BREAKING NEWS!! WMD’s FOUND!! (Weapons of Mass Distraction)
Are you trapped in an endless cycle of “likes”, “follow” and “connects’”, if so, you’re not alone. Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook and the business connectivity site LinkedIn have leveraged technology to engage customers and your target audience by leveling the playing field at a scale unheard of by the marketers of barely a generation ago.
Everyone is a thought leader, content curationist and engagement guru today and we buy into every bit of it. To engage with us means we’re witty, clever and have something important to say.
To have our mildly thought provoking but otherwise irrelevant articles reviewed, debated endlessly but still remaining “top of mind” by our individual and collective insistence to make sure everyone hears our two cents on the subject inflates the content’s credibility beyond its inherent value in addition to inflating the content creator’s standing in social media circles (deserved or not).
Blogging disguised as journalism. The media focuses on stories that will get the most resounding echo’s on the social sites to go viral rather than reporting on and investigating the issues that have the potential to effect the most people in their daily lives. Actors as news reporters. An edgey style and sharp (often very attractive) looks has more payoff than intellect, experience or relevant training and education. One has only to see any TMZ news report to know that amateur is the new professional. Politicians and government officials have more media training and coaching for their academy award winning performances than do the cast of the House of Cards (Kevin Spacey…you sir are brilliant). All the ingredients for a thick propaganda borsch are present, including the meatiest pictures of the train wreck actress du jour or the arrogant deposition of a teenage heartthrob whose concert tickets and soundtrack sales only go up the more outrageous the comments out of his mouth.
In the 1968 exhibition of his work, Andy Warhol coined the phrase “In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes”. Social media is the newest channel(s) by which an individual might attain fame, albeit short lived. Teen sexting (sending of provocative photo’s (clothed or unclothed) via text and e-mail to friends can quickly spread like a viral outbreak of the worst kind, entrapping everyone in it’s spell. The fact the pictures continue to be shared far and wide and the originating individual has lost any control over their “content” means little when the permanence of the internet is factored in. Our 2014 reality is that in the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people, but the shadow of their content, their clever meme, their semi-insightful article, their witty retort will live forever on the internet, searchable, copied and plagiarised.
Social Media distractions are the modern day filler of the daily grind. What once would have been accomplished in a quick phone call or e-mail or perhaps a team coffee break, is an instant, dynamic up to the minute regurgitation of every errant thought we have, or have seen and thought to share our amusement with the world. The effort that social interaction once required seems to have evaporated. But Social Media empowers us even more than that. We can interact with the content, share our thoughts, concerns, rabidly disagree with the content or praise it’s viewpoint and share our brilliance with an ever widening audience. From the cute puppy that gets it’s head stuck in a cardboard box, to endless cat video’s on YouTube (seriously…I don’t get that) to every imaginable comment, thought, theory, and 2 cents on this hour’s trending piece of information cleverly disguised to appear as news. It’s all there, sharable, with everyone interacting and approving it. It’s the content interaction itself that has taken precedence over its actual content, biased or incorrectly researched it doesn’t matter. We interacted with it, we shared it, the audience widens, the content (and the content creator) wins out of sheer numbers.
How does the content then become useful and less of a distraction? How can we take more control over our feeds, our ingestion of content to slow or stop entirely the indigestion of overexposure which is not only counterproductive in the workplace and family home, but also unhealthy. What constructive difference will it make to view, watch, read and share every tidbit of content that amuses us even briefly? What would happen if we simply limited ourselves to 3 shares a day, 3 personal thoughts and 3 comments on others content and a limit of 3 minutes per working hour of reading non work related content? Would the gaps in our day, the void we fill with social content become filled with more meaningful personal social interaction? Would we get more work done? Would we be more productive? Would we be happier more satisfied people?
An Ostrich with its head in the sand is just as blind to opportunity as to disaster. It’s the healthy social mix of being aware of both that we should strive for. Social Media dieting is just the newest game where you win when you lose. We’re better people when we have less on our plate. So get off the site, pick up the phone and fill your plate with healthy interaction!
IT Recruiter / Headhunter for the past 20 years. Occasionally known as “The Philosopher Recruiter” and prides himself as a “Papabear Extraordinaire”. Results oriented, creative, devilishly clever and tenacious, Daryl is an annoyingly persistent man. Daryl occasionally rants a bit on the internet and calls it blogging. Follow at your own risk.