81 - Social Media and Connectivity

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lately as I fall down the rabbit hole of Twitter and becoming active on Instagram after a bit of a winter lul I have pondered "social media" and what it all actually means to me.

I honestly get the feeling that it has turned quite anti-social and fosters disconnectedness in a lot of cases. I have a friend who in fact quit Facebook for the very reason that he found himself not staying in touch with friends, he'd seen their snippets of news online, why did he need to pick up a phone or write a letter? Consequently I actually hear from him a lot more these days...

It seems that we are increasingly being forced down corridors chosen for us, allowed to peep into the rooms deemed as interesting to us, a funfair curated based on past joys. But here's the thing, I'm human, and what I like, changes frequently. There is no robot or algorithm built that can truly know what I would think important because my mood changes, recent personal events impact, ambience and surroundings - the weather even. On dreary days I need plants and foreign places in my IG feed and so I search for new people to bring me those, other times I want to connect with some new like-minded creatives. How can all of this possibly be factored into an algorithm and more to the point, why would I want it to?

Part of the joys of sharing platforms (like Instagram) are not only in new discovery but the re-kindling of forgotten relationships too. Someone who might not have posted for a while, or posts something so out of the ordinary that it would no doubt never be picked up by an algorithm. I feel that the threatened change on Instagram takes away the unexpected beauty of it all and will dull the very best aspect of it - human interaction and randomness.

A quick google search on "Instagram" to check for news on the impending changes somehow brought up a link to a piece by Hossein Derakhshan on The Guardian website which seemed to sum all of it up wonderfully -

"Maybe this is all a natural evolution of a technology. But I can’t close my eyes to what’s happening: a loss of intellectual power and diversity. In the past, the web was powerful and serious enough to land me in jail. Today it feels like little more than entertainment. So much that even Iran doesn’t take some – Instagram, for instance – serious enough to block.

I miss when people took time to be exposed to opinions other than their own, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares, and best time to post."

I shall nervously await the verdict on the Instagram changes. In the meantime, grab yourself a cup of tea and read the whole post. If you are an Instagram user and hate the proposed changes go sign the petition against them and let your feelings be known...

I'd be interested in your thoughts, leave a comment on the recent proposed Instagram changes, social media, the death of the web, miscellaneous musings...

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