Pictures, Drama, SpotlightsWritten by Ryan Adam Smith
Social Media’s Benefits
On the heels of Facebook’s $1 Billion dollar acquisition of Instagram, the world is proving there is even more money in vanity than we all could have fathomed. No one cares (even your parents and best friends) that you just ate the best taco ever, that you feel stoked about the morning or that you’re hanging out at the beach. We don’t need to know in a few sentences or less what you’re doing every hour of every day. Though—I sympathize with the complete arrogance that makes you believe people actually care. But they don’t. So quit posting every single one of your steps on Facebook. Besides, I thought social media existed for the sole purpose of allowing me to look at girls I thought were attractive when I was eighteen (only to find they were less-attractive in their older ages). But I’m quickly realizing social media is useful for so much more. In fact, social media has the possibility to make my life infinitely more pleasurable. Here are three reasons why social media works, why Facebook has not peaked, and why we’ve just reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media.
1. Nobody wants to have two personalities. So you got drunk in Las Vegas, made out with a midget, and documented the entire night in graphic photos that your friends posted on the Internet. Better yet, you believe somehow your personal life will damage your professional life. You’re afraid if your boss sees the picture of you getting spanked by a stripper then your accounting job will be in jeopardy. Luckily, your boss’s friend tagged them in a photo titled “wild weekend,” in which your boss is wearing nothing but a clown wig and hugging the toilet. Since everyone has photos floating around Facebook, we can all relax. We’re all people and we all like to have fun. And sometimes the chance to make a lot of bad decisions on an alcohol fueled Tuesday is too good to pass-up. Social media is driving acceptance and eventually our work personalities and out-of-work personalities will mesh. This doesn’t mean we still can’t get up for work, put on a skirt or tie, and be professional the next day. Having fun doesn’t mean you can’t crunch numbers or fire an uptight asshole when necessary. It just means we can stop worrying about everyone finding out we like S&M.
2. It spread the celebrity love. The movie industry is a gamble and major record companies are in the toilet. Yet, there are micro celebrities making money and small indie bands gaining fans. There was a time when only major movie stars and bands backed by major labels had the spotlight. That spotlight still exists for big stars, but social media has paved the way for thousands of much smaller spotlights. Today, there are more bands selling thousands of records and less selling millions. This doesn’t mean people are buying less music. It means we are no longer limited to finding new music on the radio or thumbing through stacks of vinyl at the local record store to sample something edgy. With the Internet as a medium and 900 Million people willing to passionately share their opinions on books, art, music, etc… people have more options. And more options paved the way for “micro celebrities.” If 10,000 people care enough to follow your twitter account then you are a micro celebrity. If 100,000 people follow your blog then you are a micro celebrity and can probably monetize your blog by selling advertising. Now, every artist can have a share of the spotlight. Indie bands can make a living, filmmakers can be discovered on You Tube, and even small Blogozines can attract a crowd.
3. It’s Like a Reality Television Show with people you know. There are about 10 people in my life that I actually want to speak with. I have almost no interest in having a full-blown conversation with the other 90 percent of people I know. But a small part of me still wants to creep on that 90 percent. I want to see if all the time they spent in the tanning-bed finally took its toll, or if they’re still car-surfing 10 years after college. I’m a complete voyeur. We all are. And it’s wrong. But watching other people’s stupidity and drama is completely intoxicating. It’s the only way to explain the high we all receive while watching reality television and the complete disgust we feel once the show is over. But if you take that high of watching reality television, multiply the euphoria by three, and eliminate the come-down, you’ve got the feeling of watching someone you know go through drama (not trauma—that would just be mean). Social Media completely opens the flood gates on watching other people’s drama. We can empathize or smile each time we see someone’s relationship status go from “engaged” to “single.” Everyone you know is slapping their lives on Facebook. And you don’t even have to converse with them to see it. The best part is that we don’t even feel that disgust that creeps up on us after two solid hours of The Bachelor. It’s beautiful!
Previous articles by Ryan Adam Smith