I am feeling a bit restless.

Here’s what about:

My work and, well, social media…mostly frickin’ social media.

Here’s why, and yes, I know what I’m about to write makes me sound a tad old.

During my song writing/recording days, music was about albums. How the songs flowed together as a group. My band labored over the order of songs in hopes that our album would be an experience that lasted from the first to the last song. An order of songs that could transport you to another place and elicit all sorts of feelings, memories, and more. A song or two would usually stand out as more immediately accessible, while others clearly fell into the ‘grows on you after 10 listens’ category.

Cut to:

Present day.

I know, I know…there are still albums, but….

With the advent of iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, music seems to be individual song driven. Often the most accessible, quick-to-like songs. We spend the 99 cents and boom—we’ve got the hit on our phones.

But what about the rest of the album? What about the songs that don’t jump right out at you? What about the songs that take 10 listens to appreciate?

Here’s the truth—there are albums that I’ve been listening to for 30 years, yet STILL discovering in them things I never have before. Noticing a lyric here, a guitar riff there. Elements that I seemingly passed by for years until, for whatever reason, they stood out. Songs whose meanings change for me as my life changes. Lyrics that are more relevant to me now than they were when I first heard them.

Here’s my fear…

With an unprecedented amount of music, art, videos, blogs, podcasts, news, films, shows etc. out there (a good thing) we are perhaps losing out on the deeper, more meaningful, less accessible content (not such a good thing) because it’s just too to easy to go from hit to hit to hit. We are devoting less time to discovery, insight, the deeper meaning. We hear the hit song, download the hit song, and move on.

Perhaps even worse, many content creators are working hard to craft the most effective ‘click bait’ for fear their work will be lost in the craziness. More and more focus is on what will go viral than on what will change the world for the better.

So how does social media relate to all this?

About two months ago I deleted my Twitter account, and never looked back. Why? Because it’s the epitome of quick hits, headlines. Get it all in in 140 or 280 characters and move on. Don’t linger. In fact, if you’re not on your feed a ton, you miss a ton. I began to go on less and less and despise it more and more.

But that’s Twitter…I am still on Facebook and Instagram.

While I’m not ready to throw in the towel on them yet, I am putting some serious thought to what, if anything, they’re adding to my life. Both platforms have very little to do with my actual work, my actual ideas. My work lives entirely on smallsteppers.com, my books, YouTube, this blog, and previously on my podcast (incidentally, I may have some news on that front in the coming months). I do enjoy keeping up with old friends now and then, but on the balance, losing interest in the whole shebang–in fact, I wish there was another way to keep in touch with old friends, say something like (and I’m just throwing out ideas here) some sort of electronic mail-ish type of thing, or a device we could talk into and our voices would be sent through the air.

Here’s what I really want:

Frankly, the fact that the phrase “click bait” even exists is a sad commentary on the modern world. So, let’s not forget about the beneath-the-surface content, and do what we can when we can to find it.

If this means tossing out Facebook, then so it goes.

How about this instead: I’ll see you at the coffee house.



4 Responses

  1. If I may be so bold to share a different take on this, at least the first part of this post. I have to take a more positive approach to this. I like that I can find a common thread with someone I seemingly have little in common with, say watching a millennial/right winger/far lefter or an “insert label here” persons video/insta post where they express an idea I didn’t think capable of that group. This gives me hope that there really is a common thread to humanity. I don’t fit neatly into any group, maybe most people don’t, so when things go “viral” to me it shows a coming together of people, an agreement on some idea. It makes me feel less alone in a world I often feel I cannot relate to anymore. It gives me hope that one day we can come together on the big ideas that are fundamentally important to us all.

    So the rapper/country crooner/pop idol, may put out a song about some despair I can relate to but not the rest of the album of cars/trucks/boyfriends. I may watch some vegan youtuber and enjoy their content about what they are eating but not their endless yabbering on bike riding or yoga. I don’t like party politics. I like the freedom to pick and choose what relates to me and my unique little position in the world and I need a huge variety of ideas/people to choose from. It is in this variety and the ability to pick and choose that I find my discovery, insight and deeper meaning. My subscription feed is right, left, muslim, christian, vegan and not, and YOU.

    And I am not on social media, perhaps this makes me naive to your position.


  2. Very well put. For Christmas 1979 I got Eat To The Beat. Within a week I knew every word of every song. Maybe it is an age thing but I don’t think people do that anymore.

  3. Thanks Nancy! I see what you’re saying, and agree. I am definitely open to relating to single songs (and often do), but my point was that there is work out there that isn’t relatable necessarily on first listen, and sometimes it is that work that is deeper and more meaningful. I think, somewhat due to the ‘immediacy’ of social media, that as a culture we’re moving more toward quick fix, viral and away from taking our time with things. Lastly, I also agree with the fact that sometimes viral is a coming together–my point in the post was about the main focus (from the creator’s standpoint) being on how to make viral content (or create a click bait title) rather than meaningful/substantive content that may or may not go viral…

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