If you read my first blog you'll know that I started my social media journey as a sceptic. What changed my mind? The realisation that it was the future and I didn't want to be left behind... it's not a nice feeling.
I had my first taste of this recently when buying a new laptop. When I was in my teens and early twenties, I could have looked at a list of computer specs and have a good idea of what it meant... but technology moves fast, and if you don't keep an eye on it *vrooom!* it's passed you by. At the age of just thirty, I had to consult a younger colleague for help (techy dude @VuHoangUK) and I felt like my dad when I tried to explain "the cloud" to him. Scary.
Social media has left many of you in the dust. However, let's have a look at some of the most common complaints I hear and I'll try to explain why they need not be an issue!
1. Everything is fake / posed / false! People aren't "themselves"
Check out the video below. I saw it a few years ago and it stayed with me, and I think it'll illustrate the opinion many have on this point.
Let me start by saying this; during a face-to-face conversation, what we really mean is in the words we don't say. Only 7% of communication is made up of the actual words spoken. The rest is body-language and subtext. So, are you telling me that the updates people choose to share don't speak volumes about them?
I'm not saying that this opinion isn't true. We've all seen the braggarts banging on about their latest workout session or a selective story which makes them the hero, but many of us can read these people like a book. I find it sort of fascinating. If you don't? Just unfollow... and most importantly, try not to become one yourself!
And don't tell me you're going to "quit Facebook" because I know you won't.
2. Twitter / Instagram is just for vapid celebrity worship!
"But I don't care what Kim Kardashian is doing!" You cry.
"Don't follow her then!" I reply.
Believe it or not, I hear a lot of this from friends my own age.
Read the following statement carefully; SOCIAL MEDIA IS WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE.
What are you into? Let's say glass blowing. You could fill your Twitter feed with glass blowers and stuff about glass blowing. You'd like that right? A newsfeed full of people who share your interest, are experts in it, have tips, pictures and insight you might enjoy or find useful? I don't see the problem. Why wouldn't you do this?
It is not mandatory to follow Kim Kardashian.
3. Privacy! I don't want people knowing where I am or what I'm doing!
OK, fair enough. However, if this sort of thing freaks you out you might want to read this. Get your tin foil hats out folks because if you have any kind of modern device, that's pretty much out of your control.
Also, no one is MAKING YOU POST STUFF! Be sensible.
Trolls make the headlines these days and you know what else? They can also land up in prison. Trolling, in a hateful/aggressive way is a real problem, so it's fortunate that the police agree.
Take solace in the fact that the vast majority of these characters are sad, attention-starved cowards, lashing out from a mask of anonymity. Their goal is to provoke a reaction.
Do not feed the trolls.
In conclusion, I hear your complaints, but social media is now a part of everyday life. You can choose to disengage with it if you like, but I for one don't want to be a confused old man, left in the dust.
Facebook can be depressing because everyone else's lives are better than yours... But are they really?