While adding social media buttons to the “About” Page of this blog today, I realized I have a problem. I have created over ten social media sites for the Ding Dong abroad Social Media platform in the past few days; a small idea has blossomed into a behemoth. This often happens with me. I am an extremist, and when an idea takes hold, it usually not only lasts, but intensifies, until a better one takes over. I then start from scratch on a new project, abandoning my previously all-consuming passion.
But social media is a common problem. And it is a problem. It is hard to imagine life without social media now, even though it simply didn’t exist as recently as twenty years ago. Nobody tweeted about 9/11. Nobody took to Facebook to give their take on the Discovery Crash. I wonder how social media would have impacted the way we remember those events.
My friend and mentor, A. Mary Murphy, was immediately concerned when I started this blog. She knows me well, and she also knows that writers often seek out distraction to keep them from their work. For me, social media is an ongoing distraction because it offers me a chance to see how people present themselves to the world. Sometimes I look on with a smile, but most often I look on in horror: and that is just surveying my own (mis)management of social media.
I think that sometimes we forget that social media is a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. While some manage to get an idea, a song, or even a poem across via social media, most of us get trapped in the ugly vortex of self-promotion. I am most certainly guilty of this. I really struggle with it.
The answer? I don’t know. I am afraid that social media has become a necessary evil in our culture; people slip through the cracks of our fragile memory without it. I guess, as with all things, moderation is in order. But as I have stated above, I am incapable of that, so I am pretty much screwed. Maybe when I move to Vietnam, I will throw my phone and my computer in a river. It worked for about two weeks the last time I did it.