Dear social media; it’s not me…it’s you.
I have a confession: I like getting phone calls, and making them and I like being able to tell a story that doesn’t require writing an essay text.
And I’ve come to realise, that this is becoming something more and more rare.
In our times, making a phone call is one of the most intimate forms of social interaction you can have with someone. You are literally in their head, with no one else. Just the two of you.
The weight that society has placed on the simple act of picking up the phone and calling someone we know speaks volumes about how we as a collective think about our social connectedness. Or rather, the substitutes we have favoured over other “archaic” forms of social connectedness, such as social media.
Social media has allowed us to create a digital carbon copy of our social lives. The same, but not really.
Social media was built on the basis of providing us with a platform to connect with our family and friends no matter where we are (figuratively and literally) – it was designed to add value to our lives. But it appears that value may be slipping, and perhaps the honeymoon stage is coming to an end.
In all relationships there is a give and take, but it appears we have started asking ourselves ‘what is social media bringing to the table?’. If I am giving it my attention, time and allowing it to provide a flimsy lookalike for social interaction I want to know what it is giving me. Because right now, it doesn’t feel like it’s holding up it’s end of the deal.
As it turns out, I’m not alone in this. The 2017 Deloitte Media Consumer Survey found that dissatisfaction among the early adopters of social media (Millennials and Xers) is on the rise. The survey revealed that 29% of respondents spend more effort maintaining their social media image and connections than they do in-person relationships.
It seems we are now giving pause to disconnect, take a break, and let our mind process the constant stream of advertising, videos, birth announcements, FOMO inducing images and last but not least fake news that we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
So, let’s take stock of our relationship with social media. We have been giving more time, more effort, more brain power, more money, more anxiety and more attention to something that is in the end forcing us into the need for disconnection.
This seems counter-intuitive.
But this explains overall usage statistics which Deloitte uncovered in their survey that tells us that daily social media usage has dropped slightly from 61 per cent to 59 per cent over the last year, and 31 per cent of respondents have temporarily or permanently deactivated one or more of their social media accounts in the past year.
So what’s the lesson here? How do brands connect with an audience that is growing increasingly disillusioned? How do we continue to connect with people who are losing the faith?
We need to bring social media back to it’s roots and core purpose of adding value to the lives of people who use it. When you’re creating content – in whatever form – take pause and ask yourself ‘is this adding value to people’s lives?’ – it might just save your social media marriage.
Sources: 2017 Deloitte Media Consumer Survey