August 23, 2012

Social media diet

I was pointed to Per Håkanssons post about his social media diet by Mikael Pawlo, and I found it interesting. Per is quitting a bunch of services, such as Instagram, Google+ and Linkedin, to focus on more important matters. This quote pretty much sums up why he’s taking this somewhat drastic approach:

I miss the days when you could go out and eat with a bunch of friends and focus on the conversation and not the latest pings, notifications and checkins on your mobile device.

I see this a lot, people who feel that social media is interfering with their conversations and relationships in the physical world. But here’s the thing: Quitting social media won’t change this.

The one thing everyone needs to learn today is how to shut out the noise. We need to tailor our digital lives to fit our physical ones, and to figure out what’s important. Thanks to push notifications, the risk of interruption is high, but you can turn those off you know. Just like you can choose not to answer the phone while at dinner, you can choose not to tweet or check your Facebook wall.

Quitting social networks that you’re not all that interested or invested in is a good thing, but it only applies to you. If your friends are addicted to checking their Instagram feed every third second, and do so in the middle of the conversation, then tell them that it is rude. If they do it anyway, well, let’s put it this way: that’s not a friend to keep.

It is all about moderation, about common decensy at the table, and about respecting each other. That is something that quitting a bunch of social networks won’t cure, that’s something that applies just as much for regular texting, for email, and for phone calls. A push notification is no different than that.

I think quitting the social networks that cost you more than it gives back is an excellent idea, everyone should question every service they use on a regular basis. Social networks that just eats away at your day is not worth being on. A social media diet, as described in Per’s post, will however not teach your friends good manners.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.