Anti-Social Media

Posted by: on May 5, 2015 | No Comments


Anti-Social Media

Everyone who knows me will tell you I’m a pretty social person, online and offline. I actually like social media. I use facebook, have 2 Twitter accounts – IraSez and the local SU alumni club account, use LinkedIn,  post comments on news articles and other folks blogs, and spend more than my fair share of time surfing the web. This very blog is very much part of the world of social media.  As much as I like and use social media, I can’t help but think that the term “social media” is actually an oxymoron.

Humans are animals, social animals. As part of the socialization process, it is necessary to engage all your senses: Sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. With social media, most of that goes right out the window. Some might even go so far as to call it sensory deprivation.

There are different types of social media advocates. Let’s call the first one Mr. Magoo. They’re the person who holds their cell phone so close to their face, you think they are near-sighted. At some point, the Mr. Magoos of the world are going to be cross-eyed from spending their entire existence with their face firmly planted in their cell phone. These folks are addicts, plain and simple. Take their cell phones away from them and they go into complete social communication withdrawal. They no longer possess what society would consider normal social skills. They can’t make eye contact while speaking, their thumbs move in some sort of weird pantomime while they talk, as if they are deciphering morse code, and personal contact is completely foreign to them. I wonder if and how these folks have sex?

The next type of social media fanatic will call The Night Owl. They spend most of their time locked away in a dark room, typing madly, and have been known to crash Twitter. Even when it’s light outside, they still think it’s night time. For them, carpal tunnel syndrome is a vocational hazard, as they spend hours with the hands and fingers curled over their computer keyboard. They suffer from a severe Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of time in the sun.

Finally we have The Mad Men. No not the TV series but the folks in the advertising, marketing and communications world that think that social media is the answer to all their clients prayers; that through social media, they can reach the world to sell any product or service.

Let me give you a little history lesson, right out of my Newhouse COM 107 Class, where we learned about all forms of communications, where the next “big thing” was sure to be the death of the last “big thing.” In the beginning, there was one form of advertising – the town crier, a.k.a. word of mouth. I think that one still works. Sometime in the 1400s, the printing press was invented. It was the “big thing.” Towards the end of the 1800s, Mr. Marconi gave us the radio, it was the “next big thing” and print was dead. In the 1920s along comes television, the next “next big thing,” which was supposed to kill of print and radio. FM radio was supposed to kill AM radio. Satellite radio was supposed to kill AM and FM radio. Cable TV was supposed to be the end of the broadcast stations…yada, yada, yada.

Looking at the big communications picture, from print to radio to TV to the internet to whatever comes next (and there’s always something that comes next), it’s a pizza pie. The pie is the same size, you just slice it up differently. Sometimes you pick and choose the slice, and what kind of toppings are on your slice.

So go out, grab a slice of pizza with your friends, be social. Than log on to your Yelp account and let everyone know what you think of your little slice.