By now, most of the Internet has likely seen the music video for Stromae’s “Carmen.” The singer doesn’t mince words when it comes to his perspective on social media culture. He aptly captures the affect of the pull of social media and how it encourages us to consume information to the point at which we are consumed by social media itself.
Watching the video reminded me of the mostly empty Twitter feed I have sitting on the side of my blog. Other than some appeals I’ve made to support some worthy fundraisers, I haven’t paid attention to Twitter for more than a year. Stromae’s video definitely hits on why I’ve allowed my Twitter account to stagnate.
The distraction was far too powerful. Being on Twitter was like pointing a fire hose at my face. The constant barrage of other people’s thoughts was just too much.
I haven’t disengaged from social media entirely because I think there are some benefits to being part of an online community. For one thing, folks who don’t feel like they fit into their flesh-and-blood community because they have obscure hobbies or interests can find others who share those interests online. People who tend to be socially awkward in real-life interactions also have opportunities to shine and social media can make them feel less broken and perhaps lead to more confidence.
The key to social media, like many things, is moderation. I faded out of the Twitter community because I felt moderation wasn’t manageable on Twitter. With Facebook, you have a bit more control, and it feels to me more like a stream of information than a tsunami.
I may return to Twitter some day when I feel I have the time and ability to pay attention to it. For now though, I’m content to live a tweetless life.