A quick perusal of my facebook feed yields the following:

  • meme posted by a friend
  • picture posted by a friend
  • advertisement for a movie
  • family pictures posted by a friend
  • status update by a friend
  • post from a group that was commented on by two friends
  • status update by a friend
  • status update by a friend
  • post that was commented on in a group by a friend
  • sponsored post about a credit card, with a list of friends who ‘liked’ that page

Social media thrives on attention. Based on the ten items above (a relatively random sample, taken by scrolling all the way down a few pages), showed 20% sponsored content, 20% content not relating to anything I was seeking out, and 30% status updates (random thoughts from friends), 10% meme, 20% pictures. It can only be assumed that the attention goals of the ads to get views/attention/likes and generate sales. For photos, perhaps get comments and interaction. Status updates, the goal might be to have a brief conversation. The group conversations’ goal is to drive more conversation.

I’ve been pondering lately if any of the above is actually meaningful to me. Sure, I’m connected to people, many of them who are people I enjoy knowing. But are my friendships strengthened? Am I learning something new, be it about life or anything else?

I feel like I say all the time that I want to get together with friends and catch up and have coffee, but more often than not, I just see them online. This is as true for long-distance friends as it is for those who are local. Social media has made me feel a lot less social. Why catch up when I’ve seen what you want to catch up about?

Is the constant sharing, the quick bytes of information, even leaving us with less room to think critically and reflect more on our own lives? The sheer volume being posted to facebook alone is staggering. When we’re so busy posting every little thing, we’re no doubt missing the big picture.