Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What We Leave Behind

Outside of the social media world there is a lot of love. I have my community circles that I live in outside of the world of social media, and they are some of the best people that I have ever known. When you get to know people, really know them, you discover more than just a voice. You can get a sense of a person’s honor and personality that you cannot get static posts on social media. A lot of this has to do with live interaction.

I have a feeling that the biggest problem social media has is there is no live interaction. Everything you post it is like crumpling up a piece of paper and tossing it into a wastebasket. Tweets and Facebook posts are literally left over interactions. They have already been said, and inherently they are a statement of fact more than they are a form of live speech. With live speech you must listen, and you must judge someone else’s mood. You’re constantly going back and forth, and you can get a sense of someone else just by the pauses in replies.

I am typically a quick wit when it comes to online chat and people know that about me. Nowhere on social media would you ever know that about me because nobody really interacts with me. All of my posts on social media are just left behind thoughts, never really meant to be engaged with again beyond a simple statement of fact of what I believe. I am beginning to think that non-interactive social media is a dead medium of conversation.

And if all your social media posts are left behind ideas, they are inherently more combative and defensive than live chat. Whenever I post on social media my first thought is, I need to layer this idea in several layers of armor in order to protect this spot and to justify it. Yes it makes me more careful, but it inherently makes my words a bit more combative and defensive in nature. You go to a medium of limited length conversation, like Twitter, and there’s no difference between that and a digital battleground where people are using words to snipe at each other, and posts en masse to assault each other like some sort of primitive World War I battlefield.

Without live interaction you never get to know anyone.

Most of my interaction these days is done on my Discord server, where I can post little funny things, tell people how my day is going, share how I feel, and generally get to know people beyond the cold dead static posts that I share on Facebook or Twitter. I feel much more in community on Discord then I do anywhere else on social media.

I’m beginning to wonder if social media in its current form can survive. Even when you get to image-based conversations, such as Vine or Instagram you take the words out of the equation and you are left with pictures. With text, and no speech, I wonder if the natural inclination towards interactions isn’t somehow inherently biased towards conflict and confrontation. You post something, and it is more an invitation for people to attack you that it is an invitation for people to engage with you.

Just because people can.

With live conversations, you can readily identify the troublemakers and rabble-rousers easily. They stand out in a medium where the back-and-forth is a living, real-time thing. They can be kicked from the chat, and their tolerance for being in a peaceful and tolerant place is very low. A troublemaker has a natural inclination towards troublemaking, and it is rare to see one with a patience to engage of the community for more than a couple weeks before that inclination manifests itself and the community sees this person for who they really are.

With just text, I like to assume everyone is a good person. That assumption is often very wrong.

It is something I do not see a lot of in discussions nowadays, because I guess this sort of talk about social media isn’t click bait enough to earn a lot of money through outrage. No one can really sit down and discuss anything without tossing a flaming bag of poop into the conversation. Although I do wonder why the big social media companies are really having this discussion with their users. Or are they so stuck in the past they will become another MySpace or AOL, and the medium they use for their users to communicate becomes obsolete.

I get a lot more engagement and satisfaction from a live chat window with a smaller amount of people, then I do with Facebook or Twitter with tens of thousands of followers. That one platform means more to my life than the platforms with billions of users.

I suppose I can boil it down to one common feeling, quality over quantity.

No comments:

Post a Comment