How having too much of a good thing hurts my social media

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chart: Zeynep Tufekci via DesignTaxi I don’t want to be a hypocrite, but I think that there’s a bit of masochism going on here. I’m posting less and…

How having too much of a good thing hurts my social media

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chart: Zeynep Tufekci via DesignTaxi

I don’t want to be a hypocrite, but I think that there’s a bit of masochism going on here.

I’m posting less and chatting more on social media – and it’s hurting.

The reason is I care about the internet and I’m impatient. Every post is a chance to make friends and, usually, it’s a chance to make a new friend. So when I do make one, I want to make it as good as I can.

In an ideal world, I’d be able to have it all. I’d have an online community that’s near and dear to my heart and I’d write about it. I’d have something to say. And, I’d have a way to tell everybody else what I was thinking.

What a waste, though. I spend so much time making and talking on social media and I’m punished with fewer friends than I used to have.

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’ve got two pals on Instagram and the feeling of connection is great. And I do tweet.

But I’m not sure I want to be, well, out there, all the time.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chart: Zeynep Tufekci via DesignTaxi

Even if the internet did magically improve how people use it, that would mean I could make friends with almost everybody I met in my early days in these cyberspace dust baths. So I’d still want to be having meaningful conversations.

So the reasons I’m not posting more and chatting more are:

The law of diminishing returns: I know I’ll lose even more friends if I spend more time online.

I know I’ll lose even more friends if I spend more time online. Non-profit: Maybe I should donate to charity. Maybe I should write another article. Maybe I should do something else. I really don’t know which way to go.

Maybe I should donate to charity. Maybe I should write another article. Maybe I should do something else. I really don’t know which way to go. All the self-congratulatory people: I don’t want to bother making you feel better about how smart you are.

So when someone from my network of online friends sends me a strange link I want to be a friend to them more than I want to be a friend to any of my friends online.

This all happened because I took the advice of a US research team, the ‘experts’ who claimed to know the secret to a better internet. And they set me up on a giant coffee bar at a conference.

Next to me on the bar was a few people, including the internet expert I’d been chatting to. And I watched them talking to each other and I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to be one of them.

The internet expert said I shouldn’t type and chat. I should post videos instead. But sometimes I’m just more efficient by typing instead. And I noticed that the people at the bar were finding my writing about interesting things more entertaining than my pictures.

Who knew?

So as I tried to chat to them and read their stuff I realised I really wanted to talk to them even more. And I wanted to do that more than I wanted to watch their stuff.

The internet expert said you should have a signal problem on your mobile phone. I just happened to have an AT&T signal problem on my iPhone and a wifi signal problem on my laptop. So I couldn’t send as many texts as I needed. It probably would have been better to just stop talking. But I’ve had it as well.

So I decided that the internet expert had got it right after all. I’m not interested in being boring. I’m just interested in being smart. And I’m ready to spend time talking.

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