September 15, 2020



The first thing that struck me after my first post was the lack of comments.

I shared it on Facebook and Twitter and got a few likes and comments, but over here - nothing.

Then again, you can't comment here. You can't like anything. You can't share anything - without just copying the URL. At least not right now. And that's on purpose.

Those are all critical level one activities on social media. In fact, without those things, I dare say you can't call it social at all. It's just media. Broadcast media. I'm creating content over here, broadcasting it far and wide on the internet, and maybe, somewhere, it is being consumed.

The early days of radio and TV were like that. Before Nielsen ratings and set top boxes that tracked your viewing selections. Broadcasters would send out a signal and hope people tuned in. If the viewers wanted to respond, they had to use a different medium - a phone call to the station or a letter to the local newspaper critic. In some cases, advertisers could see a response to their ads by tracking purchases. But it was all very disconnected. And at a significant time delay.

Today, feedback is immediate. We throw  hearts and thumbs ups at our friends' posts and get the satisfaction of feeling connected to them. We angrily comment below someone who obviously doesn't have a clue and feel vindicated in our beliefs. And the dopamine hits aren't just one direction. Authors post a cat pic and farm in all that good karma, anxiously awaiting that little counter to tick up with all of the attention they are receiving.

(No offense if you post cat pics. I post dog pics and am guilty of the same thing. Look - here is one now.)

This cycle has some pretty negative consequences. Charlie Brooker wouldn't have some of his best Black Mirror episodes without this (Fifteen Million Merits, Nosedive, and Hated In The Nation to name a few).

We carelessly engage with our friends, substituting swipes and clicks for interaction. We feel guilty if we neglect to do this. We rush to judgment. We leap before we look.

But broadcasting is not connecting. It serves a purpose, certainly. But it is not very engaging for either side of the transmission.

How do we allow and encourage real connection? And is this something that everyone wants?

Take this blog for example. Right now, I'm sort of organizing thoughts that I've had bouncing around for awhile. While I'm open to input, challenges, and hopefully collaboration on these things in the future, right now I'm just working through themes and untangling concepts. So that I can intelligently talk about solutions later.

So, no. No comments for now. And don't even get me started on what a trash fire of a company Disqus is.