Tag Archives: Social Media

Signal Vs. Noise

Social networking should be a force of good. In theory, it’s great a great way to be more aware of what’s going on in the lives of the people around us – the people who matter.

In practice, we lack moderation. Not only are we checking our phones every five minutes, but worse still: we collect “friends”, who are sometimes just people with whom we have exchanged two or three words in a social situation. Or we add colleagues whom we have not seen or talked to for more than a decade; people who were once friends but are now as alien to us as random passerby. Or worse still: movie or television stars who do not spend even a moment contemplating our existence.

And so, our social networks become a sea of ​​noise that only holds tangential meaning to us, but that we are always checking. Just in case…

Here’s what I did about it: I unfollowed on Twitter anyone with whom I had not had a conversation within the last 3 years.

I went from 266 people to only 60. And just today, I’ve seen more interesting updates – from people who really matter – than in those last 3 years.

As for the authors of your favorite books, the lead guitarists of your most loved bands, the actors from the TV series that you like best … They already have your attention when you consume their products. Don’t also allocate to them the attention that is best awarded to people who are actual part of your life.

These networks are called “social” because they are meant to be an extension of our social lives. Not a way to live vicariously the social lives of others.

Painting: “Jupiter, Mercury and the Virtue” by Dosso Dossi.

What Facebook Did

What Facebook did was essentially to make blogging have no entry cost. 

It did away with the expectation that a post had to be a piece of well-drafted prose of a certain length. One-liners are OK in Facebook. 

It did away with the intimidating backend. You write your stuff in the same place where you see it.

It did away with promotion and discovery. Your stuff is beamed to everyone else as soon as you post it (just like you get everyone else’s stuff.)

After that, it was just a matter of reaching critical mass.

The problem is one of ownership and archiving. What you publish on Facebook is mostly lost to the ether. There’s no easy way to keep track of it all or export it. If someone wants to know your thoughts about the book that you read three years ago, it’s there, but not that easy to find. 

If you don’t care for the stuff you write (or paint, or draw, or compose), Facebook is a great platform.

But why should anyone else care about it, if you don’t?