Where social media failed me

140 characters, 10 second stories, a single image with caption, or a “ping-pong” looping video. At first I flocked to these new, young and hip services for my social fix. They presented a challenge in the form of a constraint; a stark contrast to the the giant monolithic blue with its one-size-fits-all damn near anything goes (as far as type of content. Racial or objectionable content is a rant in and of itself). Following the herd, I jumped ship, abandoning my blue-mobile in favor of this alacarte lifestyle. Self destructing videos, 140 character microblogs, image boxes and looping videos became my diet, and I fulfilling my end of the social media bargain created my own.

“How could I best utilize this small space?”

These small, almost arbitrary limits at first inspired me. They forced me to watch every character, allocate every second, and meticulously crop, adjust and caption images. The result was of high quality (for my standards, at the time). Likewise, everyone else dealing with these constraints, did amazing. It was a wonderful age for content. So much and so high quality, would it last?

Would it last?

The services that one did one thing and one thing really well, blurred. Before long, the simple easy to use destructive picture message application was more. It gained public stories, news and publication plugs, motion-tracked filters, and even payments! What was once a fast, slim and lean app on my phone became large, sluggish and buggy. The clear, defined roles of each mini social media platform, became less defined. I felt betrayed, lied to. And by this point I was in too deep. Let me rephrase; my friends were in too deep.

Media with a purpose

While each media platform had its quirks, gimmicks and features, the only value was in its user base or more specifically, my friends. At its core, social media is a communications channel.

I don’t want to see pictures of cats. I can get that with a simple Google search or reddit session. I want to see pictures of my friends cats.

Joking aside, it’s really my friends I want to see on social media. Be it their thoughts, photos, or whereabouts. Anything that stands in-between the content I want (my friends) and I, detracts from the “social” aspect of a platform.

My friends were in too deep.

Without a doubt some platforms are better than others, but ultimately the deciding factor is where my friends are. This presents an awkward situation. There's no way to push a platform, without being pushy. As a result were often stuck with the choice of the least technically savvy’s preference.

Combined with the aforementioned problems of social media becoming the de-facto media, not only is the ship sinking, I’m stuck on the ship. Far too many times I’ve jumped ship, hoping for “the one” but it never was. Here I am again on a new ship, SV Medium, in hope that this ship, doesn’t stray from its course.

Image Credit Firkin via openclipart.org
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