(Anti-)Social Media

Why do they call it social media? People share a lot of words, but so much communication is lost. Body language is gone. Tone of voice is gone. Touch is gone.

People spend their lives experiencing other people through the medium of little pixels on a screen, rather than directly experiencing them. It’s like a meta-sociality. I see/comprehend text. Text comes from internet. You physically type in text/think the text. I know that in the physical world we have mediums too (sight, sound), but the fidelity is higher, the people are actually present.

Maybe someday, when video/audio/social media is a matrix-level VR experience, we’ll be having a different discussion about this. But the majority of people right now are have a different kind of sociality. A weaker one.

  • Sharing pictures of babies rather than letting our friends hold our babies.
  • Sharing scores of games rather than playing frisbee or flag football in the park.
  • Sharing a relationship status rather than actually enjoying the company (or the identity) of that person we have a relationship with.
  • Having “friends” we never are physically near to, and wouldn’t contact in case of emergencies.

Let’s put down the phones and have richer physical experiences. Or we’ll reach the end of our lives, and the majority of our time will have been spent looking at tiny squares on a screen.

We can see people in one of two ways. We can see the light reflecting off their face directly as they stand in front of us. Or we can see the light from pixels on a screen taken from the image recorded when once upon a time real light reflecting off of a person’s face into a camera’s sensor.

One is a direct experience. The other is a diluted experience through variety of filters and mediums.

The first sounds better to me.

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