On the advice of a fellow blogger, I revisited the perennial question about social media: on the whole, does it do more harm than good?
The consensus is generally something like, “Yes, but only if you spend too much time on the Internet.” Moderation, moderation. To which I ask: does anyone just Facebook a little bit? Are we all hypocrites?
Everyone knows the knocks against social networking. It doesn’t mean they aren’t true: I disabled my Facebook profile for several months, but like an addict, came back. At first it was just to moderate a group of artists, but I gradually realized the main reason I relapsed was a sense of loss: it was too much to miss out on the visual histories and triumphs of my ether-friends. That’s the honest truth. Frankly, social networking encouraged a less than admirable tendency to follow some friends more than others. I didn’t want to be left behind in their lives.
On another note, social media is kind of fascinating, in that it represents a communal effort to build, or at least frame, our lives in a favorable light. This isn’t news for most, but I don’t think it’s entirely negative. Our albums and avatars create visual narrative, and we affirm them through sharing and “liking” them in a kind of forum. It’s basically the most popular role-playing game, and the most significantly creative act most people participate in on a regular basis. I’ve also found Facebook useful for collaborating with other writers and our contributors, and monitoring the traffic we get on our site.
So I’m on the fence for now.
– David Pulido