Since the beginning, I have secretly questioned the ramifications of a participation in social media. How much do I want to ‘share’? I have had a Facebook page for a few years, and a minimal participation in Twitter and Linkedin, but some aspects of this process have led me to further question this form of communication. I have always been leery of sharing anything ‘personal’ on social media, as I consider them as the average person’s tabloids and hesitate to make public aspects of my personal life that others seem unconcerned to share. If you say something on a social media site, basically you are saying it to the entire world.
Some individuals use people’s Facebook pages to shamelessly over-promote themselves and inundate your page with their content, or worse, may post inappropriate content… which is more than I bargained for.
Social media are like shop windows – they allow people to display written, audio and visual content to the public at large, and therefore in a way are similar to web sites, although people may consider much more carefully the type of content they place on a web site. Also when some people put questionable content (statements and are politically incorrect or shocking) on social media and it may come back to them with a vengeance as we have seen in recent events.
Social media are business darlings, from the consumer product companies who are looking for approval and endorsement of their goods, to nonprofit organizations who look at social media as a no-cost outlet for networking. I have attended a few seminars that extolled social media for the arts. However, from a practical standpoint, the time involved in getting in touch, chatting with and checking communication streams on a social media site would eat up some hours of the day, and with questionable results. It becomes too much of a ‘business’, and even though I realize that arts business is very important, it should never be as important as the creative process in its own uniqueness and quality, which seems to be easily forgotten. Whenever, in the balance of activities, I see that the ‘business’ takes more time than the creative, something is wrong.
Also there are times when I need my privacy so that I can maintain a focus on my creative, undisturbed by social demands of any kind. I do love people, but I tend to alternate periods when I see people and periods when I don’t. As far as social media, I participate when I have some valuable content to share, just not any junk because there is a thirst for the new, and it may take a long time before I have something I deem worthy of sharing in my shop windows.
Although I haven’t even dared to publicly express my doubts about the efficacy and coolness of social media, I found a study by Laura Portwood-Stacer, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) entitled: Media refusal and conspicuous non-consumption: The performative and political dimensions of Facebook abstention.
This is the abstract:
“This paper is a study of consumer resistance among active abstainers of the Facebook social network site. I analyze the discourses invoked by individuals who consciously choose to abstain from participation on the ubiquitous Facebook platform. This discourse analysis draws from approximately 100 web and print publications from 2006 to early 2012, as well as personal interviews conducted with 20 Facebook abstainers. I conceptualize Facebook abstention as a performative mode of resistance, which must be understood within the context of a neoliberal consumer culture, in which subjects are empowered to act through consumption choices – or in this case non-consumption choices – and through the public display of those choices. I argue that such public displays are always at risk of misinterpretation due to the dominant discursive frameworks through which abstention is given meaning. This paper gives particular attention to the ways in which connotations of taste and distinction are invoked by refusers through their conspicuous displays of non-consumption. This has the effect of framing refusal as a performance of elitism, which may work against observers interpreting conscientious refusal as a persuasive and emulable practice of critique. The implication of this is that refusal is a limited tactic of political engagement where media platforms are concerned.”
So apparently, I am not the only one to have doubts about the ethical, philosophical and professional aspects of social media.