Approaching Overload

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Do you ever feel the online world is becoming overloaded? Thoughts have been rattling around my admittedly tiny little brain for the last few months – that too many social platforms are now thought of as essential in some way or another, and that their content has become either insidious, irrelevant, or toxic.

Facebook seems to have become the place to either complain about anything and everything, or to see how high you can piss compared to your peers. No photo is worth sharing in the Facebook universe unless it’s of your crashed car, your broken body part, or your children skiing in the French Alps.

Twitter has become a political bating arena, where the vocal majority bash everything that comes out of any politician’s mouth at every opportunity. The most outspoken have all the time in the world to write pithy tweets, but no time at all to actually do anything positive, or to affect change.

Instagram remains a bastion of hope in the social cesspool, if only because so many people share little square photos of food they are about to eat, drinks they are about to pour into their mouth, or heavily filtered photos of themself and their friends pulling duck face. At least it’s largely original, harmless, and somewhat candid (well… apart from the fitspo crowd).

WordPress, Blogger, Medium, and Squarespace continue to host the written word of a diminshing band of brave writers (I’m biased – can you tell?). WordPress has all but won the published internet, making you wonder why the competition still bother at all. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy foresaw the darker side of blogging though – with Vogon Poetry being used as a weapon. If updated now, I’m sure the guide would list a number of WordPress poetry blogs as far more damaging than anything the Vogons came up with.

Tumblr continues to be a law unto itself. Despite being by far the worst engineered, most unreliable, and least feature rich social platform on the internet at the time of writing, people persist with it – largely because they don’t want to lose touch with each other. It’s probably worth mentioning that when I say “people” I mean a tiny minority, surrounded by millions of teenagers and robots reblogging each others reblogs in an incestuous orgy of recursive regurgitation.

Snapchat has been taken on by an entire generation of teens and twenty somethings that have no idea how badly designed and built it is. They typically use it over other platforms simply because their parents do not.

WhatsApp has become a living hell, with groups of parents banding together around children’s sports teams to flatten phone batteries while arranging team fixtures, searching for lost kit, and ferrying children here, there and everywhere.

We cannot forget the mighty YouTube, which is single handedly ripping television as we know it to pieces. Instead of arranging saturday mornings around a stead stream of cartoons, children can not only watch any ripped off cartoon they care to search for, but also find out how to apply makeup, how to burn their hair off, and how to break every bone in their body attempting “epic fails”.

Somehow we are all supposed to invest time in a number of these platforms – seeking out content posted by those we know, those we might like to know, and those we had no clue were following us. Creepy. We’re supposed to like, comment, heart, smile, frown, and express amusement, solidarity, horror, and understanding. We’re supposed to share as much as possible, but not share anything about this, or that, and definitely not THAT.

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