Social media is exhausting, specially if you are intending to garner an audience or self-promote. There are myriad channels of communication and showcasing; all are craving your attention and content. If you are a writer, artist, or pursuing any creative channel, you are immediately in the snare of the social media octopus. There is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and I am ignorant of so many other channels.
All demand that you place your content in the most presentable way, on each one of them. There is information and design overload – the same content flooding the data stream with tags and hashtags. More than the creative pursuit, it is the pressure of pushing your content into these channels to grab the maximum eyeballs. Social media feeds on your deep FOMO – fear of missing out – in showcasing your content and following the trends.
Interestingly, now social media has generational identity or age-based categorization. Facebook is supposed to be used by the middle age-group, Instagram is the new hep thing. Then, there are thought-classifications – Pinterest and YouTube for artists, Twitter for the social and political thinkers.
Amidst, all this cacophony there is the ultimate noise-making machine – WhatsApp. It is the notorious bad boy of the gang, and a lot of social media space is now dedicated to refuting the fake news that spreads through the seemingly innocent family and friends chat groups.
The pull of social media is intense and the vortex can be maddening or enlightening, based on how deep you are sucked into it. One click leads to another, one watch to the next, one pin in Chrome, one in the app; you forget what you had come online for, what you were absorbing, and then a shopping advertisement pops-up and eventually you are on the last step of a checkout!
How can anyone retain audience attention? Just as exhausting it is for a content creator to embellish words with photographs and formats, and publish on multitude of online platforms, it is equally tiring for followers or viewers to engage.
The attention span is short, recall negligent, engagement poor, creative absorption as superficial as the newest filter in town! Everyday on social media there are requests to follow a blog or a creative channel or a social media presence to increase the followers count. My question, is the count only a number or an actual connect, genuine readership, and deep engagement.
When the new ways fail, the old ones gain favor, slowly returning to our lives, matured and meaningful. While nothing can compare to the power of the pen and paper as a writing medium and the printed word as the ultimate reading experience, I sense that fatigued social media users are slowly rejecting the maze of duplicate data packets.
For a voice to be heard, or the written word to make a difference, even a tattered note or diary can be precious. If instant gratification was not the hallmatk of our modern existence, it may be easier to discard the multiple social media channels, one tab at a time, one app in a second.
For a long time, I tried to keep pace – worrying about each Like, every follower count, writing forcefully to keep up with daily prompts and be relevant. Eventually, it drains you, and the words dry out, squeezed to the last of the creative juice. You stop and let the words languish, until you realize the exhaustion stems from a problem of plenty and you must stop writing or creating for display but to create for posterity, for beauty, or art!
3 thoughts on “Social Media and the Problem of Plenty”
It really is impossible to meet the demands of social media, and it’s so detrimental to mental health. Whilst it’s enjoyable to occasionally indulge in a couple of posts, it’s too tempting to find yourself sucked into consuming unnecessary content that insists on showing yet more things you’re missing out on… it’s certainly nice to take time for connecting with pen and paper
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And what’s interesting is that in the bid to promote our content, we are also adding to the data packets. #WritersLift is a case in point. It’s a whirlpool and we get sucked into the Like for Like; Follow for Follow. How many of the followers really care?
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