Sunday, February 5, 2012

Social Media Fatigue is a Relativity Thing

I have been reading a lot about the concept of social media fatigue.  This idea which simply states that people are totally worn out from the cacophony of engaging with each other over a virtual world.  In fact, I read an article on Yahoo! about a guy who totally unplugged from all things social: email, facebook, twitter, even his cell phone.  I found the article interesting  (link here) because I remember a time when I had none of these accessories.  In fact, I often benchmark social history for some strange reason with the movie Less than Zero because I remember these raucous 20 somethings going on LA base drug adventures without the use of cell phones or even pagers for that matter.  When people couldn't triangulate each others whereabouts they simply dealt with it. 

In fact, as a teenager, I was fortunate to have a mother that had one simple rule on the weekends.  She would say to me, "I don't care how many times you call, but the last phone number on that answering machine better be the one of the house where I can find you". Can you imagine parents today dealing with such rules?  No friggin way.  Today, we are afraid (me included) to let the kids walk across the street to their friends house on a cul-de-sac because they read a story online that someone's kid disappeared walking that far.  Or if they do go, we need them to text us when they get there.  The technology leash helps allay the fear.  Irrational or not!

Or how about that my first job was working for Heaven Sent Couriers (R.I.P).  Who is Heaven Sent Couriers?  The genius business created by my sister's friends step father that had a team of people who worked on bicycles delivering letters and packages across town the same day!  You could call us and we would come by your office, pick up the letter and deliver it across town in less that an hour!  You didn't hav to wait days before you would receive that letter locally.  A 16 year old kid making $250 bucks a week would give it to you quickly.  This guys made tons of money running this know the end of the story.

It is amazing what technology does isn't it?  It sounds sophomoric to say so, but the reality is with technology the world shrinks and the noise has gotten louder.  And unless you are ADD, dealing with the noise can be deafening. 

Where am I going with this?  I am not sure, but the story about the guy on facebook really struck a cord.  I think where I am going is just how pervasive social media is and how much it has impacted our society as a whole.  As a teenager, I like many my age had a distinct punk rock phase.  A phase in my life where I would wear combat boots, go to shows every week with my friend Yuriy, slam dance and simply talk about the angst towards society for fun. 

If you think about it, that type of angst is totally dead in our society.  Why do I think it is dead?  Because no matter how edgy you think you are, you are really just a slave to technology that is being monetized by corporate America.  If the people I hung out with during that period of my life could see today from the where they were in the 80's (where we called each other, said we would meet each other somewhere and just wait till everyone got there...or hell we would just go to a spot and see who was there) they would call everyone posers.  Why?  Because every single cause, change agent or otherwise needs the social technology they have to actually accomplish anything today.  If you boycott it, you are just denying what will never change.  You need the technology to simply exist.  You can't have fatigue.  If you do, you can't connect with the world anymore.  And if you can't connect with the world in the language of the world, it is hard to get ahead in it.  So sure, cutting yourself off would be refreshing, but the reality is that being a contrarian is not the same as it once was.  You have to be a conformer in order to even be a contrarian because your message will be drowned out by the crowd.

Punk Rock? I can use Pandora to listen to my old favorites I remember and even the one's I don't.  My Combat Boots?  I can probably find the exact make and model online on either Ebay or  Yuriy?  I found him on facebook about a month ago.  He is a venture capitalist. My angst towards society from my youth?  It is lying all over this blog called the innovationmusings as I have taken up the cause of being a change agent...because I am by nature a contrarian. 

The only thing I would say is this...

I embrace the change, because as a liberal capitalist who is objective about all opinions (doesn't matter the politcal party or belief), it is better to think about how your enemy thinks rather than simply wag your finger at them in an attempt to scold them to your point of view.

I often say as a member of the social media typhoon...change is my business and business is good.

Imagine what social media will look like in 10 more years.  

Hopefully that asshole out there with a contrarian bee up their butt to invent SkyNet is allergic to bees and gets stung by one...or there will be a whole lot more people that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger around that I care to imagine....

And a tribute to the greatest punk band that neverwas...

RUIN (from Philly) had the best version of white rabbit ever performed...

it is below...


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