ABG ArtBookGuy
  Art For All PeopleŽ    We Talk Contemporary Art    March 2017
IS SOCIAL MEDIA A MISNOMER?

One of the things that I find so interesting about social media is what it tells us about ourselves.

Social media isn’t new, but it’s still bathing in novelty. I believe we’re still enamored of the technological newness of it. It’s the toy that’s holding our attention like a happy baby with a rattle … for now.

Like anything new in tech, our human nature, ironically, causes us to focus on the technology rather than our own humanity and how we interface with it. We don’t really seem to care about exploring who we are in light of technology; we just want the technology to replace things that we don’t want to do.

Who has time for self-examination?

I’ve found that this is indeed the case with social media. We seem to be less interested in “social” and more interested in the “media” part of the equation. It’s as if we’ve been wired to believe that the “media” aspect is going to fill the deep, dark longing that exists within all of us.

Could that be why we spend so much time staring into those things in the palms of our hands?

I was listening to an NPR report not long ago about Hospice patients. This really grabbed my attention because I worked as a Hospice volunteer some years ago. They mentioned conversations with terminally ill patients whom they asked … if they could, what would they do differently?

The report stated that many of the patients said they’d spend more time with friends and family.

The point here is that very few, if any of them said they’d spend more time in the office or they’d spend more time building their companies or more time raising money or more time climbing the “ladder of success.”

Amid, among and following the relentless swirl of human endeavor, it all comes down to spending more actual – as opposed to virtual - time with friends and family.

Isn’t it interestingly sad that far too many of us reach this realization toward the end rather than the beginning or even the mid-point of our lives? Why do we have a tendency to get to their heart of the matter when it’s basically too late?

My guess is because we’re so busy trying to “get” whatever it is that we think we want or need to make us happy and low and behold, those things don’t fill the void and longing that we all have for true connection.

I’m not sure about your belief system, but I believe that God created us to be social creatures. It’s just who we are. Though they may deny it, even loners need - and want - socialization.

That’s why I think social media is SO cool. As a passionate lover of contemporary art, writing and people, I’ve used social media to connect with art people from all over the world. It’s the 21st Century version of art “pen pals.”

I wonder whether the term, “social media” is a misnomer. Social media is radically changing. Yes, it has really become less social and more about media.

So many of us, myself included, are using social media for marketing purposes to promote causes, businesses, products or even ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I do believe that something major is being lost here. It’s like we’re walking in the forest and not seeing the trees.

I don’t know. My opinion certainly isn’t the end all. I just find it thrilling whenever I actually connect with a new artist, art dealer or any nice, mentally-stable person on social media.

For me, it’s not about connecting with someone who you think may be useful to you in the future. It’s about true, human connection. I mean, I don’t have any immediate travel plans that involve Stockholm or Nairobi, but if I’m feeling a need for some international perspective, all I have to do is email friends who live in those places.

I really believe that if we’d use social media correctly, it could make this BIG world a tad bit smaller.

However, in order to see this clearly, I really believe you have to think in terms of “giving” rather than “getting.”

Isn’t that really what being “social” is all about?   

 


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