This is Sam Graham's take on social media. What I comment on is internet culture's superficial obsession with quantity such as "views," "friends," "likes," etc. People use these to validate their lives. And my cartoon shows what happens when facebook and other social media culture infects our lives!
When you put a number on someones site about how many friends, how many subscribers, how many views -doesn't this create a place where people worry popularity than creating good content? I know this is inevitable anyway, but it seems this just throws gasoline on the flames, or starts a new fire itself. I know I often wonder what I should make that will get more views on youtube. And I would rather not.
You can't escape it. The news articles about how many million "views" someone got or however million "subscribers." While this information is relevant, somehow it becomes how we rate someone's importance. Sites such as vimeo don't even seem to have this information on the video. Like I said to my friend, if you were in an art museum and saw how many "views" the painting got labeled quite prominently next to the piece (such as Van Goghs "starry night") wouldn't that
be distracting? You become focused on how popular the piece is before the video even loads. Its the first thing in your consciousness when you are about to see something.
While TV ratings have always existed and been available. They are usually found in a newspaper, not displayed on the side of the content like some badge or shameful reminder of low popularity. But the online world does what seems ridiculous in other contexts.
With sites like "twitter," lets just admit its a big popularity contest. How many "followers," retweets, favorites do you have. Lets face it. If you go to someone's twitter its just "their name" followed by their "stats." In another context,, as I illustrated in this cartoon, it'd be like someone walking around with a name tag on their chest about how many friends they had. Ridiculous in real life, but somehow acceptable online.
Lets admit that when we look at someone's "stats" and they have a low number, or even MORESO, when we look at our own -it leads to heavy judgement. Why do we need this? Social media was designed to connect us to each other wasn't it? Perhaps it only leads to more and more alienation via some kind of false, electronic, whirring, illusion of interaction.
We are only connecting with our own computer screens. It's like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean. You may reach someone, but you'll never actually see them UNLESS you actually physically go there. It's the illusion of togetherness.
Some argue that in this stratified, sprawling, post-industrial, decentralized world of ours, we must have something like a "facebook" to be the "town center." I don't know how to respond to that except to list the problems I outlined above, and wonder if we gain anything more than we lose?
I've always argued it would be funny to create a real life facebook which would include an actual "wall" that we could post messaged on, a "notification guy" who could announce when people have new posts (and poke them.) But this is solely to show that perhaps even as ridiculous as that is, it might be superior to facebook. But people would have to get together in a way that is impossible, you say. Is it impossible? I ask you. Is it truly? Or have we been indulged by the convenience of this media for so long we've lost the will to congregate.