Is This The End Of Social Media?

September 27, 2013

The end? Or perhaps the peak for some sites…

It was with some trepidation I entered into the world of Friends Reunited  many years ago, after all, I wasn’t completely certain I needed to re-engage with folk I’d not particularly liked at school. Nevertheless, I joined but quickly found myself looking for my next social media hit. FR was fine as a first experience but it lacked the depth I felt I needed.  So ‘Bob’ from school was now my ‘friend’? I needed more info on ‘Bob’, the site simply didn’t satisfy, I needed more.

Along came Facebook  with all it’s promise. Lo and behold, the same people I didn’t want to talk to on Friends Reunited were already on the site, and naturally I promptly requested their friendship like the fickle fool I am.

The inquisitive, or let’s be honest and call it nosy, side of me found the Big Brother-esque nature of the site quite compelling, and before I knew it, not a day could pass without a peek at yet another photo of a baby or a wedding. And yes, I may have passed judgments, but only in my head. There was still a certain level of politeness to be found – mostly because I couldn’t very well state my opinion on how someone’s wedding dress did nothing for their backside when I knew there was a very strong possibility of bumping into them in the supermarket the next day.

As enthralled as I was with FB, it still lacked something. Most notably: speed. As a life-long and scrupulously devout fan of Formula One motor racing, I found the site wasn’t always the first with the latest ‘gossip’ surrounding the sport. Someone nonchalantly suggested trying this Twitter thing and I duly followed like the social media sheep I am.

Having access to up-to-the-minute information on F1 from both the teams and the drivers impressed me no end! But being able to keep up with favorite musicians, actors and comedians essentially put the cherry on top of the cake.

I became addicted with quite some voracity (I’ve just realised I’ve lost 4 years submersed in the Twitterverse!). But what a 4 years.

Thanks to Twitter, I won a competition to attend the Motorsport Hall of Fame Awards in February 2012, something I will never forget. Being in the same room as Sir. Stirling Moss and Sir. Jackie Stewart and the people behind the wonderful sport was the moment of a lifetime. Not only that, Twitter enabled the discovery that I could join a fanclub and get the best seats possible to my favorite concerts. I could track the artist’s progress, catch interviews and live performances from all over the world and be the first to listen to new music.

Quite incredible really, considering it’s just something I log on to through my phone or laptop, this invisible reality down the wireless network. But recent revelations on the destructive nature of not only Twitter , but all forms of social media have lead me to re-think the amount of precious time I allow them to consume. We all know how celebrities (and the rest of us) can be attacked by trolls who DON’T have to bump into their intended target the following day in the supermarket and therefore have no qualms in sending malicious messages. Even if they did bump into them, they’re usually anonymous so  they feel all-together too brave in their missions to destroy the confidence of another human being. Of course, this has a terribly destructive effect on the lives of the victims, there are some horrendous stories of those who couldn’t cope.

But more and more, people are starting to back away from this method of human interaction. Sure, it’s fun when it’s jovial and harmless fan adoration or group banter over sport, but people are starting to realise they just don’t need it in their lives if it’s not having the original, desired effect. For some, it was escapism, others publicity and for many, simple fun.

I’ve had my fair share of hate through social media, but for me, the good has outweighed the bad. Not least because I’ve met some amazing people through the sites and have been able to share my passions for music and motorsport with like-minded individuals. But the question I ask myself is this? Do I see myself using social media sites in 10 years time? The answer is no. But maybe that’s because I’m just waiting for the next social media site to change my mind…



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