There are many issues with social media, from its corrosion of civic life to its cultural shallowness.
I won't go into the dangers of sharing your political opinions on social media
since all of us have been bruised by waves of bitter attacks on supporters of both political parties on FB and Twitter.
As polarizing as politics are currently, I can see employers passing over those job seekers with opposing political views,
or current employees being passed over for increases in salary.
We’ve been told that it’s important to tend to your so-called social media brand,
as this provides you access to opportunities you might otherwise miss.
In this culture, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable.
Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable.
Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article.
The idea that if you engage in enough of this low-value activity,
it will somehow add up to something meaningful in your success seems to be highly dubious.
Steve Martin used to give this advice to aspiring entertainers:
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
The ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks
is becoming increasingly valuable in an increasingly complicated society.
Social media weakens this skill because it’s engineered to be addictive.
The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used:
persistently throughout your waking hours,
the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.
and your brain simply won’t tolerate such a long period without a fix.
There is this fear that these services will diminish our ability to concentrate:
the skill on which we make our living.
NaNoWriMo illustrates this for me:
We are unable to motivate and concentrate on writing a novel
unless we make it a group social media event.
If authors or other creative people cannot make writing or creating a daily habit,
their focus and creativity will wither within them.
Writing, or any other creative endeavor, is a solitary affair.
Neither Leonardo, Mozart, nor Hemingway created their masterpieces by committee or in a rush.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?