There are two extremes when it comes to social media—those who think it’s the most amazing thing to happen this millennium and don’t know how we ever lived without it, and those who hate it, think it’s a complete waste of time, and believe we should all go back to corresponding by phone and the postal service. Bloggers generally fall toward the OMG AMAZING end of the spectrum, but I think I fall somewhere in the middle.
Let’s talk about what I love first. Obviously, I love blogging. I love, love, LOVE Facebook, partly because I’ve probably been on it longer than you, unless you’re one of my college friends or you were an Ivy League student in the spring of 2004. Boston-area schools were on it pretty early, when it was still Thefacebook.com. I was actually slightly late to the party—I held out until December of 2004, when Erin guilted me into it by saying that when she clicked on our dorm room number, I was the only person in our suite who didn’t show up. (Yep, it used to do that—a fun way of finding out who people’s roommates were.) I’ve told you about how much I love my Google Reader (damn you, Google, for the changes you’re making to it!). And I love sites based on a specific interest, like 20sb and Goodreads.
But there are a lot of things on the Internet whose popularity makes me scratch my head. Here are some of them:
-Twitter. I know, I know, I’m one of the very few bloggers out there who doesn’t also use Twitter, but really, I just do not like it. I find it very aesthetically displeasing, for one thing. All those @s and #s and RTs look so damn ugly to me. I don’t like how it forces people to use abbreviations and misspellings because of the character limit. And I’ve never quite gotten the point of it. If you have something quick to say, can’t you just make a Facebook status update? Plus, I know a lot of people are just on it to follow celebrities, but I guess I’m not interested enough in any celebs to be willing to do that. I’ll “like” them on Facebook instead.
I don’t know. I think Twitter speaks to our collective lack of attention span or something—I just find it fundamentally bothersome that people’s thoughts and feelings can be reduced to badly-spelled, misused-symbol-heavy, 140-character posts. I really hope Twitter goes the way of Myspace (for the record, I was never on Myspace, either—all those teenagers with glittery pages where music played when you opened them turned me off).
-Foursquare. Back in the days of AIM, I felt the need to let the world know where I was at all times, but I’ve long since outgrown that. Now, here’s where I sound like a Luddite, but really—if you want to know where I am, can’t you just call me and ask?
-Tumblr. So, I guess technically Tumblr is a blogging platform, but that’s not what people use it for. Mostly, they just share pictures that they find elsewhere on the Internet. And they follow their friends on it and join groups to find the kind of pictures they want and “reblog” the pictures they find from other people. I really, really don’t get it. I don’t even like blogs that have too many pictures in them—I want to READ blogs, not look at photo albums. So I definitely don’t get posts that consist of only one picture.
-Pinterest. This is kind of like taking computer bookmarks and Tumblr pictures, combining them, and laying them out in bulletin board format. I sort of see the appeal of this because you can find new links through it, but it’s nothing I’d want for myself. If I see something I want to bookmark, I just bookmark it.
-Fashion blogging. Now, there are zillions of these out there, so someone must be reading them, but I can’t imagine why. I admit I’m a bit biased because, despite being a pink-wearing, chick-flick-loving girly girl, I’m not the slightest bit interested in fashion. But, no offense, but I genuinely don’t understand why anyone should care what outfit you wore today. If you find a good theme, like Jill did, I get the appeal of that, but I find 99% of fashion blogs ridiculously boring.
I know, I know, GET OFF MY LAWN, KIDS! But I guess the point I’m getting to is that despite the way some people talk about it, social media is not an all-or-nothing thing. Even if you don’t share all my specific views, you probably have your own opinions about what sites you like and don’t like. So I think it’s a bit silly to say you love or hate ALL social media, because the odds are that you probably don’t. I don’t love social media. I love Facebook, blogging, Google Reader, 20sb, and Goodreads. And plenty of people out there have views that are the reverse of mine—Kerri, for instance, loves Twitter but deactivated her Facebook account.
What about you? What do you love and what do you hate out there on the World Wide Web?