anti-social media

anti-social heroes

Television has the reputation of being anti-social. But it is possible to share a television experience. Cuddling on the sofa with someone and enjoying the latest episode of a great TV show is a profoundly social and human experience.

But as I immerse myself more and more into so-called social media, I find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on the real world around me. And for sure my memory is getting substantially worse, with Wikipedia withering my brain like my unused appendix.

Andrew Keen reviews a review of Elsewhere USA (metareviews it?). I haven’t read the book, but the principle of Mass Autism was interesting to me. Some symptoms of Autism do feel familiar to me nowadays, such as constant distraction. And it certianly seems that more and more people have Echolalia.

Twitter is, in my opinion, likely to make the Mass Autism and Internet Addiction situation worse. I read that Twitter was the fastest way to find news about the recent plane crash in the Hudson. My response is: so what? Why is it so important to get extremely fast news on an event that actually had so little to do with any of us? Why don’t we all slow down a little and wait until the news has been ratified and researched. Are we all really such rubberneckers?

It seems we are addicted to consumption of information, needing information as it happens. Muji’s response to this over-consumption trend is to say that their products are just good enough. Not the best. Not something you need to strive your whole life to get. But just good enough. That feels so discordant with the recent past, but is perhaps what is needed for a sustainable economy.

Perhaps this is why people are reverting to older media formats. It seems that all the cool kids are geeking out about books and paper. It is about the analog media’s “thingness”. In a time of such media overconsumption and ubiquitous digital data, vinyl also seems like a treat for my soul. But it’s also about slowing down and breathing in, loggin off, and enjoying the things around you.

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6 thoughts on “anti-social media

  1. Peter Kim says:

    Before I leave this thought, I believe you’re on to something. It’s not echo chamber – your independent thoughts are in good company.

    Your post reminds me of two similar posts this month from Chris Brogan and David Armano:

    http://www.chrisbrogan.com/be-realistic-about-time/

    http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2009/01/slow-down.html

    I see many social media experts so intent on increasing their numbers that they move faster and faster, never really understanding, leaving vacuous content strewn across the interwebs.

  2. Jussi-Pekka says:

    Getting back to the question about good enough and good enough quality. This is a different question with internet than with some physical product.

    Just think about YouTube and Wikipedia. With YouTube you have low quality videos (let’s forget about the HD content) and with Wikipedia you have articles that might not full fill even the quality standards of Wikipedia. But you are happy with YouTube, because most of the time it fulfills the need that you have, even if the video quality is lousy. Other option is not having the videos online at all.

    Usually Wikipedia articles have good enough quality and they fulfill most of the needs of the user. Wisdom of the crowds will fix imperfections.

    We need to treat Wikipedia as a process. It is not a ready product and should not be treated as one. This same applies to most of the social media. Knowledge practices in social media part from the traditional knowledge practices like news criteria.

    Speed, narrowcasting and different angles to news is something that social media and citizen journalism enables. Twitter flood about Hudson river incident might be trivial for most of us, but just think about the Tsunami in 2004 or the London Bombings. In these case social media and UGC were extremely valuable sources also for traditional media.

    Btw. If you are worried about you memory, you might want to read “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr -> http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

  3. dagood says:

    @Peter Kim:
    Many thanks for the pointers to people having similar thoughts. I would suggest what I said is also related to Greg Verdino’s views on the need for Social Graph shrinkage (in your 2009 Social Media Predictions that I mentioned in my Jan 11th post).

    I certainly don’t think what I am saying is original, but it is my personal feelings. I would expect, maybe even hope, that many people are having the same feelings – I think it is the human reaction to over-consumption of informaiton.

  4. dagood says:

    @Jussi Pekka

    In terms of “good enough”, I think it’s the same with physical products as with information-based products: we should remember what our needs are, and how much we need to satisfy them.

    Traditional marketing creates false needs, and leads to Affluenza.

  5. Chris Eden says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I too am suffering. I hear it’s called ‘network fatigue’, feeling the constant pressure of being live in our ever growing networks 24/7.

    On the over consumption of info front I can definitely say that i’m a sufferer from ‘feed fatigue’ as well. I love my netvibes feed reader but as my network expands with more and more connections so too does the amount of simply great blogs and news sources that I discover.

    Quite frankly it’s become unmanageable. While I like keeping an eye on everything through my reader I miss the on-site experience and community feeling you get from visiting. Kind of like looking through a window of a party and not really being there!

    I’ve stripped it back recently and started using my bookmarks of favourite sites again.

    Sport and music bring a welcome offline break from the constant flow of useful info that we can so easily access. Until you pick up that iPhone or laptop again! DOH :)

  6. dagood says:

    @Chris Eden
    Seems I’m not the only one :)
    But yeah, I guess it’s about keeping things in perspective and not letting it take over. You can have too much of a good thing, and all that…

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