I really do love a lot of what there is to love about social media. It’s just so, well, social. It strokes our ego and makes us feel loved. And we get to share how smart we are, or how great our vacations were, or who we know that is (semi-)famous. But enough about me…
Even with all that love and warm-fuzziness abounding, there are some downsides to social media. Here are seven things that drive me a little crazy about it:
- Linkbait headlines. I used to write newspaper headlines for a living, so I don’t begrudge a wee bit of clever deception in them. A few of the techniques used to draw even the most busy and cynical readers are probably fine. But some headline writers should be arrested and charged with fraud, tried by a jury of irritated Buzzfeed readers and sent away to prison with a lifelong ban on Internet access.
- LinkedIn’s new publishing platform. I really like that I can now cross-post whatever content I like, or even draft some original content for my LinkedIn followers. Except it completely plays to my competitive nature (and accompanying jealousy). Why? Some people’s posts get tens, even hundreds, of thousands of views, and my peerless prose gets a couple of dozen views and a like from my wife. What’s a guy gotta do to get some love from LinkedIn?
- Endless fluffy quotes on pretty flowery backgrounds. Oh, and those irritating some-e-cards, too (and their poor imitations). Sharing those sappy quotes or illustrated bon mots has got to be the most telltale sign of people who just don’t have enough to do at work. Or who are retired.
- Politics. If I really wanted to know how you felt about the President or the Tea Party, I wouldn’t be on Facebook. I want the cute kitties and ice buckets (although the latter has jumped the shark, just saying). Keep political discussions where they belong: on Fox News, MSNBC or in the letters to the editor section of your local newspaper where the three people who really care about the Constitutional implications of water pistol limits are steadfastly asserting their First Amendment rights. God bless ’em.
- Twitter’s endless stream. Well, more like a river. In flood stage. Don’t get me wrong; I love Twitter. But the tweets just keep on coming, and they just won’t stop! When I click over to check my Twitter feed — because it’s only been two minutes since I last looked — and before I can scroll down a couple of tweets, that damn status pops up: “View 317 new tweets (sucker)” OK, I added the “sucker” part, but I guess I just follow some pretty social folks — they certainly have a lot to tweet about! And yeah, I know there are all sorts of nifty filters or apps or lists and blah, blah, blah to cut down on the clutter. But really, who has the time to set all that up? If you want to use Twitter and have more followers than just your kids, I kind of feel like you should read it the way God intended: One tweet at a time.
- Listicles. Yeah, this blog post is one of them, I know. It’s what the public wants, and what they’ll click on. Who am I to question? But they still drive me a little crazy because they just seem so superficial, you know?
- Too much stuff — everywhere. There’s never enough time to read everything I’m interested in online. Just like with newspapers and magazines, I’ve found different ways to hoard and stash things, just digitally. I have RSS feeds and newsreaders and email subscriptions. I just added the extension for Pocket on my Safari browser, and I already have been overloading my bookmarks files. I tend to have about two dozen tabs open at the same time because I just can’t bring myself to closing anything before I’ve read it (“WAIT! I might need that someday!”). I even have copied URLs of articles, pasted them into the body of an email, and sent myself the email with a subject line of “Read This!!!” Yep, completely pathetic. I just can’t keep up, but goshdarnit, I’m going to keep trying.
There’s so much more. PEOPLE WHOSE CAPS LOCK MUST BE STUCK. The modest braggarts (“So humbled to receive this award…”). Writing just for SEO and not quality. The list could go on and on…
So, what drives you a little crazy about social media? Take a minute and do the social thing: share your thoughts with others in the comments!