My last post was a 3-part series about transforming social media, so this topic has been at the forefront of my mind. Is that the frontal lobe place? Wherever. It’s in there, and the caffeine has access to it, ‘nuff said.
So with that, I want to share three other perspectives about social media. These three basically underscore my original impetus for writing that 3-part series: social media should just end.
The first article that you should read (after you finish mine, of course) is called Bring Back Web 1.0.
It is awesome.
The writing is very…inviting. I wanted to cozy up and listen to more. I almost skipped it; sure glad I didn’t. Read: don’t skip it. It may appeal to older folks like me due to nostalgia. But read it nonetheless and educate yourself a bit. (Then go watch “You’ve Got Mail” starring Tom Hanks.)
The second article is by author and blogger, Cheri Baker, who resides in Seattle (far different climate than my West Texas flavor). I somehow discovered her post last year, Can we make the internet fun again? The answer is…I’ll let you go read her post to find out!
Cheri’s article did that thing to me where your mind tingles like a struck tuning fork. (Sorry, my simile powers are feeling weak at the moment, like most moments.)
And now the third article, which I found via Cheri’s blog post (see, there’s that wonderful link-a-doodle thing again). It’s written in the New York Post by none other than Cal Newport, one of my internet idols. He’s a computer tech nerd-geek, like me, who never had a social media account, unlike me.
You see, I’m trying out micro.blog and have looked into the IndieWeb a lot. I like to think I’m tech savvy, but even some of that stuff intimidates me. But anyways, Cal in his article, Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us?, superbly lays out his thoughts on the matter.
The answer, this time I’ll say, is a qualified “Yes.” The IndyWeb can save social media, but not at the large scale of current social media. It’s smaller, more niche, and that is a strength if you ask me.
“Despite its advantages, however, I suspect that the IndieWeb will not succeed in replacing existing social-media platforms at their current scale.”
On top of that, more importantly, Cal says that most people by this point, wary of social media in general, just won’t be interested in any other new form of it. They will move on. Some already have!
“It may be, too, that people who are uneasy about social media aren’t looking for a better version of it but are instead ready to permanently reduce the role that smartphone screens play in their lives.”
That’s good! This is what I hope for and what I think is happening. People feel disenchanted by the big social networks. And rather than trying a new or different one, they likely won’t care to try at all. Who would blame them?
In my 3 part article, although I had set out to say social media should be eradicated, I ended up thinking it was unlikely that people would abandon social media. We’re all too addicted. It’s too sticky.
So I reasoned that since we’re likely stuck with social media, then it must be transformed into a far better version than what’s current. The IndyWeb-principled micro.blog and the like are potential alternatives.
But as Cal Newport wrote in the New Yorker, maybe people really are so disillusioned with social media that they’re willing to wean off their dopamine addiction. That means everyone can still surf the underlying open web outside the social media silos.
Just Say No To Drugs
Let’s take this back to blogs, because I’m still enchanted with them. Blogging, web 1.0, is still around. And like the linked article states, blogs only die off as much as bloggers allow themselves to get sucked into the pithy drivel of social media. I’m guilty of that!
I started to refocus on my blogging. I’ve socialmediadistanced. And now I’m about to do a hard thing. You see, I deleted the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp apps from my phone. And I’ve even deleted those services entirely before.
But the one I’ve always held onto is Twitter. So to go with my 30 day trial break-time from social media, I am now deleting the Twitter app from my phone! My daily dose of dopamine and snark is about to come to a screeching halt! I’m skeered.
Wish me luck.