The Allure of Social Media

January 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm (Uncategorized)

First post of the year.

I’ll be honest, I’m not much for social media. Sure, I’ve run this blog for a while, but beyond that…I had a Face Book account for a while, but I almost never updated it and had no friends. My reasoning was that there was probably a reason I was no longer friends with people I went to high school with.  Occasionally I used the account to enter contests, or to promote an article or review I written here, but it never really grabbed me. After a year or so, I deleted it.

I do have a Linked-in account though (the boring business version of Face Book). A few years back,  I ran into an old girlfriend from university  at a show. We talked, exchanged email addresses (followed one a single ‘how are you doing’ email), but a few days later, I received a request to add her to my Linked-in network. The novelty of it intrigued me, so I created an account. It’s pretty much dormant though I do update it now and then. What is interesting is the “are you friends with” suggestions. Man, some people use inappropriate pictures – this is a business site after all! A guy I was friends with as a teenager in England did look at my page a while back, so I checked his. He’s a cop now.

In November, my old cell phone died. The screen went black. It was eight years old, and it had a good life. So, I upgraded to a smart phone.  the new phone came with a bunch of fun things including Twitter. After some hesitation i activated that account. Initially, I just  followed celebrities I liked (and then unfollowed just as quickly), but after a while, I began to tweet:  Observations, announcements, pictures, re-tweets. Nothing profound, and to a very limited audience. Still, when you click on the app. and “See new Tweets” pops up, it’s exciting. There’s a thrill when someone retweets you, likes your tweet or follows you, along with a sense of disappointment when someone unfollows. Terrifying.

I’m not on instagram or snapchat and it seems unlikely that I will join. Still, here’s a thing. A friend of mine was able to track down a person who works in a store within minutes just by using social media discovering all sorts of details about their life. suddenly the warm and fuzzy aspect takes on a potentially sinister side. Especially when you hear the stories of cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying courtesy of some of the loathsome trolls on the net.  When I was in school, bullies could be avoided by careful strategies and simply by going home. Social media means that the bullies can follow you home.

A few years back, a friend of mine was convinced that the next waves of struggles could be coordinated by social media and was very much enamored by the flash mob phenomenon. Well, the allure faded. But maybe, we can use the master’s tools. And not just to continue a streak.



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