Gotta Share

There is no doubt that social media enables us all to share what we are doing, thinking and feeling like never before. There are great opportunities for organisations to tap into the insights and conversations that customers and potential customers are sharing online.

As highlighted in previous posts, I’m trying to make sense of the world of social media, hoping to navigate through it and establish some common etiquette. Recently I was out with two friends who seemed to spend a lot of time updating various statuses that they were out in a bar having dinner and drinking wine. I felt a bit bemused at all the time spent frantically texting, tagging and updating that detracted from the real life chat we were having.

It made me wonder if we are spending too much time ‘sharing’ at the expense of real life experiences.

Often we know what our friends are up to because their status tells us; on the one hand this is a great way of being connected, on the other if you spend your real life time updating that you are “Having a great time with blah at ‘name drop’ cool place” then I’m not so sure its such a great idea.

I would like to question people’s motivation for sharing; is it a competition as to who can be tagged in the coolest places with the sexiest people? Or is it about proving your wit and intelligence? Or is it for a sympathy vote and attention? Or is it a combination of all of the above? Who are your status updates for? Yourself? Your friends? Your enemies?

If you are in real life having a real life experience, does posting something to tell everyone detract from that experience or does it enhance it?

Personally, my view is if you are having a conversation in real life, unless it’s a life or death situation I think it’s rude to be on your phone updating, surfing the net or whatever. Your focus should be on the present.

I found this brilliant piece on YouTube which to some extent sums it up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m on Facebook and I love Twitter – a lot. I learn lots, ask for help and information and in turn hope that I provide useful tweets to the people who follow me.

My point is that sharing the moment on social media should not be at the expense of experiencing and sharing a real life moment.

I’d be interested to know what you think….

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13 responses to “Gotta Share

  1. I agree with your statement – that it should not affect what is happening in the flesh. Everyone has their own reason for tweeting/posting/tagging and at the end of the day it’s individual choice. I for one love social media, but it should not detract you from real life. My personal view is that it’s their to enhance it, providing us with a new medium by which we can communicate and share with others.

  2. “My point is that sharing the moment on social media should not be at the expense of experiencing and sharing a real life moment.”
    I agree with the statement above, and I agree that the behaviour of your friends was rude if you felt this way, but I think that from their point of view the experience they had was worth sharing and they simply should have checked with you if it’s ok with you if they post.
    We approach technology in many ways and each of us has a different way of using social media and content sharing. I do understand why your friends were excited about posting updates as I often happen to do it myself – I have my own motivations (fact I was a writer, fact that my on-line networks are there equally active, fact that I have this habit and to me personally it is not rude to post during conversation as long as my company is ok with it). At the same time if I have a friend over who is not social media savvy I spent my entire evening talking to her, away from my phone or mac.
    I personally think It’s a question of understanding the other person’s standards.
    We start to experience interesting times where each of us has a different level of need for technology, access to mobile devices and on-line social interactions. I think we all need to learn to manage the modern ethics (acc. to Freud it’s the set of ethical rules established by the majority of society not provided centrally like for example the 10 Commandements) and ensure that people we are with understand our expectations as to what is acceptable.
    Then those of us who like sharing will do it within the reason, and those of us who place focus on off-line, human interaction and experience will feel it’s quality time too.

  3. Thanks both – good points and that its about balance and expectations…

  4. Pingback: To share or not to share? Ethics of socialising for geeks and non-geeks;) « Sylwia Presley

  5. Lucy, good post. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I’ve deleted myself from Facebook several times only to realise it does have its uses and sign back in. I’ve realised that if Facebook is annoying me it’s because I am looking at it too much!

    You’re right though, many of us are totally obsessed with social media and according to this article – http://bit.ly/pL05Mh – it’s causing a lot of problems in people’s REAL lives.

    I’m new to Twitter and generally I like it as I can follow the things I am interested in and it can create a community at conferences (e.g #IoFNC) but I think it is totally sad when people tweet about what they’re eating, who they’re with, what cool place their in, what cool purchase just arrived in the post. It’s just needy and sad. Even more sad (literally) is when people say goodnight to Twitter! It’s not just social media that’s the problem though, it’s smart phones. As a friend pointed out to me recently, there’s no mystery in life anymore with smart phones, you can just look up the answer on your phone! People are glued to them. I was abroad recently with no internet for a week. It was very enjoyable and a made a note to myself that ‘real life’ was better and I promised myself I’d try to be on my iPhone less. I’ve made good progress but I’m still an addict! Perhaps I need to go to rehab? Anyway, I digress.

    Back to the original point: if you actually have something interesting to say, something informative to offer then that’s when Twitter works well. I’ve been more inspired by a handful of twitter posts in the last two months than any Facebook post I have seen in four years. I also enjoy re-tweeting/sharing interesting and inspiring stories. I want other people to be interested and inspired.

    HOWEVER, because of the voice we have all been given with social media, are we now all just constantly searching for something interesting to say just to raise our profiles? Is the constant bombardment of information good for us? Aren’t our lives busy enough without cluttering our brains with Twitter feeds? As you can tell, I have been having a social media existential crisis for a while!!!!

    • Some very good points – to which I have no answers….. I like that you went on holiday and had a social media holiday too – I imagine it was very liberating. I’m going to try it too.

  6. Thanks for the post Lucy and funny but so revealing video. Think this video not only captures the “sharing” dilemma very well, it makes me think that the design of the online tools we use to share prevent the “improv” that public spaces enable – wonder if that’s part of the problem?

    I;’m as guilty as anyone updating my status (particularly on Foursquare) but often do it before I arrive at the location I’m meeting someone at. Sometimes, you do want to share an exciting conversation you’ve had with a friend, but if it’s that exciting, surely you should be too busy immersed in the conversation than tweeting as you listen…My suggestion, do it while they’ve gone to the bathroom or check with them as Sylwia suggests!

  7. Lucy, I selfishly didn’t answer any of your questions! Which is probably a reflection of the underlying narcissistic nature of social media!

    I think your question in essence is: “What motivates people to post/share?”

    Personally, I like to think I am only motivated to share information that will benefit other as much as it did me, rather than pointless show-off information about where i am, who I am with what I am doing etc.

    That said twitter/facebook can be fun sometimes if there’s banter between a small group or people. I also like some people’s dry wit and observational anecdotes on bizarre life situations!

    I also think that social media has very cleverly tapped into our ego’s; that part of our human nature that does want to show off! I think it’s in everyone. I just try to resist it most of the time because nobody likes a show-off, do they?

    Ultimately, we have to remind ourselves that it’s up us what we follow, read, post, share and try to ignore the rest of the noise.

    A holiday from the internet comes highly recommended. Very liberating indeed!

  8. Couldn’t agree more with your position Lucy, echoes mine. Will post this to my fb page! It is irritating when people post blatantly showy updates. Well done for putting it in a nutshell. I too have been confronted with people distractedly scrolling on their phones whilst eating a meal I’ve spent hours to cook, I’m just not standing for it any longer; it’s such a blatant lack of respect on many levels. My attitude has of course raised a few eyebrows but everyone knows it’s disrespectful to do this in company. In restaurants it’s a bit trickier because you can’t make the rules there; I avoid dining with friends who are so inclined. I also agree with Ed’s point about the fun and banter, especially when it’s done in one’s private time and not at the expense of others.

  9. Great post Lucy! I think many of us are struggling to find that fine balance between enhancing our lives and other’s and letting ourselves be enslaved by the “tools.” From neuropsychology perspective, we need real time human contact and relationships to flourish. And our brain needs periods of rest from constant bombardment to process, reflect, and learn. If social media becomes an “obsession” or an “addiction,” it’s as harmful as any other obsession or addiction. Also agree with others that setting aside time periodically for a “vacation” of it all is wise. Personally, I try one day a week to keep away from social media and concentrate on real time human relationships, renewal, rest, and spiritual enhancement. Works well for me.

    • Good points – especially about taking social media ‘vacations’ I lost my phone about 6 months ago and it was actually very liberating for a few days not to be online… Would recommend to all.

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