It all started a few weeks ago – when I was working on-site, and spent the week of evenings away meddling with server installs, databases, and migrations of old blog posts – rather than hanging out at any of the “social” platforms on the internet. Around the same time I wiped my phone, and thought it might be interesting not to re-install a lot of supposedly social platform apps that had become a mainstay in recent years.
You’re probably wondering why I might cut myself off from so much, so quickly. I guess the primary reason is the realisation that for most people “social” really means “look at me”, and I’m not really interested in that. In my mind social is “hi, how are you”, followed by “oh, I’m good – how about you?”, and then a conversation happens. An awful lot of the supposedly social internet seems to be “look at me doing this”, and then after you reply, another post with “look at me doing this too”.
I suppose my mistake is really presuming that others are even out there for the purpose of making friends in the first place. Maybe it is just about attention for a lot of people, and they are quite happy with that. I’m sitting on my own fence now, aren’t I – providing counter arguments for my own annoyances. Of course there are no rules about how social platforms should be used – people should be able to use them in any way they see fit.
In the past I have referenced my involvement with Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook against the Lester Bangs line from Almost Famous – “They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool”. I think there’s a lot of truth in it for me.
Here’s the crazy thing – I can pour my heart and soul into a written post on any of the popular platforms, and it will receive little or no attention. I can post my grinning face, taken at just the right angle, with favorable lighting, and filtered to such an extend that it might not even be me, and it will immediately receive a deluge of stars, likes, hearts, or whatever else. Have we really all become so superficial?
Another contributing factor in my absence from the various social platforms in recent weeks has been time. I have a full time job – as does my other half. We have three children, who each represent significant draws on our time each day. To be honest I’m surprised I find time to write any blog posts, let alone read others words, look at their photos, or whatever else. I often fall through the gaps and vanish for several days. I have noticed several times that very few people ask after me when I dissappear, and I’ve become strangely used to that.
I guess that’s why I’m not particularly horrified about the thought of not involving myself in so many things online. Yes, I will miss some of the people I have come to know, and will try to look in on them from time to time, but given the vast majority don’t reciprocate kind of makes walking away easier, if that makes any sense.