In one of < my recent posts I was thinking about ditching social media, and I reflected on its dubious benefits in terms of business and in ones actual – real – personal life. So I decided to try going without it, to see if the world would come to an end.
After all, I did close my Facebook account for a year once. And I stayed out of it for a month when I opened a subsequent account, which (was to be used solely for promoting my comics). But, I got sucked back into the social/casual side of it again.
I did sneak into Facebook a couple of times for a few seconds, over the last couple of days, just to check if a few articles that I remotely posted to it – actually posted. And I also remotely posted a promo for my upcoming comic page to my Facebook Comic Page, Twitter and Instagram – via Hootsuite – yesterday. The articles I remotely posted were ones that I found while searching around my newly re-discovered internet thing which they still call the World Wide Web. They were all about leaving social media and about Big Data. You see, since getting out of Facebook, in particular, I’ve gone back in time about 10 years, to Web 1.0, and found so much great content – by myself – using search engines! It’s not fed to me by my Facebook newsfeed – based on algorhythms, which are analysing and tracking me. And, when I click a link to an article, I’m not kept within Facebook’s iFrame! Now, I’m sure that some corporation or other is still tracking me wherever I go; but I’m not sure how far we can go in fighting that battle, against: Google, my Safari Browser, my iPad or PC, my Sony Phone, the sites that I look at, etc, etc. But it’s a start.
Big Data: We Became the Product
It’s a bit chilling now, to look back to 1998, when I excitedly signed up for my first ever ‘free’ email account: Hotmail. Little did most of us know that we, the users of this lovely new fun and democratic creative space called the Internet, would, in a few years become The Product – not the free apps themselves, but us. They wanted our data.
And it seems that big business was playing the long game. We were lured into complacency as more and more ostensibly free stuff was handed over to us and we signed up. The younger generation now, are basically used to it. It’s as if they’ve been Internet-Groomed.
Look at Me!
It’s 7:45am, in Ireland, as I type this. It used to be that I took my porridge back to bed, around 7:15, and would check into Facebook and see what’s going on. Lately I started browsing the web instead and reading articles. The one social network I haven’t given up yet, is LinkedIn – purely out of self-interest. But honestly, who of you have really benefitted from that thing in your own careers? I get bombarded by recruitment agencies trying to offer me the horrible jobs, that the employers can’t get anyone to take.
And this morning I had a quick scroll through its timeline/newsfeed and it’s just full of some of the most vacuous crap:
- ‘Top 10 Tips of the Greatest Influencers that You Need to Use Today!’
- ‘How Thought Leaders Use Social Media to Win Followers’
Awful stuff. It’s all just a lot of me-focused jumping up and down like spoilt brats, yelling: “look at me! Look at me! I need validation!” Hand on heart though, I will say that I actually do believe in people – from a young age – being encouraged to develop their own personal brand – which sounds awful. But the way imagine it, is that it’s about developing your unique skills and offerings. Knowing what differentiates you and getting confidence from that for the world of work – and life. But all of career-focused social media posturing isn’t a magic wand that’s somehow going to make you famous or make the money roll in. If it ever was, I’m afraid you’ve probably arrived too late to the party. No, it’s about putting in the real work, so you’ve something real and tangible to offer. Something actual, that’s more than just a carefully contrived image and a lot of 10 Top Tips based waffle.
But anyway, I’m pleased to say that since getting out of Social Media in the last 2 days, I have a new comic page coming to Between * Wars very soon – there hasn’t been an update in months; and I’ve spent much more time with my son playing football – and I haven’t done that since last year! I’ve made three new blog posts, which is somewhat creative and takes a bit more effort than scrolling, slack-jawed down a Facebook newsfeed, clicking ‘Like‘ icons as my eyes glaze over (Even if blogging is a bit like jumping up and down yelling, “look at me, look at me!”).
– John White