I think of social media as an ever-growing tower block, each new medium, each new platform, is another floor on the top of the building, another, brief, penthouse before the next one comes along. People ride the social media elevator from floor to floor like excited party-goers running from function to function, each one offering a new, exciting way to connect, and each connection slightly more diluted than the last.
(An extended metaphor embedded within an extended metaphor, but you get the idea, hopefully)
Me, I left the party early. I got off around about the third floor while the levels above me grew and grew until they’re far out of sight, way above the clouds. I’m still close enough to the ground-floor mall that I can nip down and get coffee. Far enough away from the party to enjoy the quiet. I do sometimes wonder what I’m missing, but when I go and have a peep at the latest social media platform I usually come away feeling like I’ve crashed, like the aftermath of a sugar high. It takes me a few hours to get back to a state of equilibrium.
Thing is, I like connection, I’m human, obviously, but the connections offered by social media are increasingly thin and tenuous. I suspect the entire, shiny edifice is built from information gleaned from us as we interact. Our social bones are ground into paste and reformed into the foundations of the next platform.*
The ultimate social media platform will be pure information, it will be a collection of everything everyone has ever known and done, everyone will be using it to reach out, but no-one quite managing to connect with anyone else.
*Apologies for the stream of metaphors, but they are the tools I use when I’m trying to understand an emerging concept.