Social media is not social
Alright, you read that, and you think I am some strange bird going against the culture, but give me a chance. This involves your life as a creative.
Though it began earlier, the internet, as we know it, came into being as the World Wide Web in the early nineties, I was there. I had AOL, Compuserve, and MSN which gave the WYSIWYG interface. Those services were not free, they were subscription services at least for full functionality. A variety of browsers developed, and content grew on the internet outside the services. A lot of that material was free, but you were at least paying your internet service/telephone company or cable provider to get on the web.
Many sites put up paywalls, and there were fees to get in. Pop-ups became a hassle, trying to get you to buy stuff. Growth continued, giants sprang up almost out of nowhere, and they dominated the web. Cellphones became ubiquitous so that everyone had a computer in their hand or pocket everywhere they went. The cost to get on the internet from the telecoms went up and up, but we, the consumers paid because we wanted to be connected. Social media had become an integral part of our lives.
All of it, from the beginning, has been a way to get consumers to spend more. If they can catch us, while we sit at home in pajamas, and convince us to buy any of a billion products there, they have us and our dollars. Or maybe we are in a physical store, and we see something we like, we look it up on that mini-computer we have with us at all times, find a better price and order it right there in the store, where by buying we would have helped someone we interacted with in real life. The services, subscriptions, providers all are money driven. The internet is not free, it is what is driving businesses in the real world to fail.
Then we have social media; the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkIn, and others. One, they are collecting and aggregating our information. Two, they are targeting us with fees and advertising insistently. Yes, we communicate, but we are always bombarded with the ask for our money.
The sad thing is that we are more and more becoming driven by devices and growing less active in life with humans outside a screen. We hardly even make phone calls anymore, we text, we message, impersonal and limited interaction. Conversation, face to face, is becoming a lost art.
I have attempted to build a platform to build a reputation as a writer, artist, creative, but it is getting unsustainable with no income from the endeavors and a constant call to spend more. I create because I have to, not to pay someone else for the privilege. We, creatives need to find a way to change the dynamic. We give freely, they should pay us for the hosting. Never happen, but anyway.
This is why I say it is not social, social media is all about money, our money, we have fed this monster until it has almost consumed us and our lives.
As a prompt, create something, writing, art, photograph, that defies the boundaries of the internet. However, you probably want to share it on the web, because how else would anyone see it, we are bound to the internet, obedient slaves.
I hope you enjoyed your time here. I cannot say I do not love the internet, it just worries me. I hope you will either come back or click the follow button. Your thoughts are always welcome in the comments. Wherever you are, take care and be safe.
© Jo Ann J. A. Jordan