What are social media statuses used for?

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OPINION: Just a few days ago, I told you that Twitter was going to test a new function, already present in other social networks, in the United States. And I said I was a little surprised because, traveling down memory lane to Twitter’s early days, and for many users even in its present, this is more or less the raison d’être of this social network, share states. Rich states, of course, since the number of characters has increased from 140 to 280, images, gifs and videos, URL shorteners, etc. were included, but states, after all.

Lots of people on Twitter published and keep posting statuses, which can go from “I’m sad” to “I listen to Velouria, from Los Pixies” passing, of course, by the eternal “yesterday I ate chicken for dinner”. On other social networks, such as Facebook, Internet users develop reflections of all kinds and depths… and accompany them with “I’m sad”, “I listen to Velouria, from Loss Pixies” or “yesterday I ate chicken » . The context changes and the network changes, but the States are more present every day, and I bet we will see how this will only grow in the future.

In the publication thread of said news, Benito Camelas (sorry for having reproduced the pun, but it’s his nickname), one of our most participative readers in the comments, wondered why the usefulness of statuses in social networks. A question with much more depth than it seems at one point, and what’s more, I admit that it has made me think a little since it was asked. And after thinking about it, it’s something that I can’t help but detach from the reaction buttons, also from social networks.

A few years ago, my colleague and friend Marcos Sagrado raised an interesting thought about a feature that Facebook was working on at the time, an alternative to the “like” so typical of Zuckerberg’s service, but one that would express empathy and/or or support before an unfavorable, negative comment and/or situation. A response, of course, consisting of a button. A good representation of what social media is and why states exist.

To understand the purpose of many elements of social networks, including of course, states, we must take into account two contradictory realities: on the one hand, the need for social networks to have content, which depends entirely on its users, and on the other hand, that due to a combination of factors that some sociologists have surely already studied, with the time the human being becomes lazier when it comes to communicating.

I come back to the text by Marcos that I was talking about earlier, the one dedicated to a button to show empathy on Facebook. Imagine that, for example, a friend has suffered a major loss and talks about it on his wall. A boost doesn’t sound like a good option, does it? However, a button with say a hug responds much better to context. And it’s much more comfortable and faster than typing “Wow, I’m so sorry, a big hug and if there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.” In social networks, immediacy and comfort take precedence.

Thus, social networks lead us, in many cases, to a much more synthetic communication model, with as many facilities to send a message as we could need, and the States are a perfect example of this. What could be more comfortable, write that you are listening to the best album in the history of the Pixies, comment and recommend a few songs, or simply select the activity of a selector and complete the information by writing the song or album? And that or connect Twitter with Spotify and have your status updated automatically?

In my opinion, and I know it is shared by many other people, social networks impoverish the quality of communicationHowever contribute to increasing its volume exponentially. Today, if your circle of friends uses social networks in this way, in a few minutes you will be able to find out how they are doing, what they are doing… hell, it is even possible that they indirectly recommend something to you again. you. listen. And it would be cynical to deny this positive aspect of this new model of communication that social networks have brought us.

What are social media statuses used for?

Communication changes, as does language, and we cannot say, in an absolute way, that the said evolution is good or bad, although there are special cases where the balance tips one way or the other. In the case of a friend, family member, relative, etc. who shares a bad moment on social networks, the answer with a sad face, without further ado, personally seems little to me, if only because if, at some point, I see myself on the other side of the equation, I would like to receive something more than that.

However, and in general, lose qualitatively but gain quantitatively, if that doesn’t mean having to give up free choice in this regard, that doesn’t necessarily seem like a bad thing to me. To be able to quickly catch up on the state of health of my friends and acquaintances, to take advantage of the discretion of being able to call them, write to them, meet them over a beer and chat or whatever, does not necessarily seem impoverishing to me.

And I don’t know, maybe I’m too optimistic, but I knowexcept in cases like the one cited as an example, and in which Marcos was more right than a saint (seriously, if a loved one has a problem or is going through a bad patch, give them the treatment you would like to receive instead) I think social media has not made communication worse, what they have done is change, and now it’s up to us to decide how to use these tools.

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