Business

Reasons to hate social media

By Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson

Wednesday, October 02, 2013    

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It is true that even today not many people have taken to social media. Some are not fond of it and there are friends who downright hate it. Many of us think that it is a fad that will disappear like bell-bottom or stone-washed jeans. The rest of us think that it is an absolutely annoying waste of time, serving no earthly purpose. The naysayers who have held tough on their dislike of social media have some strong arguments. Let's hear them out.

There are those who walk among us who believe that social media will go the way of the Dodo, you know, that extinct flightless bird, Raphus cucullatus. It is, they say a flash in the pan, passing fashion that will die away. I am not so sure about that because social media seems to have existed for a long time and does not seem to disappearing any time soon. In fact, its channels seem to be multiplying and morphing in different ways. Long before Mark Zuckerberg (net worth US$19.8 billion) made one of its channels, Facebook, sexy, there were chat-rooms and the facility of instant messaging, remember? Chat rooms gave us exactly what the now-a-days social media do, on-line communities which facilitates conversation and engagement. Back in the day, in the 1990s, you could palaver and meet the most unsavory characters, trolling the internet looking for an anonymous good time in any and every chat-room. Ahhh, for the good ole pre-Instagram days, that nameless, faceless time when there were no vanity photos behind which you could hide.

But wait, has anything changed? Social media has remained the same, you can be as faceless and nameless as you wish, just ask those of us who "use" (meaning we steal) pictures of people with buffed, beach bodies, though in real life they are very ordinary people, some fluffy, some mawga, living quiet lives of desperation. Although it has changed, somewhat social media then, still does what it did a couple decades ago, tightly binds us together, dysfunctional as we all are, at some point in our lives. Where we meet up, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, that is, the channels may differ, but the purpose is the same. Why hate? Appreciate.

"I hate social media because it gives people somewhere to tell lies on other people and spread wrong information around the globe very quickly." Many of us now think that it is social media that has put greater wings on the swift mischievous feet of lies, rumors and gossip. I do not think this is totally true. In my few short decades on planet earth I do not believe that there is a limit to the speed at which the human tongue will spread lies and tall tales.

If rumour-mongering was an Olympic event, you and I know at least three persons who would be recurrent Gold medal winners. Participating, though they would be, in a different sporting category, they would put our Golden Wonder, Usain Bolt to great shame. Indeed, the Olympic organisers would have to invent a platinum or some such other medal to hang on the sorry necks of these evil gossipers who wait anxiously by the phone to hear and deliver their latest sack of foul stories. I would not blame the advent of social media too much for spreading false information; the mobile phone can take also credit for a lot of this damage. Social media just give these purveyors of pernicious poison, more pairs of ears and eyes. Of course, the other side of the story is that people are not very keen on self-editing and put way too much of themselves on-line in social media for the wicked world to see. Unfortunately, the public media is unforgiving and only time will heal the wounds if you misguidedly choose to out your business out there for all. As William Shakespeare's Cassius said to Brutus, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, (or in this, case social media). But in ourselves, that we are underlings".

"Social media is a waste of time." The most precious commodity on earth I know is your time. It is very limited and one never knows when it will come to an end. It therefore amazes me how much time we waste in meaningless activities. Have you ever thought of counting up the hours that you spend watching some mind-numbing programme on the television, the "boob tube" (Honey Boo-Boo, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, need I say more?). As human beings we love to overdo activities that give us pleasure and call it an "addiction". Social media merely provides an additional way that we can utilise our time around the computer. The choice is ours whether we use the time we spend on social media to spread good or bad karma.

Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson, (MBA, ABC) is a Business Communications Consultant with

RO Communications Jamaica, specializing in business communications and financial publications. She can be contacted at: yvonne@rocommunications.com. Visit her website at www.rocommunications.com and post your comments.

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