Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Social Media

So, what I intended to blog about today was social media, but the Trump victory sort of sidelined me. What I wanted to talk about is why I've taken a break from social media, apart from this blog, and why I'm thinking about keeping that way.

And here we are, a week later... (yes I'm that efficient, lol).

To begin with, a small confession, when I do use Facebook, I find that I use it all the time and its hard to keep away from the site. I'm one of those users who keeps checking their feed, posts loads of stuff and often use it as a sort of 'dump my emotions' when I'm feeling low. I also use it as a lab, to discuss issues that are bugging me, whether that's something to do with the real world or just a writing problem. I find it hard to detach from the site, in a way that I don't with Twitter or Google Plus (though I do sort of prefer G+ because it's much more laid back). 

Perhaps it's because of this that I also find it stressful, Facebook pokes my anxiety, often very hard. It makes my feelings of isolation increase too, not just because of the algorithms that means that you only see certain stories, which have already been connected to feelings of depression in studies. I also find it alienating to see a feed that's full of loads of stuff I simply don't care about (Game of Thrones, Star Wars and so on) or memes that are just, from my perspective, moronic. It doesn't help that the things I am passionate about frequently slide off into the darkness, if I post about them. It shouldn't matter but it makes me feel as if my likes and dislikes are somehow less valid than what the mainstream is pushing. It feels as if all the brilliant book series, or anime shows that really pop my socks off are terrible and at times as if I'm wrong for liking them. It's stupid and I know that, but at times it just feels as if I'm staring at a wall of things I don't care about, with people who are more interested in what's cool than what's interesting. It feels as if what we have managed to create in social media is less a place for discussion and communication and more a playground where things are cool and cliques hang around together, all agreeing with each other.

It feels hard to get a good philosophical debate online these days, everyone is so entrenched and its sad that Facebook is actually encouraging that but creating data bubbles. I'm concerned that this is one of the things creating a distorted sense of our world, along with the fake news stories that get passed around. There are also issues around communicating online, where our reliance on body language and facial expression as well as tone of voice, are wrenched away, leaving only words. Is it any wonder we take things out of context?

I'm not sure how we fix this, only that we must.