I have mentioned my trouble with certain forms of social media before. Simply because I don’t see the real value (for myself) and that I also have a problem with that ‘I have to be on there, always, to update the world about my life’s situation’ kind of feeling. I still don’t get it why Twitter is big while SMS texting is less. It is a world of millions upon millions of people yelling their life story to everyone who would like to hear it. Picture that going on in Washington Square Park at 2pm. Everyone would avoid even going there.
But complaining is easy. I am Dutch, so I am good at it too. I am happy when I complain. And there is so much to complain about, which I like to lay out sometimes in this blog. But my blog postings become fewer with more time in-between, which might indicate that I start to sometimes just don’t care. I don’t agree, but nobody says I have to agree with everything in life, and that the world of IT should be the way I envision it. Ha! Just like any other complaining blogger, if the world should be as we want it, there would be no progression at all.
But, there is something about social media that is wrong. Has been wrong all the time. And that is to – how to say this nicely – ‘shut people up’. Now, everyone likes this and dislikes that. We all have it. And that is what all of social media is about these days. ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like that’. Fine. But when Louis C.K. posted a simple tweet it might sound funny, but he is absolutely onto something. I meant, my biggest issue is that there is just too much going on, and too much I simply do not care about. The Like buttons or the Don’t Like buttons just don’t cut it. I don’t hate it when you tell me something I don’t care about, just like you do with mine. And that is what we cannot yet express in online communication.
When we would be in a conversation and you tell me something, I can like it. It makes you happy, it makes me happy. I can dislike it. It makes me unhappy, but you also feel unhappy – about me. Because now I dislike something you like (because why else would you tell me it). I can ignore you, but in social media that means nothing. You will tell it to me again, simply because I don’t respond – which in digital terms means that my response is not positive nor negative, and my response might not be there at all.
Have you tried going to a bar, try to talk to a pretty lady (or handsome dude) and talk to her/him and she/he simply turns her/his back to you. That is a response. It is a very valid response to be not positive, not negative, but completely not interested. It is always better than hearing ‘Get away you freak!’. But right now, responses to everything are black and white. I like it or I don’t. At this moment, I can’t say – yet – ‘I don’t care’. And most of the social messaging – I simply do not care about. I don’t mind it, I will not stand in anybody’s way, it is just not for me. It is not something I am against, I will not be negative, just don’t push it towards me. It is like listening to the radio and a song comes by that you don’t absolutely like, but not skip through either. It is okay, just, not interesting enough. It doesn’t mean that I hate it at all.
Having an option like that, as simple to use as a like or don’t like button, would be excellent if it would filter that into all my results.
Of course, there are some other gears working here; it is important to the social media brands to have you like the messaging. That is why there is no ‘dislike’ button for Facebook. Appreciation of a message or article is only a bit; true or false. I like this article (true), or I Did Not Say I Like This Article (false). And that is how it is. You cannot really show that you don’t like something. That is what makes a system like ZITE work so very well; I can like or dislike news, which it learns from. But it is not being emitted to the authors themselves. They don’t need to care about my personal interests. The deliverer of the news should care about it.
But if Facebook would show the ‘dislikes’ to a user that writes, or someone that actively tweets, it shows that people don’t like your information, and they would quit using it. Social media right now is about feeling good about yourself. That is why you might have thousands of friends, it is all about positivity. Because if you feel positive, you keep using it. And to Facebook and Twitter, and any other social media platform, it is important that as many as possible people reach as many as possible an audience.
But just like any kind of media delivery system, in the end it is the interest of the receiving party that is important. If I don’t want to hear something, or I don’t care about it, I should not be bothered. It will get there, one day, but right now we are not there yet. But it also doesn’t have to be overly negative.
But having something like the ‘So What…’ button might be goofy in this message, but actually, it might be that it would work extremely well. Even though that might mean that you all would actively press that button right now if it would appear underneath this blog.
Because, after all…. ‘So what?!’