazing and lets his Momma get eight solid hours every single night!
Translation: Lack of zzzs has made me delusional to the point that I really think this is true. Did I also mention that Little Matty was born potty-trained and bilingual? Yup-sir-ee!
**As a mom, I can totally relate to the mom envy and the kid bragging…sigh**
4. Strangers kind of suck (or, put nicely, the social hierarchy is really not that attractive)
Speaking of elitism, getting to know people is, frankly, a less attractive proposal than it first seems. Sure, business networking is valuable, and it’s great to have a lot of resources who might know someone who can help you with…something. But that argument gets a little thin when you’re suddenly bombarded with date offers or all-too-frequent postings about the unsavory or just plain uninteresting habits of the strangers you suddenly know. Moreover, social networking sites pretty quickly and inevitably degenerate into cliques. That’s normal, it happens on the blogosphere, and it’s not really even that deplorable. It’s just kind of tiresome on a daily basis. If you restrict your friends list to only the people you already know, well, then the boredom sets in. Why would you read their profiles over and over when you can just IM them, e-mail them, or meet at the baseball game?
**This is SO true!**
1. YOU FEEL YOU HAVE AN AUDIENCE
You don’t. Just because you tweet your innermost gems or what you had for breakfast it doesn’t mean that anyone actually read it, they may have been having breakfast themselves or cared.
Yes, you may have a thousand followers but the chances that anyone read what you tweeted is slim and because twitter can be such a distraction once you follow more than 100 people – how many people are turning off twitter whilst they get some work done?
Nobody is listening, even fewer people care.
2. YOU FEEL YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO DO
I like waking up and seeing what the people who have awoken slightly earlier than me have been up to. On days when I don’t have emails to plough through it even feels like “having something to do”…. just checking in! Anything that presents itself as a list often is masquerading as being “something that needs to be done” but it doesn’t need to be “done” at all.
Catching up on twitter is a substitute for not having enough interesting friends who email us, they are broadcasting trivia and you (and me) are lappin it up.
3. YOU FEEL YOU ARE CONNECTED
You are not. I too was amazed when, after following (THE) Stephen Fry, he followed me back. I felt honoured as I then watched my fellow tweeters attempt to engage him in fawning conversations about where to get a good espresso in Tanzania. Think about it, if you are following five thousand people, if each person only twittered you once a day that would be… a pain.
It feels like a two-way connection but it’s not.
4. YOU ARE META THINKING ABOUT META THINKING
There is the whole problem of thinking about what you are thinking about or not living a life but queuing up things you can twitter about later. This I worry about because it, from the outside at least, can look at best like depressive thinking or in some cases you can see someone disappearing up their own arse in fewer than 140 characters. I’m not sure how best to put this but to me, twitter feels inherently unhealthy.
5. ERIC THE HALF A CONVERSATION
I unfollow anyone who has 3 @follows in a row simply because it clearly shows that the person is so un-empathic that they can’t imagine that I don’t have the other person’s part of the conversation (and really don’t care) like when you listen to someone having a loud telephone conversation of the train, it’s not the loudness that’s the problem it’s the “having only half the conversation” that’s simply rude.
Blimey.. get a chatroom!
6. THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TWITTERING
Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and the gothic sex mad one that looks like Kenny Everett… Despite lots of celebrities hitting twitter, it is a great list of the really needy ones, poor old Stephen stalling bouts of depression with gadgets and cleverness, Jonthanan with his yo-yo-ing look-at-me weight problems and the gothic one with the hair. I love Stephen, Wossy and Thingy but as people we tend to forget how fucked up they are, which might just be why they’ve taken to twitter with such enthusiasm. Next week it’ll be chilli-and-chocolate collonic irigation or some such.
p.s Of course I’m not
fucked up, I’m simply using twitter as part of the research in my job. Ahem.
7. PEOPLE HAVE STARTED USING IT REALLY BADLY
You know the types, woeful self-promoters trying to rack up a few thousand followers so they can sell you something. Marketers like these kind of broke blogging. All technologies seem to have a trajectory that starts goes “1. cutting edge”, “2. hard to explain but valuable and promising”, “3. Popular and attracting marketers”, “4. Old hat and disappointing that it didn’t live up to expectation”, “5. Useless and on telly”.
8. TWITTER HAS A FATAL FLAW
The fact that one’s followers are explicit is bonkers. One of my clients had a crazy idea – to simply follow all his competitors followers. He made a heap of additional sales that day. Is being able to see, and contact, someone’s followers a fatal flaw in Twitter? I don’t know but it is definitely exploitable.
9. THE CONTENT ITSELF
Whilst what I had for breakfast (porridge with blueberries and honey) doesn’t make a blog post, it warrants a tweet or maybe two if you inlcude washing up. And to be frank, like other people’s dreams, it’s as boring as hell… even with blueberries in it.
10. THE DEATH OF OPPORTUNITY
Stephen Fry doesn’t give good tweet. What he had for breakfast is about as interesting as what I had. It just happens that “Stephen Fry” just “is” Stephen Fry. And I don’t like this. The hey-day of blogging held up the promise that, maybe, anyone could make it and become A-list. If your blog posts were “good enough” you would be the one interviewed on telly about what you had for breakfast. All the followers that Stephen Fry has are because he’s a celebrity. It seems like a tiresome retreat to the old guard somehow and in my tweetstream at least there seems to be a goldrush-like race to unfollow Stephen Fry (and tweet about why you are doing it to boot).
11. THE TOOLS OFTEN DON’T WORK
Not only does twitter break quite a lot (although it has been remarkably stable lately), the tools built on top of twitter break even more and the tools that you use to interact with twitter (Twitterific, TweetDeck, Thwirl) are also a pile of poo that regularly breaks. I’m amazed at how strong the need to “have an audience” and “feeling like you have something to do” is that people are happy to put up with something so flaky. The strength of those needs worries me.
Having said all that, I’m far from being a twitter humbugger, I love the mobile integration (on the iphone) the almost right now immediacy, the austere simplicity of 140 characters, tweetpics and being able to GEO locate your tweets to say “I am here”. I worry about twitter.com’s seeming lack of concern about lack of income because I’m really going to miss twitter once they’ve burned their way through the latest raft of funding.
So, there you have it, eleven reasons twitter might be bad for you. For the twelfth, follow me on Twitter… only kidding…
**This article really speaks to me.**
So, if you are one of the many people plugged in to many different social media outlets and starting to fray, you ARE NOT ALONE! I’ve spoke with many ppl that simply visit the sites less frequently, to ppl that have unplugged altogether and have come back at a better time in their lives, and have spoken to some ppl that have deleted their accounts altogether. I deleted my Twitter account and it feels good! No more checking the iPhone for status updates!!! Hooray!
Best of luck to you on your social media journey!