Simon Says: Tweet, Pin and Like me, please.


All I’ve been hearing about recently is Pinterest. The pinboard styled start-up that allows you to create image-based collections of things that matter to you. A great and simple concept, and having been a member for over a month now I can honestly say I love it.

Pinterest has found its way into the hearts and browsers of millions of people. But why? Well, in the past couple of years there’s been a growing need to share things. I say need; it’s more a “want” from people. We don’t need to share any of this information, but we’re compelled to.

The internet is slowly turning everyone I know into attention seekers who subtly try and get us to care about things they care about. This easy win is a self-fulfilling prophecy and the more we feel valued online, the more we want from it.

I’ll give you an example. I tweeted a joke about 2 weeks ago that got ReTweeted on the BBC Comedy Twitter account. This led to another 18 ReTweets and a bunch of Favourites. And all I could think in that moment was… I want to write another post that gets more ReTweets. Sad, but true. I am sure I am not alone.

I was finding validation from these complete strangers. As soon as I logged off I was alone in my bedroom. For a moment I felt compelled to share a witty (I use the term very loosely) observation about my room.

I find my relationship with social networks evolves quicker than they do. It’s gone from a harmless way to alert my friends to things that are going on in my life, to a place to share my every waking thought in an attempt to spark conversations.

The other day I was walking along the Southbank Centre in London and saw a really awesome sunset. My head immediately said “Instagram this, but only share it on Twitter”. What kind of specific request is that? I don’t want to be that person.

I sometimes worry about the world inbetween bites of my lunchtime sandwiches. I’ve started to make a conscious effort to avoid social networks in my personal time. Sounds odd, given my career choice. But I found myself missing human interaction and missing moments with my friends because I was too busy tweeting about it.

A friend once said to me “there’s a fine line between social networking and wasting your life”. I fear too many people chase what’s perceived to be an “easy win” online in favour of personal development, growth and human interaction in general.

So what can we do about it Simon? You’re not asking us to commit social suicide are you? Not after we got Brand A & B to sign off those massive budgets for the iPad app which allows people to browse our Tweets and blog posts in one place? No. I am not asking that. I am saying take time to log off and put less stock in social networking.

The world before social media was enough to hold our attention. It was simple and beautiful, intricate and fun. I make time (daily, when possible) to log off and read a book or walk to the station a few stops down the line to get some fresh air and enjoy one of my favourite albums. I heavily question if I need to update my Status on Facebook to say I am having an awesome time with x,y & z at abc.

I’ve barely heard anything good about Facebook's Timeline from my friends. They all bitch and moan they didn’t ask for it… so why use it so often? People moaning about people forgetting to follow them back on Twitter, really? It all adds up to nothing because one day we will die and ultimately everything we do is inconsequential.

So thanks for reading. It took you away from the meaningless social networks for a few minutes, but I bet a small percentage of you were wondering if anyone had given you a notification, a poke or a DM. The messages and alerts will still be there in 10 minutes. And if it’s really important, believe me, people still pick up the phone.

Photo (cc) Maryland GovPics



Notification junkies we are. I like notifications, but I hate email clients never level you up.