This post in a way is a follow up to the last about the camping trip I went on. Those posts focused on my decision to disconnect from social media, email, etc during the time I was at the camp site. During this time I did have my phone and on occasion I would check the time or weather. When I did I would see the number of each little red circle telling me I had notifications. These little red circles calling to me to look, interact and possibly be consumed for 20 minutes in some debate over politics or something.
I abstained, but it caused me to think.
Why do we do this? Why do people get so involved in social media and the internet?
I can remember when I thought the word “twitter” seemed somewhat dirty. I did not want to jump on. Now I use it constantly. This past year I was told of this new social media app that would let you record yourself doing whatever in real time for others to follow. My friend was so excited about it and I kept saying I did not understand why someone would want to do that. Now I have both Periscope and meerkat on my phone. Some periscoping happened while camping to be honest.
Why? Why this desire to be seen? To be known?
There are people that have made youtube a career. Famous for short videos of comedy, ranting, how to’s and other categories put out there for the world to see. Now in 2016 youtube is still a power, but it is being overshadowed. Fame is promised every day by new social media forms.
What are we creating in this culture? What will we do to be that star?
I am not claiming to be any better or different. I have looked into the research on when to best tweet, post on Facebook, etc. I want my content to get as many views, shares, likes, follows etc as it can. I use social media for my business working with bands and art events to help promote and grow. I am part of this machine. I am even currently working on creating my “online brand” with new website to be the hub for this blog and other projects. I in no way can claim to not be part of the social media machine.
What I hope is that I use social media and the internet as a tool and not it using me. I hope I can turn off and disconnect at any time. I do not want it to become such a focus it distracts me from community, love, etc.
I worry our culture is doing just that.
What will we do to be known? Do we want to be famous?
While this song by The Smiths was written years before the social media boom it speaks to where we are and or may be going. Give a listen to “Frankly Mr. Shankly”.
Frankly, Mr Shankly, I’m a sickening wreck
I’ve got the 21st century breathing down my neck
I must move fast, you understand me
I want to go down in celluloid history Mr Shankly
Fame, fame, fatal fame
It can play hideous tricks on the brain
But still I rather be famous
Than righteous or holy, any day, any day, any day
Just as the song tells of the want to be famous and the struggle it can create, I think our culture of being seen, followed, liked and shared on the net can bring the same life.
What would you rather be?
Famous or righteous?
Followed or friend?
Social media and the internet can be a great thing. We can use it for connecting, marketing, learning, etc… It can also become a distraction and a master if we let it. While I hope to use it to grow my business and create an online brand I do not want it to take over my life.
Let this all be a part of your life, but only a part.
Like The Smiths say in the above song “I want to live and I want to love.”
With all of that said let me add as a side note to be on the lookout for the new website and online brand I speak of. Should be launched soon and then this blog will be moved to that location.