Musings on the different characters who make social media what it is
Social media is an integral aspect of many lives. Some use it to keep in touch with friends and family, and also catch up with what they are doing. Others use it to identify the fun spots so they can tick off experiences on their bucket list. Some use it to promote their products and services, and some others find it a useful tool for getting updated about the latest trends. One is most likely to find it can meet almost all social needs.
I recently got thinking about the various personalities that exist online as social media’s beauty has always been the people, so I decided to share my thoughts. Let me know if you recognise any of these personalities.
Many people got introduced to social media through Facebook. Once upon a time, it was the go-to app, and you could get your total social media experience here, but not anymore. Irrespective, many have remained faithful, and you can find them dishing out political analyses, offering solicited and unsolicited coaching services, providing motivational speeches, sharing prayer points and spiritual messages, and analysing football matches as though there were the star coaches. The best sense of community can probably be found on Facebook, but you would have to join a nice group first.
Twitter “Opinion Leaders”
Everyone on Twitter has an opinion, whether well-informed or not, researched or not. How these opinions are generated is irrelevant as many people dish them out with the authority of subject matter experts. You definitely do not want to be on a thread debating facts and figures with someone who considers himself a front-row seat participant in the accounts they have just tweeted about. Several intelligent personalities tweet useful content, but I think the pressure from these rare gems has motivated many tweeps to tweet drivel.
Many people on Instagram are clearly living perfect lives if you are to believe the content they share. Is it the amount of airbrushing or the search for the perfect selfie, or even the well-coordinated ambience? If you want to know the truth though, just read through the comments of posts, and you will find people displaying their true nature. Oh, not forgetting those who hide behind faceless accounts and disturb the peace on posts that don’t concern them.
Everyone on Linkedin is either a CEO, an entrepreneur, or just starting their perfect job that they are so glad to announce. Profile pictures have to be professionally taken, and career experiences must be communicated with the appropriate action words: spearheaded, implemented, coached, etc. Also, not forgetting the superhuman achievements that would make Superman green with envy. Meanwhile, some appear to have mistaken it for Facebook as it isn’t unusual to find people selling houses, hosting live prayer sessions, and discussing the latest reality show.
Just in case you didn’t know, the comments section is always definitely the attraction here. I didn’t find out early enough so I would watch video after video, and not bother with the comments. It doesn’t matter whether it is a web series, a music video, clips from a reality show, or a “My name is Jo and welcome to my YouTube channel” video, just check the comments and thank me later. For example, view a post from any of the top music competitions, and you would find in-depth analyses of the contestants: “she didn’t hit the high notes”, “he went off-key towards the end, how could he miss simple E#?”, “he obviously hasn’t listened to the original version of the song, this is trash”. I wonder if such people live and breathe their criticisms.
I downloaded the app many many years ago and lasted just three weeks! It didn’t make sense to me then and the copycat versions on Instagram and Facebook are ok for me (maybe that is why I haven’t gone back?). At the time, it was filled with monitoring spirits (it probably still is). What goes on there these days apart from sharing new filters? Should I download it again and just take a peep?
The latest playground! Everyone here appears to be so content with life that they have time to make videos doing funny dances and participating in weird challenges (crate challenge anyone?). It’s where the youngins gather to test their limits and the oldies pop in to feel young again. If you have the app, then you have probably done a silly dance at least once.
This is audio convos on steriods (Twitter created “Spaces” when they couldn’t buy Clubhouse). I pop in now and again: everyone behaves like they have a PhD in something, and they are usually so respectful as everyone typically waits their turn before commenting.
Many blogs are focused on providing news or sharing information on celebrities (what they are doing, what they shouldn’t be doing, and what they don’t want you to know they are doing). As they offer a front-row seat into the lives of other people, many people feel entitled to render their opinions: a perfect opportunity for trolling. I think most of these trolls found their calling when the reality shows started. Then they moved from commenting on blogs to Twitter and Instagram, but you would still find many loyal to popular blogs, dissecting the lives of people they have no business discussing.
And then, there are the social messaging apps…
At first, there was BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). It was fun until some people discovered the broadcast button and subsequently abused it by sharing everything they came across. WhatsApp wasn’t like this at the time, so many quickly ported thinking they had escaped the BBM broadcasters. We all eventually realised that they followed us and brought their entire family along! These people possess special skills such as auto-forwarding messages, never verifying messages, sending abnormally large videos and memes, and the worst of all, reposting old messages!!! Then some initiate video calls without first checking if it is ok to do so.
I have been on Telegram for so long but I rarely use it. I hear it is better than WhatsApp but since everyone I want to chat with is elsewhere, I rarely ever check the app. I do know that many people use it to hold training sessions since it can host groups of over a thousand people.
I wonder if social media would be as interesting as it is if all of these characters were not on it. After all is said and done, social media is a useful tool for influencing action, did someone just ask about the influencers? Those people need a dedicated article as they have become a formidable institution. We all can build our influence online but we should remember to be responsible about it, this is the way I see things today.