I’ve noticed a few changes in my use of social media/email over the last few years.
1. As my use of Twitter has increased to become my default choice of social media my use of Facebook has receded: it used to be the place where I really would communicate with my friends, quickly forgetting about the 100 or so random acquaintances I’d collected over the years who either no longer used the site or didn’t update their statuses enough for me to remember they were there. Then, as the number of ‘friends’ grew, I became more reticent about what I chose to put out there on my status/comments. This soon became a snowball that strangely rolled up and down a hill simultaneously: on the one hand I began to collect more ‘friends’ because I had depersonalised it to the point where I felt I could include more people in the smaller version of me, while on the other, I updated even less because I felt there was less I could share that would be appropriate for all my new ‘friends’. I still check Facebook regularly, but I’m much less keen to post anything more than skin deep. (By the way, I do realise that this is why the circles on Google Plus are such a good idea, however, there aren’t enough people on there, so it’s a great concept that’s going to waste. Let’s all kill Facebook and use Google Plus instead. Ready? Go!)
2. I don’t feel the same inhibition about Twitter. Ironically, there are so many more people who follow me on Twitter than Facebook that I have no real concept of them all and consequently I’m not so careful about what I Tweet. I suppose it’s a far higher proportion of strangers, so it doesn’t feel like it’s hitting anyone with significance. My mum and brother and wife are on FB but not Twitter. My dad uses both enough that I know he’ll read everything I write on each site, although that doesn’t stop me using the word ‘cunt’ on a regular basis. So Twitter feels like a big anonymous cloud while Facebook is lots of people that I actually know, including my boss, work colleagues, aunty from Scotland and many random people I’ve picked up along the way but would never be rude enough to de-friend. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve de-friended anyone. Have you?
3. My writing changes depending on which medium I use. That probably goes without saying, but the big thing I’ve noticed is my great and unexpected kindness towards exclamation marks. I used to loathe them, using them only ironically, and even then reluctantly. But now, as I notice the limitations of the typewritten word in the personal message, I find myself using them more and more to give an idea of my tone of voice. That should be clear from what I’ve written, but in an age of all-pervasive irony it isn’t as unequivocal as I’d like, and I can’t quite bring myself to use the emoticon as much as others do (which is why I write ‘smiley face made of punctuation’ despite the strain it puts on the Twitter character count). But as computer-written messages proliferate, I do recognise the need for nuance in my communications, and one of the ways to achieve it is through grammar. Yes, the exclamation mark looks like a sledgehammer, but used in the right way it can become less offensive.
4. My blogging has calmed a little in both style and content. Despite yesterday’s post I find myself ranting much less than when I started. This may be for several reasons: I have covered most of the topics of advertising at least once, which means I now find myself writing about other stuff that I’m interested in so that I can get a bit of feedback that opens the subject up for me. That means less ranting because I’m coming from a more inquisitive standpoint; I’m also getting older, and I have kids, which means that I’m a bit more mellow than I used to be; and the advertising scene has changed. It feels that to some extent it has regressed and become less intense, so it’s harder to give a shit when no one else does.
I’ve tried Google Plus/Instagram/Pinterest, but haven’t found that I’ve really taken to them. Maybe the first one is too unpopular and the other two are too picture-based. I love looking at other people’s but don’t feel inclined to contribute myself.
Has your use of Social Media changed? Where does it feel like it’s heading? And do you give a toss?