Friday, March 8, 2013

Back Story: Social media burnout

Nowadays, it seems like we are constantly being bombarded with the term "social media." It's inescapable. Have you ever asked yourself, what it is - what the scope of it is? Well, here's one example. You're looking at it. For years, I have been in denial about what this blog really is. I didn't want it to be social media. I wanted that term reserved for Facebook and Twitter, and the like. I wanted the blog to be a magazine, an online zine of sorts. I wanted to be a journalist. But, now that I see other media, especially the newspapers and television, slipping into the social media abyss, I finally have to admit to myself that in creating and maintaining this blog, I have been doing that for which I thought I had reserved my time on Facebook. I am just one of hundreds of thousands of so-called citizen journalists.

Ah, Facebook... that running autobiography of millions around the world. Who would be so vain as to think that anyone cared about what they had for breakfast? Even I once posted something about biscuits and sausage gravy with a side of grits, and got seven likes. Mea culpa - me who hates Facebook more with every passing news feed upgrade.

Until this past year, I thought I could ignore Facebook, but that is no longer possible. With pages like "Yellow Springs Area," Facebook has become my direct competitor. There is an irony in this that has not escaped me. When I first started this blog, the folks at the local newspaper were concerned that I was competing with them. I assured them that it was not my intent to compete, that the paper was a valuable resource to the town and the furthest thing from my mind would be to drive it out of business. In response, they redesigned their website and included a couple of blogs and a way to add comments.Well, if circulation is down, don't look at me. Blame Facebook!

It seems like the newspapers and television have taken an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude. I read somewhere that more photographs have been taken in the last year, than had been taken in the entire history of photography prior thereto. I believe it. First film cameras became the new buggy whip, succumbing completely to the digital age. And now, just a short time later, it appears that stand-alone digital cameras are on the same path. Every cellphone has a camera that is capable of taking video as well as still photos and most of them have more megapixels than my camera, which was once considered high-end. And people are using them.

This is where television comes in. They have decided to take advantage of all the free content that is out there for the picking, like wormy apples in an abandoned orchard. You cannot watch local television without seeing a photo of the latest snowfall from JoeFromUrbana, or, more importantly, video of an accident on I-75 from KateInOakwood. Ditto the newspapers, even network news. Why let the folks at YouTube (another prime example of social media) have all the fun. Lately, news reports have taken to including references to celebrity Tweets. Doesn't anyone crave privacy, anymore? Folks, you're giving it up for free!

Speaking of YouTube, people are becoming overnight media sensations by posting videos of themselves singing in their living rooms. I don't know much about this Justin Bieber character I keep hearing about, but I suspect that's where he got his start.

So where am I going with all this..? The second the next big thing comes along, Facebook and its bretheren are going to be history - probably this blog, too. Remember online social media before the Internet: Compuserve, Prodigy, America on Line..? I was a subscriber to all of them serially in exactly that order. Whatever happened to My Space?

Personally, I can't wait for that next best thing, because I am sick of Facebook and never could say anything in less than the 140 character limit on Twitter. And I'm getting tired of taking pictures of my dog. Aren't you?



jafabrit said...

I dislike many things about facebook, but there is more for me to like. Having that connectivity with family and friends all over the world has been a blessing. Images on fb have helped bridge a language barrier and then there are the art movements, events, and discussions on specific art pages.

Anonymous said...

To my way of thinking, your blog and facebook serve very different purposes and I look at both every single day.

I was, and continue to be, grateful to you and especially look forward to your own writing.

So as to remain positive, no comment on local newspaper.

Thank you, Virgil, for staying with the blog!