6 Sep 2014

Social Media messes up the narrative and can be a parasite(A broadside at social media)


The matter with social media, the variety that is highly restrictive on the number of words that you can convey, is a hindrance upon expression which curbs the necessary length required to put across a message that is faithful to the original intent/context. Say too little and its full impact is lost.

The variety which restricts and expects messages to be compartmentalised into one picture frame also compromises the context and impact of the original intent. One picture may not necessarily tell the full story.

On both counts above, it is the disruption of the narrative. The form that builds on start, middle and an end with all its elements like premise, suspense, climax and outcome contained within. Social media that restricts rather than encourages expression and communication subverts the subject matter.
The audience receives only aspects of the full story and not its gist. Even the progression of the narrative is disrupted.

Not everyone has a short attention span. People have the capacity to maintain attention and interest. Even elaborations.

Social media is fragmented. Its users have to clamour and grapple with different platforms to put across the same message from the official channel which may be from the official website and/or weblog. This causes additional workload on its users.

Official channels which are unrestrictive such as a weblog and/or website allow full length elaboration and highlights. Is it not easier to have a mailing list and send periodic updates to your established base of interested persons?  Does it not make sense to encourage people to bookmark the website or weblog page and have them return time and time again? Why should work be repeated unnecessarily?
Why go through so many channels in saying the same thing?

Often, social media postings refer to the source and the links point back to the source. So what’s the use of this extraneous step? Why not let us all go straight to the official website or weblog address? Why bother with so many social media sites? Pick one and stick to it.

The most sociable media I’ve ever encountered is the forum format. You can choose to follow/participate a discussion and join in when time allows it. There is no compulsion or immediacy expected. Warts and all, this is a format that does not impose on its users. Even if arguments or attention grabbing headlines occur, just as in real life, things settle into a measured pace once more.

Social media is different. It is impatient. It expects immediate gratification and/or response. I’ve seen quite a lot of social media that is insincere, flippant, coarse and inane. It’s something that many enterprises and persons, without examining the nature of their dealings and business, have allowed themselves to be misled with the mistaken belief that social media is the key to success/relevance. It isn’t always the case. Examine the history and nature of your dealings. Should it be social media or just simple common sense and human touch? Did social media bring you the success that you enjoy today?

Social media thrives on trends. Whoever is popular is king. The popular ones generate interest, followers and are able to attract the attention of advertisers who wish to employ such popular figures to popularise their wares. Nothing based on social media is sustainable.  It is short term and unfaithful. It owes no one anything. It is a parasite that feeds on popularity and shallow mindsets, that popular is best and knows best. Once popularity fades, social media and their legion of willing advertisers feed on the aura of the next fad and the next.

By the time you’re done with the digital parasite that is social media, another one might just crop up and you have to add that to the duty list. That would be a silly way to fritter away time, effort and talent.

A website or weblog is as good a digital presence as any. Use it well, sustain it and it will turn out well eventually. You will even have a digital history.