Thanks to diverse interests and equally diverse Facebook friends, lots of interesting articles come my way. This being social networks, a “like” comes easy, and it often feels like a “share” is necessary.
In fact, bookmarking articles to read them later, with more care, only seems to result in long lists of articles that never get read anymore, making it appear all the better to just swim with the current. Add in how trending topics seem to be what Twitter is about. News nowadays break faster through retweets than in “the news,” too. Immersion in the intimacy of instant sharing feels like being part of a movement, an impetus that will have an impact, or at least like providing insight into one’s life with great authenticity.
It’s all connected, and it’s ever faster.
It’s a trap.
Sure, it’s interesting being a part of movement, surfing the crest of a breaking story, maybe even creating a comment that would go viral.
The immediacy of sharing is the very thing that prevents reflection, though. Hence, the mad rush to retweet and share – and send out snippets of life as they happen. “I gotta go pee” seems to have all but disappeared from Twitter, at least, but pictures of lunch are still going around (and can be interesting).
Real value is added not by another like, but by adding something of value, though. A thought-out comment, a critique developed over time, even a personal experience made in a similar context – but probably not an immediate reaction. Thoughtlessly like that, there is certainly immediacy, there may be an intimacy that goes hand-in-hand with that, but there is unlikely to be anything of substance. Hence, the mutual admiration societies that often build up around books and their authors, let alone bloggers of a similar stripe.
“Slow” has become a new rallying cry in some fields; food, of course; city life, somewhat. “Slow” and “social media” seem opposites. Natural antagonists. And in the mad dash to be among the first, there is a lot of noise, cumulatively amounting to nothing much more than information fallout, there is the echo chamber of Twitter – and it’s just like the snap judgments that destroy many a relationship, but without even so much as the look at the other person that could make it clear(er) whether a comment was made in earnest or in jest.
I feel bad about the long line of articles I found interesting and haven’t yet shared, stupid to be posting pictures and writing blog posts about a trip that was a month ago only now – but it actually takes time not just for wine, but also for thoughts, to ripen and develop.
Or to find that supposedly letting others participate in an event in your life with the help of social media may not actually contribute anything of substance to their lives, and neither to yours. How about actually being where you are, while you are there, recording impressions… and deciding what is worth sharing a bit later, as it actually develops some sense and substance more than “this is me, I am here, now, aren’t you jealous?”
Yes, it takes away immediacy, but it can add a whole lot more. Or maybe, I’m just too lazy to share everything at once, too ignorant to add great running commentary, and now looking for excuses. My life, as much as I like to share experiences and perceived insights, isn’t a spectator sport, though. So, I’ll share slowly.
What do you think? Quick, add a comment, like and share. NOW! :-p