Hi kids. Welcome to today’s instalment of Curmudgleon Corner. This entry is brought to you by equal parts fading relevance and inherent disinterest. I might even throw a smidgeon of wilful dismissal for good measure.
My slowpoke nature with social media is nothing new. I think the only thing I was ever ahead of the curve on was OK Cupid before it was a dating site. I think I filled in a bunch of quizzes, then eventually found my quiz hub to be a nexus of online connection. I never had a Myspace page. I joined Facebook only after it was apparent that it wasn’t leaving any time soon (and flat out refused to participate in the insipid act of trading “pokes”. I had a Bebo briefly in order to access my brothers’ travelling pictures. I got a Twitter account last year, but only at my editor’s insistence. I’ve never Vined, I think I posted 3 or so Instagram pictures. Snapchat seems dumb and not worth investing time in. I still look at Youtube as a repository for short clips as opposed to a viable content distribution network. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves here, TV in the not too distant future is gonna be a combination of online streaming and peer to peer distribution à la whatever Bittorrent is in 15 years. The smart thing would be to adapt to this changing world by going with the flow and embracing the obvious direction in which we’re all travelling.
I mustn’t be that smart though, clearly. I value longform communication, which seems to be increasingly outmoded in today’s quick-stim rapid fire society. Despite my lack of smarts in adopting these mediums, I’m not a total troglodyte. I understand the use of each platform, they just don’t appeal to me. They’re about correctly utilising conventions, right? Twitter is about instant wit. Instagram is about the placing the mundane on a pedestal of exceptionality through shared experience. Snapchat and Vine are about pushing back against restrictions to create something larger than life.
Still, my innate response to most of these is to sigh or roll my eyes. In my head these things are stupid and meaningless, while in reality they hold increasing validity as time passes. I overheard someone in publicity today complaining that an overly lengthy hashtag wouldn’t trend. Co-workers discussed how to get more followers on their Facebook business page Others complained that their boyfriends never knew what to gift them with, despite the fact that it was obvious had the boyfriends ever cast an eye to their Pinterest board.
It all sounds so trifling to me, but if I don’t adapt I’m gonna be left behind. People do place importance in these things, there’s an unbelievable amount of commerce tied up in them. Forget paid blogging, I’m sure there are paid Twitterers. There’s high quality programming being created for Youtube with millions of views. Monetisation of attention has always been and will continue to be a very real thing. All the while my old world beliefs will be lost in time like tears in rain.
I think Abe Simpson said it best:
“I used to be with it, but then they changed what *it* was. Now what I’m with isn’t *it*, and what’s *it* seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you…”