The title, idea, and other credits for this blog post go to Venkatesh Rao and their most recent post, The Internet of Beefs. The cover image reminds me of what interacting on social media is like: a feedback loop.
It has almost become a necessary evil at this point.
You want to stay connected with your friends, but then you read Joe Schmoe's post about some political issue, and then... the comments...
Venkatesh talks about a programming system that is prone solely to crashing and recovering to its capacity, whether or not that is a full recovery. This system is evaluated in parallel to a type of digital interaction flow. In this flow, certain types of interactions can only be liked, reshared, and/or retweeted. If one disagrees in the slightest, the person in question immediately is required to defend themselves or inevitably become a catastrophically negative digital presence, as they are seen as the antithesis to what, in reality, is virtue signaling. This flow is unfortunately encouraged by the most popular social media applications for a variety of reasons. Engagement is one of the most key of these reasons, as ad dollars are statically worth more, ceteris paribus, when there are more active users blissfully, willfully, possibly aggressively, and, at times, dogmatically stating their important worldviews. Even Joe Rogan, "the Fear Factor guy," tweeted "Social Media is making us dumber."
Taking a step away from that rabbit hole of pessimism, ideas should proliferate and abound in general, and folks are blessed with the ability to grow a presence, connect with friends, talk with long-distance loved ones remotely, and, most importantly, meme it up ( where do you think the cover image came from :)
Taking an adjacent step,...
...we can move into the world of business social media. (There are quite a few miles to step through in this digital world). How a business interacts with potential customers and the general Internet public, the culture it takes on operationally, and the points of view it places out into the wild, wild west will play a role into how it is perceived. A successful business started in the last 30 years without social media in today's world is either operated by geniuses, has the first-to-market advantage, is solely B2B/a distributor/not sales oriented, or is an incumbent. Even with those inputs, social media can still be beneficial to the brand presence, as having a presence can possibly attract leads that wouldn't have known about the business otherwise.
This is yet another rabbit hole, but my quick point is, again: social media seems to have become a necessity. At times this necessity writes off the unfortunate expense of users' addiction to their phone and the dopamine release of digital approvals via positive reinforcement. Cameron Sepah, an opinionated investor and executive coach, started #dopaminefasting as a trend to challenge folks to purge themselves from types of artificial dopamine release. Operators can accidentally shoot themselves in the foot in a business sense, accidentally implying themes unintended.
My team and I are a big fan of not using social media for the wrong reasons. Subjectively, wrong can be defined in a number of ways. However, even a light set of self-imposed digital rules is likely beneficial!
I have learned to write a social media blog post, and portray consistent, strong theses within reason because my team taught me that if businesses post "bland" topics, their website ranking may decline. In a world where direct-to-consumer businesses thrive off of social media, I cannot afford to write "bland" posts, even if they are factually-based and analytical in nature! Otherwise, we might as well entirely stay off social as a team.. That would be an interesting take.
This post is definitely a reminder to me and to whoever would like a reminder on this subject:...
...watch what you say online, pay attention to the trend of how freely others speak online, and make sure your posts are not purposed with malicious or genuinely superficial intent.
Comment your thoughts; this topic is fortunately very much open for discussion!
- with peace, Julian