Author: McNeal, Brian

Living In An Unfinished World ...or ...The Degradation Social Media has on Our Communication Skills!

What makes social media social? Why is it such a popular medium for communication? More importantly why do we as a society think that we need – underscore NEED – to communicate with people we don't know? And finally, what is so popular about the USE of social media that for some, it almost completely replaces all other forms of communication?

As a kid we were thrilled beyond belief when Ma Bell finally got enough lines and equipment installed that we could get off the party-line system. Now the whole world seems to want to go back to that party-line concept where you might say something you want only one person to know, but actually, the whole global neighborhood is listening in.

Let's face it, Facebook and Twitter are probably two of the most popular social sites out there and while the two began as distinctly different entities, forces are at work to make them into one and the same.

Those little applications that everyone wants to use that automatically re-post their twitter feeds onto their Facebook page or vice-verse are becoming more prevalent than the use of water to make tea.

But what still seems to be the question is why do some people feel the need to tweet every action they take, which then gets bounced over to their Facebook site, which then lands in the news feed of every single one of their friends as well as those who've accepted their friend request even though we may not really know them but it seemed good for business at the time?

Here are just a few actual postings from different people that I find relatively questionable as to the value contained. But believe me these are only a sample representation … there are thousands more just like them!

Bye Bye – At the Airport now.
Doing my Hair for the show tonight.
Just got up-need coffee bad!
Finished the show – late night – need sleep!

Really! Bye Bye … did I even know you were leaving, or do I care … was this meant for your family? Wouldn't a phone call have been a better and more private communication? Doing your hair … I'm sure the world will be a safer place now. The importance of that tweet is incomparable. Just got up-need coffee … well I can at least relate to that, but I have to ask … why are you wasting time with this electronic gadget? GO GET YOUR COFFEE!!! Another electronic gadget would serve your needs better – get a timer and set your coffee to brew automatically. And my almost favorite – if it weren't so obviously self-answering – Finished the show – need sleep … then why not go to bed and leave the social posting for tomorrow when you can take the time to give us a full report and maybe some pictures to go along with it? How did the show go? What happened that was of any significance? … but wait … back up the train … WHAT SHOW? WHERE? Where are the details … oh excuse me … I forgot, you did say you needed sleep.

So all of this is really good. We've communicated with the outside world and now we can get on that plane, feel good about our new hair do, drink that first cup of coffee and get sleep. Our world is complete.

Except that when tomorrow comes we'll all get another post from our late-night show finisher that says something like “Just got up-need coffee.” Even before tomorrow, we're sure to get a message that says … “Arrived at the (other) airport.” And the fragmented rambling continues.

Living with this social media drivel is like listening to the play-by-play announcer trying to simultaneously announce the activity of several games – all of which never seem to end.

I can only shudder to think what the world will be like when this trend of information piffle hits the White House. I imagine the President's State of the Union Address will go something like:

“@Whitehouse: State of the Union good – played golf today.”

and then about 20 minutes later:

“@Whitehouse: More S of U, Economy good – Big Ball in East Room Tonight.”

and there you have it folks … that is the state of Social Media and the world of unfinished communications we're living in today!

Let's all hope my forecast is wrong.

Posted:  11/23/2013

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