Ongoing Social Media Observations

I came to Facebook quite late having stubbornly refused to create an account as I didn't see the point. I don't have many friends (by choice) and I simply don't care enough about other people's baby photos or daily diatribes covering their current diet or fashion based purchases to feel I need to keep updated on their posts.

I tried Twitter when it was gaining momentum but decided quite quickly that it was broken as a social sharing model. However, it is great as a broadcast medium much in the same way that RSS is or was, but without the high technical barrier to entry. This is borne out by the massive follower numbers any celeb-de-jour can garner on there. The common people have mostly have settled into using twitter as read-only news feed, occasionally throwing out comments of their own in to maelstrom of noise hoping that someone else will bite and reply back but secretly accepting that their tweets will be ignored and forgotten just like the other 99% of non-celeb/corporate tweets are.

I never had a Myspace account as I'm about 20 years too old, even when it was popular. My understanding of that platform is that it too has been commandeered by the major music labels to provide yet another podium to pimp their artist's wares upon. The common user space over there is now rapidly becoming a wasteland of ill tended, dying on the vine profiles. It recently received a makeover which turned it into some sort of landing portal for brands, trends and music. However it still has not got a lively or active user base and should be put out of its digital misery sooner rather than later.

I use LinkedIn for work. By 'use' I mean I have a fairly full profile and I connect with people I work with or have worked with in the past and hope to again in the future. Beyond that, I don't think LinkedIn serves a purpose. It certainly didn't help me when I was looking for work, despite putting out pleas to my network. I could live without LinkedIn, and my career wouldn't be affected one way or another. With the Microsoft purchase of LinkedIn they seem to be trying to re-invent it as a Facebook style social media hub. This is in my opinion a bad idea; most people like to keep their professional and personal personas separated. The last thing you need when you are suddenly doing an unexpected shout-out for a new role, is for a prospective employer to scroll back through your old social posts on LinkedIn and see something not suitable for the workplace.

Google+ was good; it was starting to develop into a social platform that encouraged the sharing of ideas, the dissemination of interesting information around obscure but fascinating topics, and the meeting of minds with common interests. This uniqueness quickly faded as the masses jumped on board and demanded their Love Island and Kim Kardashian pages so they can slavishly follow them. Google are a company that wants to make a profit just like any other company, so they will provide the features that the masses want. This leaves those of us with a taste for deeper conversations on quality topics looking for another raft in the lake to nail our flag upon.

I used to be lucky enough to be one of select few bloggers on the BCS (British Computer Society) website. I had to submit a handful of written work to prove I could type more than a couple of sentences without collapsing into netspeak and emoticons. Unfortunately the BCS did a major website update a while back (when the logo went green in colour for those who keep track) and they not only demoted the blogs to the backend of the site but they also took away the self-publishing pages. This meant that any submission had to be emailed in and 'approved' for publication. I felt that this was no longer 'blogging', and as I didn't get paid add content to their website I decided to quietly stop writing for them.

Which brings me rambling to my point; Social media for me is broken. Once the clamouring masses get access to any social media platform, the celebrities and the corporate drones follow, ever eager to make another buck by selling their products to the witless idiots that follow them. This in turn makes pages hits go up and more importantly, advert revenue increases as well. So the social media platform feature-set gets refreshed around this celebrity-centric, advert-laden surge, leaving those of us who do not care for mass idolatry struggling with a platform that no longer fits our needs or wishes.

In the main though, I know that I am part of a minority, and I came to terms with this fact many years ago. What I want is rarely what anyone else wants. This leaves me with two options; Keep looking for the next-best-thing that may suit my needs, or just post endless streams of LOLCats and cross links to Buzzfeed Tasty like everybody else.