Ugh. Social media – it’s all a big pile of crap, really, isn’t it?
Think about it. It played a more than significant role in Brexit and Trump, it’s annihilated our attention spans and it allows bullies to appear in their victims’ pocket.
Not only that, it’s full of ads that line the coffers of tax-dodging big organisation bastards, its algorithms skew our world view into an echo chamber and it’s full of idiots who can’t fucking spell or use punctuation properly.
These are all the kinds of things you’d probably expect to hear from a middle-aged man – the sort of old git who loves to get on his high-horse about, well, anything that disagrees with his world view.
But – surprise! – the person writing this article is actually a millennial. Moreover, a millennial who also happens to be a social media professional with more than a decade’s experience.
That’s right – I’m a social media manager and I’m at the point where I absolutely hate social media. The more I spend on it and the more it grows only increases my desire to get out.
But, if I did that, how would I pay the mortgage?
My relationship with social media hasn’t always been like this – far from it.
I remember the halcyon days of the mid 00s when Facebook was this exotic, exclusive space that required you to have a University email address to join, Twitter was a force for good and MySpace was the height of cool.
I miss MySpace.
But, as is the way with these things, the platforms got bigger and brands got involved.
At first, brands posting on social was kind of cute. Even better, organisations – services, councils, governments – got involved and used it to tell their story and humanise themselves.
Sadly, everywhere continued to grow. With that growth came two things – idiots and banter.
The idiots used the technology to spread hate while brands tried banter and I threw up in my mouth a bit.
Now, we’re at the point where ‘social media’ gets blamed for something on the news at least once a week and being someone who works in the industry has become increasingly embarrassing.
For every one truly great post from a brand or organisation on social media these days, we have to forcibly shove our way through a load of turds. It’s like the guy in the Shawshank Redemption, crawling his way through half a mile of shit to escape.
If I didn’t work in the industry, I’m pretty sure I’d have sacked off all this social bollocks long ago. But, doing so would be a foolish move for my career prospects.
I’m sick of it, to be honest. The platforms want your money – regardless of how good your content is – and the vast majority of your followers couldn’t give less of a shit about what you have planned for them.
Unless your company fucks up, changes its logo or runs a service that is affected when it snows they really won’t care. And yet, that pressure to constantly add to the churn is there.
I hate being part of this machine. I hate helping these platforms grow – these spaces that fail to deal with fake news and abuse, and that are contributing to so many people having poor mental health.
But, the problem is, I don’t really have anywhere else to go.
Sure, in my head I’m a communicator, a storyteller…even, dare I say something so grand…a writer.
However, in reality, I have to spend a stupid amount of time trying to find the right gif, the right emoji and the right caption to satisfy my meaningless KPIs of engagement. And, even when I get the mix right, I’ll be hammered by a bloody cat video.
I just want to create cool content that tells amazing stories and be able to post about them online and be confident people will see them. I want to know the audience I’ve spent time building will actually get served my posts.
Obviously, social media has been incredibly powerful and has done plenty of good. But, let’s face it, the bulk of it is about as meaningful and has about as much longevity as the career of an X-Factor winner. If we woke up tomorrow to find out that social media was being deleted, I’d be more than happy.
I’d need a new job, but I’d be happy.
Unfortunately/fortunately, that’s not going to happen so I’ll plod on – dreaming of being able to use the internet without worrying about shares, followers and engagement rates.