Jason Smith

I'm Jason. This is my home on the web where I write. Stick around. It's going to get interesting. 

How I honestly feel about social networks

Is there something wrong with me?

I’ve never been a social network addict. I often use Facebook/Twitter/App.Net to share things I find interesting, but if I am honest a lot of the time I have to make a sincere effort to go and check what’s happening there.

I have a handful of people I know on twitter that I make my phone beep when they update their status, same on Facebook, but I honestly don’t feel any loss when I am oblivious to everyone’s social network happenings for months on end.

I love to write and blog, and I guess I have felt the pressure to have a presence on the various social networks. All the advisors tell me it’s how I can build trust, how I can prove to the world I am a real person, how I can “engage” my audience.

But it just doesn’t seem to come naturally for me.

Ironically the more effort I feel I go to prove I’m a “real” person the more fake I feel.

After scrolling through my FB newsfeed and replying to the people I feel I should, I feel like I have completed a chore, ticked off a nagging job or something. 

If someone invented a device that saved me from having to eat food, I would no longer eat. I’m not the kind of person who gets pleasure from it. I just do it because I’m hungry. Usually 10 minutes after dinner I cannot remember what I just had. That’s how “social networking” feels to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti social networks, nor is this meant to be a manifesto as the wrongness of them. Just an admission that I personally really don’t feel the urge to use them with much regularity. I can really see the benefits of them and the reasons people love them so much.

There are moments when I do feel like it, I get the urge to jump on app.net and chat with some people, respond to some comments, or check out some links. It’s nice that it exists when I do get the urge. Same with Twitter and Facebook. There are moments when I feel like logging on and wandering around, sharing a witty remark or two or uploading a photo. But too often I feel like I have to serve the network, not it just existing to serve me.

Maybe it’s because I’ve become a very “on demand” kind of person. 

I don’t watch TV and flick through the channels any more. I decide what and when I want to watch something. Maybe social networks feel a bit like old fashion TV, just lots happening all the time and no sense of order. Who knows?

I read somewhere once that you get a hit of dopamine when you post something to FB or twitter. Perhaps this is the appeal. I guess I just feel the obligation to then go and read everyone else’s dopamine hits. 

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