There’s a good chance you’re fed up with tedious ranting and super emotional arguing from strangers on the purpose of social media, this incredibly generic word that we’ve invented to say communication and moderation go hand in hand. One of the greatest ideas of the century, no question about it, was that people across the world would be able to talk to each other, get to know who they really are and what they’re into, what they look like and what they’re feeling. But it’s way more than that: every single one of your activities online are on record – just in case, they say. We have different attitudes towards it, and we mention different things: maybe it doesn’t matter that someone saw my picture at the bar next to work, but I do feel weird about someone reviewing my watch history on YouTube to give me recommendations of entertainment, or reading my messages to suggest who I should add on my friends list. As the profile bio takes new formats, with or without contact info and at least a couple of quirky words to describe yourself, the way we interact with one another has become difficult to understand, much like big data, where searching for something in particular is always a failed attempt. There’s just too many people to talk to, and I can’t give you all of my attention. But does that apply to everyone?
Social media is part of a bigger movement. If today a business is represented by the public image associated with it, that’s only possible because technology allowed it to happen, but the fact is most people don’t bother to look all the way back from its production in factories to the distribution, prices and how we use it. It’s a product like anything else, but regardless of what you think about a user’s bio description or a promoted post, people are people and profiles are profiles. Many questions are raised every day on how to deal with the differences in consumption, more than the context of everyone who tries to participate in the digital landscape. The obvious problem, aside the cringe with the term, is we’re not always being good listeners, exactly because we relied on machines and programs to do the thinking for us. I can have a really funny video saved on my phone and that will make people engage, but do I have a budget solution or a project to solve the water crisis? People say I’m attractive when I post my face, or even more than that, but do I really have the chance of building a stable and happy relationship with a complete stranger with no mutual connections? I stand with this movement, but are they going to look at it the same way as I do?
The fact of the matter is communication has nothing to do with the brand on your phone, the carrier you’re paying to use or what you see on your feed. Globally, it means accepting other perspectives, as well as finding a mode of representation for your own ideas. If there’s going to be a number of people you agree with, who will do things with you and care for what you’re trying to say, that’s something to be glad about and thankful for. But we can’t possibly see the internet without seeing what surrounds it: unplugging cables wouldn’t mean the total collapse of the world; it would just mean that we’re back to square one, which means we have to try to make ourselves seen in what we need the most, which is love, a little bit of fun and a dose of relevant information, which will make us take steps in order to build better things for us and for everybody else.