I would like to start off mentioning that the irony is not completely lost on me that I’m going to write some negative opinions about social media on a blog. What am I supposed to do, sky write? Write in a magazine?
I do not love what social media has become in the extremely short time that it has arrived on our phones, tablets and desktops. Originally, it made the world a bit smaller and opened people up to lives and experiences that were different from their own. Maybe it is still that to some degree. However, lately I’ve noticed what many others have. People are slumped over whether while sitting or walking in traffic constantly buried in their phones. There are actually laws put in place in some states against walking, texting and walking through a cross walk. I guess it has been a public safety issue. When a person has two minutes to spare, they are checking. Did I get any likes? Was my tweet re-tweeted. How is it that tweeted has become a word? Instagram may be the worst of all. At least it is to me. Have you ever hit the search button on the bottom just to see what Instagram thinks you might be interested in? I guess it remembers your searches and mines your likes and followers and comes up with an algorithm on what you will possibly be interested in. Apparently, it thinks I like girls with giant asses taking ass selfies, bodybuilders and cute animal videos. It’s right on that last one. I used to play a game at bars and see if anyone will show me what their search came up with for them as I was sure that it said something about their personality. I did until mine came up, it wasn’t accurate at all. I don’t know. Maybe I do like giant asses and bodybuilder pictures subconsciously and don’t know it.
It’s my opinion that social media is really a propaganda machine. Propaganda for products, politics, and the ego.
Product propaganda is self-evident. People are paid a lot of money to post them using or qualifying a product. This is the new advertising. This is what commercials used to do. There was a time not too long ago that in order to watch a television show, you had to watch the commercials. There was no choice. A television show is 100% funded on advertising money. That is the real reason that television executives used to make innovative, funny or addictive shows…to have eyes glued on the screen until they could sell products during breaks. Then came VCRs, the shows still taped them in their entirety so, the shows could still register eyes on the products. Then came the DVR(like TIVO). The DVR was just a better digital VCR, commercials still got recorded but got sped through when watched later. However it still registered that the commercials got watched in their entirety, as far as the network and advertisers were concerned. Now, with Netflix, HBO, Amazon, HULU and others, commercials have been zapped almost completely away. There are no Tide commercials during Game of Thrones. HBO and the like SVOD(subscriber video on demand) get their cash directly from the consumer in the way of membership fees or rental fees.
So how do companies get eyes on their product? You got it, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. They get famous faces to promote their products for an extremely lucrative amount of money. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sells pick up trucks and sports clothing. The Kardashians sell make up and clothing. These things make sense. Personalities match the brand and have the perfect following.
Politics Propaganda has been recently been in the news a lot lately(propaganda in and of itself). Apparently, there has been some meddling by foreign governments for a while now to disrupt and guide national elections to serve their own needs. Can’t blame them for that. They pay a ton of money to advertise true or fake stories on social media platforms to sway the populace. Certainly beats going old school and dropping leaflets on foreign soil. Who is to blame for this really? The countries paying money to place ads and stories? Are the social media companies responsible for vetting both the stories and the customer paying for placing them? Or is it the gullible public that swallows whatever story is fed to them? The public eating the junk food of propaganda. The public who get outraged over and over again fueling their increased consumption of materials? I don’t blame the cigarette, I blame the smoker. At least cigarettes have the decency to tell you right on the package they are trying to kill you. Social media plays on people’s worst fears and on their insecurities and prejudices . It creates a virtual tribal culture. Us vs them. Our race vs theirs. Our religion vs theirs. Our political party vs theirs. Politicians have caught on. They spin the public this way and that. Outrage after outrage until we the public are numbed to the rhetoric. Eventually, we will run out of gas. After enough spinning, people tire and just want to see clearly what’s directly in front of them. Forcing a tunnel vision . Leaving people to think, “That doesn’t really affect me and my family. I have to limit the amount I care about that”. That’s when they have us where we want them. Like a boxer in the ring obviously outclassed and getting pummeled in the corner. We just want it to stop. “Please let it stop”, we plead and turn the TV on to some inane fake “reality” show about the asshole wives of rich guys. That’s where Tyranny lives.
I have to admit, the thing that I despise most about social media is the propaganda of the ego. Granted, me writing this and expecting anyone to read it or care what I think does in itself require that I have some sort of enlarged ego. I’ll own that much. I just cannot stand to look at one more picture of someone working out, eating food, or giving life advice while wearing a bathing suit doing a yoga handstand. I’ve been working out my entire life and there is not one picture to prove it. It should stay that way. I eat every day, I do not want to see a picture of your food. Ever. Your life advice while inverted in an obviously sponsored bikini is the most shallow thing imaginable. You do not understand the wisdom of yoga practice one bit. It is so desperately seeking outward approval, I truly hate that stuff. At the gym there are idiots taking videos and selfies of their muscles or asses every day wearing their workout outfits. The women are all made up as for a photo shoot and make the inane duck lip face and pop their asses out. People are in the middle of working out and texting or reading their phones at the same time. They are not at all present. They are hooked.
I have had people ask me why I haven’t “liked” any of their posts or why I don’t follow them. That answer should be painfully obvious. It really does seem to hurt their delicate egos.
People are constantly looking to see their likes and follows. It is all of this attention on their virtual popularity. We have become so “other” centered. It seems so weak-minded to me.
Social Media is for The Rock, Trump, and the Kardashians. This is how they earn tremendous money and currency for their egos. I do envy their business acumen. They are the kinds of people that it is meant for. But for the rest, social media is a slot machine. Its intermittent rewards of likes and subscribes make everyone addicted. Don’t believe me? Try telling someone to turn off their phone and put it in their pocket. See what happens. See how paranoid and twitchy they get. Try it yourself.
You won’t see me posting much on social media…..that is until I have something new to promote.