Coming back from a social media break, I’m stunned by the overwhelming number of text-sprawled photos and images streaming through my Facebook timeline.
Someone started a social media trend and it’s picked up the speed of an avalanche. It’s said humans are more responsive to text with photos than text alone. For some, this is a marketing strategy. Note: blog url on photo. For others, it’s healing with ‘art’, pure fun, or shared inspiration.
I’m human. I find these Facebook posts inspiring and enjoyable to a degree. I share and post them too.
But, at some point, at least for me, enough is enough.
The problem – in my eyes – isn’t images, which are a fine way to communicate. It’s the over-abundance and the trendy aspect, in part. On a deeper level, I wonder, as a society can we really survive and thrive on one-liners? How many jolts of inspiration do we need a day? What happened to deep, thought-provoking conversation? Or simple human-to-human interaction?
And, I flinch when I see text imposed on top of beauty, nature, and animals. I have a hard time putting a blog title on a beautiful image as a header. I’ve tried again and again but in the end I always feel it mars the beauty of the photo.
Chris Brogan wrote an energetic article on this new trend of text on photos and images: The Rise of the Junkweb and Why Its Awesome or At Least Inevitable. He says it is the next phase of the web.
Yes, he called your sweet photos junkweb! Don’t worry, it’s just a way to grab people’s attention, he confesses in the comments. At the same time, he says people are “in love with this new method of interacting.” But what’s interactive about it? I’ve been told these image posts work better on electronic gadgets than posts with many words, so maybe Brogan is right.
Is it the next phase of the web? Is it inevitable? What do you think? How do you find it?
A Facebook friend shared this provocative link which goes right to the heart of the question, in my mind. Ironically, it’s a comic, but a fabulous one not to be missed: Huxley vs. Orwell: Infinite Distraction or Government Oppression? – Amusing Ourselves to Death by Stuart McMillen.
As Brogan points out, these text-sprawled images are a “dead-end”. They may bring a moment of inspiration, but they don’t take you anywhere. When I was off-line, I read books and felt edified. I sat in nature and practiced deep listening. I connected with friends and felt a bond. I was taken into different dimensions of being that changed, and shaped, and grew me in a way that feels stronger, deeper, and wider than instant inspiration.
All this has made me wonder about my social media interaction. So this is how I am using social media for now:
- to connect with and support friends and their vision and activities;
- to share links to meaningful or helpful articles;
- to share inspiration, in moderation;
- to share my own work, reflections, dreams, and insights.
I may share photos and images with text on them occasionally, but not often. And, definitely not the ones with a blog url.
I’m afraid this post sounds arrogant and judgmental. It will probably push a few buttons so naturally I would love to hear your perspective. Maybe I have it all wrong.
So, are we amusing or inspiring ourselves to death or distraction?
Is this why some of my Facebook Friends have an explosion of followers? Am I missing the boat?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Am I just a fuddy-duddy? Should I be afraid for the written word?
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