Lena Dunham and Jaden Smith have both publically quit Twitter in search of chiller pastures at different points. Jaden Smith got back on after apparently missing it, but Zayn Malik, Miley Cyrus and James Franco have all taken twitter hiatuses, some intending to be permanent. One can see how the exhaustion of social media can hit hard when you experience breaches of privacy or the troll hordes, being ultra mega famous and all that. Is the youth about to mass exodus from social media to more authentic lives in some kind of post-Twitter world of more privacy? Or is the overwhelming trend in the ultra-public direction going to overwhelm us?
Twitter users over the past 6 years:
The rumors of teens and tweens leaving Twitter for Instagram and Snapchat may carry some interesting relevancy, but the sheer numbers and interviews with real teens (yes I’m too far removed to just consult a bunch of them myself) seem to speak to a different story.
As someone who experiences a type of internet addiction, pulling the social plug does have its allure
No one is forcing us to be on social media, so is it my addictive personality that’s causing the return to the immediacy, tension and anxiety of the social media world? I’ve heard people refer to social media as causing ‘triggers’ for addictions like sex and chemicals, is it partly because we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others who are showing only their best sides on social? *Besides the trolling.
Do you experience 'Social Media fatigue'?
— Tim Brown (@timbdesignmpls) April 26, 2016
My very official original research shows celebrities and I are not the only ones experiencing the kind of fatigue that comes from checking your phone every 5 minutes to see if something ‘important’ is happening. For me, it can be news, social media craziness, or important business e-mails so it’s not as easy as just writing the tick off as nothing.
Perhaps it’s just the over-exposure that’s turning some younger people off to social
You don’t have to be neurotically checking your phone to see the potential drawbacks to social media. When it comes to privacy, never have we been giving so much information about our habits and whereabouts as we of the socially connected generations are now. We trade the data about our lives for increased relevancy in advertising, more connectedness of info to friends and acquaintances, and more information about ourselves.
Does any of this have relevance for digital marketers?
I do create websites, and websites store cookies – I hook up google analytics and other tools and learn to wield them for the increased effectiveness of my marketing toolset. So for my purposes, these things aren’t scary but useful to help people connect with other people. But just like any tool, it’s not good or evil unless the person whose hands it is in has plans to help or harm people.
As we see more stories come out about abuse of power with data, there will likely be changes in behaviors for generations that follow us and their preferences for sharing that information about themselves. But the overwhelming momentum and conveniences that these services bring are undeniable, and most will have even more dependence on technology than the last. I’d like to think that companies will be rewarded for being prudent with the data they glean, be financially rewarded en masse, and continue to treat confidentiality seriously for the sake of their bottom line and the good of all. Use the data when it makes people’s experience better and avoid using it just to service themselves without benefit to the individual – the golden rule in full effect.
In search of the authentic social media life
A couple final words on using the internet responsibly – we don’t have to edit ourselves so vigorously, and should share our cabinet of curiosities. We can recognize how curated most people’s social presence is and take it with a grain of salt. We can integrate more reality, occasionally difficult, nitty-gritty and in-progress elements of our lives on social to the degree which is appropriate for the medium.
For me, that means showing things I’m working on in web design, not just the finished product. Sharing difficulties with my process, and growing pains with dealing with client relationships learning to set better expectations and become a better version of myself. Slowly but surely, in stops and starts. Thanks for being part of all of that.