I found myself thinking about the “drive by” nature of social media earlier. It’s all, seemingly, about the number of friends we have on there and the likes our posts get. It’s a numbers game, and one thing I’ve learned over the years is to be highly suspicious of a numbers game.
As I say, it’s drive by. We accumulate likes and make connections, but what are these worth? A like is a quick click, but how long did someone read what was posted; how much consideration was given? In short, what quality does that like actually have? I find myself wondering what the culture of quick likes means for public discourse; I find myself worried.
The shallowness of the friendships on social networks is well mentioned, I won’t comment further there. But thinking differently, it’s an audience. So our whole social network is about playing to an audience. As I pointed out last time, the only things that get posted are very carefully selected highlights. Yes, here’s the post of everyone smiling and raising their glasses to the camera. Where’s the post of the drunken vomit? Where’s the shot of the pathetic drunk cuddling the toilet at 2am? It’s a fake view, held in front of an audience that might well find themselves doubting their own worth as a result. Again ask the question; where is the quality?
For me, the quality is in fewer connections but better ones. Actual discussions and conversations, not ephemeral likes. Social networking has its place, and in my eyes its power should be treated more carefully than it is.