TechCrunch has a guest post by Semil Shah, “The Illusion Of Social Networks.” An excerpt:
Surely, the benefits of participation [in social media & networks] are well-documented, but there are costs, too. While information is being channeled through these social networks, the fact remains the same illusions created by television have mutated into a stronger strain within social media. While more interesting information gets to us faster, the downside is that the new channels—and, we are all the channels—sometimes unknowingly create “little white illusions” that, over time, compound into something that may or may not reflect real life.
Well, life is full of illusions. And on social networks, those illusions are amplified. Many who broadcast are not who they appear to be. I don’t say this negatively—rather, this is the magic of social networks. All of the tools we have to update our status, to share pictures, to broadcast location, and any other signal empower us all to express ourselves online and (hopefully) eventually help us end up where we’d like to be.
The dark underbelly, however, is that much of the content we consume through these networks are highly subject to illusion. We may get the impression that folks are more famous, powerful, influential, or informed than they really are, or funnier or nicer than they really are. Social networks naturally concentrate and amplify particular voices, no matter whether those voices are right or wrong. We’ve all at one time at least fallen prey to these false signals, myself included, further fueling the engine of social networks.
Reminds me of part of first half — on the “language of culture” — in Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society, by Tim Willard and Jason Locy. More from that book in future posts.