The Social Media Era
I hate small talk. We all have a very limited amount of time on this planet, so why waste it talking about trivial things that won’t result in any growth or challenge your thinking? Anyway, during one of my recent conversations with a friend, we started discussing the impact of social media on the world around us as well as to us specifically. This column will discuss my thoughts regarding the matter and the common conclusion we arrived at.
The conversation initiated because my friend is a media student with knowledge/experience in marketing, and she noticed certain shifts in how media is consumed and produced due to the rise of social media, think 20 years ago when people would read extensive articles in the newspaper to keep up to date on current events in comparison to now where a tweet comprising of 280 characters is enough.
In marketing, the goal is always to get the attention of the public while providing as much information as possible. However, these days people aren’t as willing to read through a long text about a product they might not be interested in, so marketers have been using less words and more design work to catch the consumer’s eye. This shift showcases how the average attention span of people has been greatly reduced due to the social media era.
Furthermore, the rise of TikTok also took a toll on my attention span. Prior to the TikTok era, I would generally watch YouTube videos during my free time or while eating. YouTube videos are generally a lot longer than TikTok videos, but I was able to maintain focus for the entire length of the video. On the contrary, I can’t sit through a TikTok video that lasts longer than two minutes. At first I thought maybe this was just some ADHD tendencies on my part, so I started asking a few friends for their insight and they all agreed with my line of reasoning and noticed similar patterns in their own lives.
The common conclusion was simple: “Social media sucks!”
The conversation continued on to discussing how social media boosts dopamine making it difficult to stay away from, some features they include to ensure users return daily, and how it has further shifted beauty standards to even more unrealistic levels. Naturally, there are good aspects to the social media era which we also discussed, i.e. the sense of community, ease of contact, and the opportunities it provides to creatives especially. However, I’m pretty sure if I make this column even longer, not even my closest friends would read it.