A note about today’s post and subsequent ones. Back in November a writers’ page I follow online posted a photo containing a 30-Day Writing Challenge. I liked the idea of comitting to such a challenge and saved the photo to inspire future posts. Lately I’ve been in a state of reflection about Diminutive Diva, trying to determine what directon the blog will take and how much of my thoughts I want to continue to share with others. It is a ongoing process. In the meantime, however, I will devote myself to writing one post per day based on the prompts given above. I hope you enjoy.~DM
30-Day Writing Challenge Day One: Five Problems with Social Media
The advent of social media is a blessing and a curse. While browsing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram I am frequently grateful for the ability to connect with such a diverse array of minds from varying experiences. But this comes with a down side, and in today’s post I discuss five trends on social media that bother me.
1)Facts? Who Needs Facts?
Social media allows us all to express our opinion on any issue to a global audience. This opportunity is one which is unprecedented in history, and one that generates much zeal to get our words out. However in the eagerness to share opinions we are forgetting the value of having an opinion that is actually informed by facts and data. It is frightening to see the number of adults who equate passion with knowledge. This is particularly worrisome when it comes to hot button topics such as politics, race and religion. Heavy issues deserve a more thorough and nuanced treatment, but in a world where we are fixated on speaking our mind this is often neglected.
2)“On To the Next One”
We have all witnessed it happen. A controversial story begins to trend. Next thing you know your entire friends list is pulling out the soapbox lest they feel left out.We see others piling on to trumpet their views and suddenly feel moved to do the same. But within three to seven days all is forgotten, and the masses have moved on to the next case of manufactured outrage. I can call it like this because I’ve frequently indulged in such behavior in the past.
3)“Blurred Lines”-The Lack of Distinction between our Public and Private Lives
For those who are growing up in the age of social media a world where the most intimate details are widely shared is all they know. Sharing your government name, birthdate, location, family relationships, romantic relationships and personal pictures on social media is so normalized that even Generation Xers like me play along. But a comment I heard on a podcast last summer made me rethink this. The individual pointed out that in the late 1980s NO ONE would have considered giving strangers access to so much of their personal lives and pictures. As a 80s Baby that resonated with me, and I began to limit how much of myself and my life I chose to provide access to on social media. I understand that the issue of what is shared online is one which every person must negotiate for his or herself. With that said I do feel that placing a higher value on privacy can reduce part of the drama and messiness that comes with social media.
4 )Wasted Time
One of my dreams in life is to write a book, a memoir of my life being raised by my maternal Grandma. Often I have told myself that my failure to do so is due to a lack of time to write. However when I ruminated on my social media use in 2015 I faced the galling realization that I already have written the equivalent of a book! Were the words I’ve devoted to the verbose missives of my status updates and ardent response in debates to be cut and pasted into a Word document they would surely be enough to publish. I have taken the necessary steps to cut back and be more productive in how I use my time. But the awareness of how much of my time and writing talent I’ve wasted ranting and debating with people on FB and Twitter still leaves an acrid taste on my lips. Perhaps you were sucked into a different kind of social media quagmire. My poison was debates; maybe yours is playing games, scrolling your timeline endlessly or
stalking viewing pictures and profiles. Whatever the case may be ask yourself this question: what else could you be doing in that moment that could improve your life?
5) The Illusion
It’s quite easy to ‘fake the funk’ and pretend to be someone else on social media. One of my favorite bloggers, Trini Trent, addressed this in a podcast last summer that I highly recommend giving a listen to. Though the segment is titled “Your Instagram Is a Liar”, certain aspects apply to other social media sites as well. Some strive to shape an image of themselves and their current circumstances which bears no resemblance to their existence. In my opinion the only thing sadder than those putting on the show are those who are watch and are overcome with bitterness at the illusion, unaware that what they covet is just a carefully crafted lie.
That sums up my take on five problems with social media. How do you feel about the topic? Do you agree with my list, or would you add/remove anything? Feel free to sound off in the comments, and stay tuned for my next post in the 30 Day Writing Challenge!