Social media is broken in so many ways, but lately I’ve been fixated on a few aspects that particularly irk me, and I’m resolving to try to do better in the new year. These are far from the most severe or vexing issues out there, but I thought I’d share.
Do a better job of attribution jokes and crediting creators. I know this is a losing battle, but for whatever reason I’ve really grown to hate the way that social media launders creative content. Someone can take a video that someone else put real work into, share it without credit, and just add some version of “I’m screaming/crying/wheezing/dying” and rack up 200k likes. So instead of sharing those tweets, I’m going to try to seek out the original tweet/TikTok/Vine/whatever and share that. For instance, I’ve seen this video shared several times with different zero-value captions. Of course, it’s not always easy to identify the original source, and sometimes you can add a caption that adds to the joke, and the infinite remixability of the internet is what’s fun, but I think it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between hackiness to score the likes and being funny.
If it could be a blog post, it should be. I almost fired off this list as a tweet before realizing that I’d be breaking my own second resolution. Brevity is good, but so is taking the time to expand on a thought. Likewise, tweet storms aren’t inherently bad—there’s something elegant about chunking a longer thought into pieces and value in those pieces being shareable—but it’s not always the right form.
Do less of it. I think we’re all kinda in this boat, but I want to replace more of my low-value information diet with higher quality stuff. A lot of my favorite content on Twitter is from journalists, writers and creators who also publish work in other places. I want to spend more time with that content and less in the Endless Feed.
Remember it’s not real life. This is mostly about politics as we head into another Democratic primary, but I need to remember that the various blood feuds that play out every day aren’t necessarily emblematic of things everyone who’s not Extremely Online are thinking and talking about. I hope that spending less time online will also help mellow out this bias.
What else you got?