The longer I interact with and ponder the effects of social media, the more I’m starting to believe it is something to use with much caution. It won’t take you long to find some study that shows that people with narcissistic tendencies seem to post more on social media (I didn’t write it, just read it). That’s a whole ‘nother conversation, and I’m not trying to jump into it here.
But it got me thinking about something that – if the previous argument is true – could save our online reputation. Maybe/maybe not, but here goes: Social media posts should be a link to a larger train of thought. For example, a tweet should in most cases be a brief summary of a blog post.
Here’s my thinking: I’m not sure exactly why experts say that posting all-day every-day about myself is so self-centered, but my concern is that when we post something about what we’re doing without giving any deeper thought to it, we create a habit of speaking for the sake of speaking.
This could be proof: I’ve encouraged people in the past to use Twitter. At first they hate it, then they get used to it, and finally they become addicted to it. Why does this happen? Often it’s simply because they started following people they were interested in and soon they too were posting their own thoughts. That’s what social media does to us. It sucks us in. It’s easy and informative. We get our fix.
But are we just creating bad habits?
Do you think text messaging is teaching us poor grammar? Probably. I don’t know the official stats but I’d guess 80% of teenage communication (or something crazy like that, anyway) is done through text messaging. They are in the habit of using short language to communicate. What if instead they had to practice writing properly 80% of the time? We’d see a difference.
Couldn’t it be possible that social media is doing a similar thing? We’re not really thinking, just posting. And doing so…just because?
So I suggest: Much of what we post should be a link to a larger train of thought. Consider starting a blog. Take time to write in detail about that experience before you post about it. I’m not saying don’t EVER post anything short or silly; there needs to be room for fun. But ask first, what’s the deeper connection to what I’m posting? Maybe it will make us deeper people.