I admit it. I’m becoming a curmudgeon. But I love having a business where I can get the opportunity to work with and get the opinions of people who are younger (and smarter) than I am. Other than my dear husband, I have always been the oldest person in this organization. Just call me an old broad and curmudgeonly; I don’t mind. I need the balance of the naïve and fresh-minded. It refreshes my outlook and keeps me thinking and pondering and curious.
One of our staff people and I have had constant conversations and issues regarding the “millennial generation” (of which she is a member) vs. the old fart (baby boom) generation (yours truly).
“Wow, three more people liked an Instagram photo I posted today!” she exclaimed.
Which puzzled me.
Her: “Well, we millennials are very much into sharing all of our experiences, and this is part of it.”
M: “Okay, I’m trying to understand. What exactly are you sharing that’s so important? A photo of something? Doesn’t that take you a lot of time every day, to take the photo, and post it? What good does that do for you except to give you a little ego boost? Why do you even care?”
H: “You have to understand; this is an important part of what I do every day. I’m definitely going to post online. Facebook is the first thing I look at every morning and the last thing I see at night.”
M: “You look at Facebook so much every day? [Moi, I’m lucky if I look at my personal Facebook page once a week]. Don’t you ever spend time reading books or listening to music, or doing other stuff that will actually contribute to your intellect and knowledge or your job or your relationship? Or help other people?”
H: “Well, that’s just how we live our lives.”
M: “In a year, or five years, or next week, or tomorrow, who’s going to care anything about what or you ‘share’ on Facebook or Instagram? Is anyone going to care about it? Is that activity going to make the world a better place or you a better person?”
H: “You just don’t understand and appreciate us! It’s part of our generation that we want to share our feelings with everyone! If that’s how you feel, then why does OffBeat have a Facebook page?!?”
M: “I understand the need to reach and communicate with a lot of different age groups who are interested in OffBeat’s subject matter; how we communicate it has to include social media—we have no choice. But our Facebook and other social media is focused on a mission that takes a lot of knowledge and research. We’re posting news on what we’ve chosen to concentrate on. This is a business—it’s become part of the way you have to do business.”
I must admit, I can see the need for “sharing” with friends (if they really are friends, and let’s face it who has a thousand real friends?). But spending so much time every single day looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to me is nothing but a huge time suck. I have a lot better things to do and a lot of things that take a lot of time in my day. And why does one care if one person or a thousand likes your post or not? Why does anyone need the acknowledgment that they are liked or not?
I get it within a business context and advertising. Yeah, I can see that. Eyes supposedly mean that your message is getting out there (personally I don’t see social media working wonders for small businesses in increasing their revenues). I just can’t comprehend the self-absorbedness and–in some ways–the desperation to be loved and paid attention to that social media addicts crave. It’s sort of like remaining a perpetual adolescent, when you care incredibly much what your friends think of you and you’ll do anything to get attention. Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t that It’s one of the things that adults tend to leave behind. Adults usually have more to worry about than caring what social media network “friends” think of you.
Social media may have created a great way to get the word out about an event, and I suppose that broad (mostly unknown) network is what makes that doable. Hpwever, maybe millennials could improving their lives and relationships by practicing social skills vis a vis real people. Would it be helpful to spend less time on social media and more time reading or really participating in real life; less time taking selfies and gawking at photos of themselves and their friends and more time doing something productive that’s going to actually make a positive personal change and in the community and world. Unless your social media is going to change the world in way that doesn’t necessarily include the self-absorbed “you”: get a life. There’s a real world out there that needs you. Yes, it’s about “us” and “you” but isn’t it more useful becoming a real person rather than a cog in a social network?