I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love connecting with people. I hate the drama that so frequently follows them into their online presences. Years ago, I learned the hard way over a long period of time that online drama simply has no redemptive place in my life. This was back in the frontier days of IRC and later message boards, before social media as we now experience it existed.
Facebook is the biggest culprit. Because of its closed nature wherein users must request to be friended and choose to accept friend requests from others before connections may occur, it tends to be an environment where users who already know each other reconnect. Family, former classmates, co-workers, neighbors, and so on. Or people who enjoy strong affinity to similar interests. In my case a few such instances stand out: children’s ministry and urban mission, as well as writing and editing to a lesser degree. While there is much to appreciate about these connections, the platform itself tends to lull users into a false sense of privacy, thinking that they can do whatever they want without consequences. I’m pretty jaded. But good grief. Facebook has been an eye-opener into the interior lives of some of the people I know. That’s all I will say about that.
Twitter is an open network. Users may follow you without any action from you. Likewise, you may follow them. To be sure, there is plenty of bad behavior on Twitter. The difference is you can simply stop following abusive users or if necessary, block them. With Facebook you can unfriend, ignore, and even block people. But typically Twitter users tend to follow the people they want to know, whereas Facebook is for tracking with people users already know at some level. And if you unfriend someone you know on Facebook, it can be awkward the next time you see them offline.
I prefer Twitter. It was not always that way. However, I have learned there is less drama than Facebook and greater ease of networking with people who have similar interests, and generally better platform simplicity.
Facebook wants to become clearing house central, the hub through which people experience and record their lives. Not just their online lives, but their whole lives. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the timeline on your profile and tell me what you see, starting at your birth. No judgements or conspiracy theories. Just an observation of the logical conclusion to Facebook’s admitted desire to create open connections between people. Ironic, given it is a closed network, yes?
There are many other networks out there, as well. I don’t use them. I simply don’t have time or interest. Not yet, anyway. I tried LinkedIn once, but it was one of the most pathetic excuses for social media I have ever experienced, rivaling classmates.com for irrelevance.
On the right hand column of this blog you will see my twitter feed. If you are so inclined you may follow me there. Or unfollow me. It’s up to you; my feelings won’t be hurt. Or you can find me at twitter.com/glenwoods.
What about you? Which social media do you prefer? Why?