Is social media treating us like children?

Congratulations, you’ve got a new follower! Five likes on your post so far … nice! X liked your post – maybe you’d like to see theirs, too!

like

We’ve all seen this …

Is it just me, or does that sound like something you’d hear in a primary school classroom? Is social media treating us like a bunch of emotionally fragile children? The clincher is, of course, that we never get told when someone thinks we suck. Y thinks you’re terribly dull and will never visit your website again … tough luck!

It’s not just blogging platforms, it’s all the others forms of social media. Facebook, twitter, instagram et al. Every little success is trumpeted, while our failures are stolidly ignored. I’d quite like to know when I turn people off … which I’m probably doing right now, come to think of it …

... but never this!

… but never this!

Seriously, though. Like many writers, I consider social media an important business tool. I like to think of myself as a professional. If I’m doing something that disengages my audience, I would like to know about it. I don’t want to spend hours sifting through stats to find out – just tell me.

I can handle it. I’d hate to be like this poor writer I encountered on Twitter. She was going completely off her tree about people who follow, only to promptly unfollow once she returned the favour. Yes, it’s irritating. It happens to me often, but I take it in my stride. This woman’s frantic tweets were along the lines of ‘I’ll find out who you are! I’ll get even! Just you wait and see.’

I guess this is why people are jumping onto programs like Just Unfollow, which finds people who unfollow you on Twitter and Instagram. You can unfollow them back – so there!

So … maybe we can’t handle it. Maybe we are too fragile. Writers are notoriously insecure, and social media has given us something else to be insecure about. What are your views? Go on, tell me. I can take it … I think …

 

 

12 comments

  1. I think I’ll have to unfollow you after this post πŸ™‚ Good point, it is like a popularity contest! I can honestly say I’ve never noticed if someone has unfollowed me and if I enjoy their writing, I wouldn’t unfollow them because of it – I’d just accept that they had their reasons, whatever those would be. Although if someone I engaged with regularly suddenly disappeared I might feel a little disappointed!

    • I agree – it should just be about sharing thoughts and enjoying each others writing, without it turning into a contest. A bit of perspective helps πŸ™‚

  2. I think most people are narcissistic, lack self-awareness, and are insecure. As a result, social media is often no more than a platform for validation, and since other people are afraid of not receiving any, they give it blindly.

    It’s a great tool that is abused by uncreative, boring people.

  3. I still click on “Like!”
    Seriously you hit an important topic, Stella. We all know that in reality the number of people who read what we do and get involved is way smaller than the number of official followers. I compare it to a party where you see lots of people, chat with many, and get in a real conversation with only a few. I pay a visit to anyone new who leaves me a “Like” and/or a comment, but I don’t always follow or return if the blog isn’t relevant to what I do and like. We live in a new and somehow brave world where virtual action is replacing real encounters. However only this last few weeks I read several blog posts about bloggers who “liked” each other and got to meet. I found that interesting. As for me, I love to blog because it is a unique way to keep writing and ‘meet’ other bloggers. It is nice to see some people returning, and I want to believe that it’s not just mechanical.
    When I click on ‘LIke’ it’s because I like the post. Sometimes it’s also like a friendly hello to someone I support, like waving to a neighbor. Good post, Stella. See you soon.

    • You’re right, we’re living in a new world and trying to work out changing social interaction rules. But human nature doesn’t change – there are just more ways of masking it! I like your reference to a friendly hello. I’m waving to you now, even though you can’t see it πŸ™‚

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