Wednesday 7 March 2018

The Wednesday Poem #41 - Viva La Revolution - Social Media is Dead!

Picture Courtesy of 2000AD  (homage to Pat Mills)
Are you happy? Are you satisfied with your lot? How much time every day do you spend on your social media feeds, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Do you get anxious when you can't check your mobile? Do you worry if you haven't had an email for ten minutes, your daughter hasn't texted or your husband/wife hasn't checked in for an hour? When you go for a meal with friends, do you find yourself gripped by a compulsive need to check your Twitter/Facebook feed and unable to concentrate on the conversation with friends? Do you get more pleasure photographing your dinner and putting the picture on Instagram than you do from actually eating it? If this is you, then you need a social media Detox.

Viva La Revolution - Social Media is Dead!

I was there on the day when the citadel fell
I breathed in the smoke from the gates of Hell
I was there when they opened the door of my cell
We lost the war but the tale is here to tell

I was there when the scales fell from my eyes
I heard the screams of terror and the cries
When children stopped believing all the lies
We lost the war but defeat was no surprise

I was there at the end of the thread
My mind was spinning as nothing more was said
I made some tea and went straight back to bed
Viva La Revolution - Social Media is Dead!

Copyright 2018  - Roger Tichborne

I had a very interesting experience last night. I walked down the Broadway and as I walked past BAW and Kiyoto, I noticed several groups of young people all in animated conversation with each other, not a mobile phone in sight. It was quiet strange. Only last week, I did the same walk and was truck by the fact that in the same restaurants, all of the young people were staring at their phones and ignoring each other. Through facebook and social media,we've shared Love and Hate, we've seen wars and we've seen charity. We've found all manner of facts about friend that we had no interest in knowing. And yet suddenly so many of us are finding that what is being posted on Twitter and Facebook is actually rather banal and uninteresting most of the time. Social media platforms are finding it harder to make money as less people tune in

When we look at Facebook and Twiiter, we are bombarded with adverts for products we don't want and it seems ever harder to actually find the posts from friends that we actually might be interested in seeing. I don't really know what Facebook have done, but three times in the last two weeks, friends have said "I'm surprised that you didn't comment on what Ted wrote" type comments. The truth was that I hadn't seen the comments. Have I just lost interest in it or have Facebook simply changed it so I only see comments from people paying them to flog stuff. The Mill Hill Jazz Club Facebook page administrator called me last night. He was in a Panic. Usually his posts get 2-300 page views, but for the last couple of weeks this has slumped to 50-60. He wanted to know if I had any idea why. I said that I believed that Facebook favoured showing posts from paying customers. I suggested a couple of ways he could improve the response rate. It was only when I was walking down the Broadway and I noticed the lack of mobile phone action, I realised that I'd maybe been to hasty. Maybe we've all just become bored with Facebook and Twitter. There is a lovely restaurant in Mill Hill. I have a friend who I'd see in there all the time. I bumped into him recently, and realised I'd not seen him in the restaurant for a couple of months. I asked him why. He looked puzzled and said "I hadn't really thought about it, I guess we just got a bit bored with it so we haven't been for a while". I rather suspect that this is what is happening with Facebook and Twitter. 

My band, the False Dots wrote a song about alienation and social media, called "Please Myself". It is a full on Rock and Roll number. This video ends with the word "Catch us in the Midland, making shows up of our own". As a band with a 39 year old career and hundreds of live shows under our belt. we've noticed a real upsurge in people attending live gigs and we've had an awesome response to the music. People are getting up and boogieing to original material, in a way we've not seen for maybe 20 years. As Pat Mills  (perhaps one of the most noted soothsayers of  modern social trends in his work) noted in his ABC warriors story this week in the seminal 2000AD magazine, "People are ignoring their social media and actually talking to each other",  Viva La Revolution, Social media is dead (long live social media).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I'm following too many people on Facebook, but since I try to restrict the number of invites I accept to those who I've either met, or find interesting, then I don't want to unfollow them. I seem to be keeping up, but then I look at the Friends page and see there are up to 10 unread posts by some people! So yes, I think they've changed the way posts are displayed.

Or maybe I'm spending too much time in special interest/local groups on Facebook. And Slack, Instagram, Periscope, Flickr, Cappucino, pnut, etc. I've mostly given up on Twitter because it's too toxic.