Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The 4 Vices of Social Media

I LOVE social media.  I find the technology fascinating and continue to be amazed by the ability to make proximity meaningless in building relationships and making news. However, even from a young age (and before the days of social as we know it) when I frequented chat forums, I was aware of the dangers of social networking.  I’m not here to tell you about all those terrible things you can see on Dateline or Catfish. Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the social media vices many are afraid to talk about, because they do it a lot themselves … myself included.

Self Righteousness
The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook really opened my eyes to this behavior on social media.  As with any tragedy lately, everyone seems to get super sensitive to what everyone else has to say. Suddenly, my feed starts filling up with social media “experts” grilling a company or person over its unknowingly less-than-tactful tweet (those who are deliberately impolite, trolling, not included). What made this case even more eye-opening for me was that a well-respected social media expert posted a tweet later that afternoon referencing his team shooting their eye out like in The Christmas Story. He quickly deleted it, apologized and admitted it was in poor taste (and that it wasn’t automated). He asked people to go ahead and rake him over the coals (as many are so quick to do to others in similar situations). Instead, the one reply I saw come through read, “it’s okay; it happens to the best of us.”

Ad-hominem attacks
With so much information literally at your fingertips, why must people fall back on attacking a person rather than their ideas? I’d say that the name calling is no better than the childhood playground, but on the playground the kid has the gall to say it to the other kid’s face.

Deliberately taking the “social” out of social networking. Along with this you get those who are only concerned about the numbers in their network. See #1 in 5 Reasons Social Media is Ruining Marketing.

Life isn't always fabulous, but we tend to lead people to believe that via social media. I believe this is what Jenna Wortham discusses in “Digital Diary: Facebook and the Tedium of Success Theater” and this mother describes in this Facebook post that went viral:

Would you like to fess up to any other social media vices? Admitting is the first step!

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