I’ve commented before on the fabulousness of social media in saving the world etc and am a great fan (despite being on a protest sabbatical from spacebook) but I haven’t discussed the evil side, in particular its effect on (ahem ok I am using the word) ’serious’ reading and writing generally (at least for me).
We know social media has plenty of pros. There’s the ability to share your work and read other people’s work. There’s the feedback and interaction. There is the ability to find stories and contacts and check out trends. There is the accessibilityand exposure to different ideas and people instantly and constantly. This should all be excellent for creativity and writing generally right?
Yes and no, for me anyway. This is where the evil side comes in. The side that cuts your attention span so that if you are not constantly bombarded with a cacaphonous stream of message relayed through various technologies you get impatient. The side that has this dumbing down effect where the more information you have, the less you know. The side where you lazily let your opinion on a complex political or social issues be summed up in a status update or140 character tweet (why bother writing that 1000 word feature or opinion piece I was planning when I could avail myself of such a witty and succint mode of self-expression?) Not to mention the massive waste of time spent procrastinating over the pointless and inane.
I am sure I have many detractors who will rhapsodise on the joys of debate and artistic expression running wild in the social media sphere.
I do admit there some cyber gems to be found, but with the jadedness of a true believer I can’t help feeling a little nostalgic for the days when silence from technology did not feel deafening and where thought had a depth that went in a classically linear line instead of these postmodern tangents all running into each other.
What has social media done for your writing and creativity generally?