Browsing social media is a lot of peoples favourite pastime, while to others it’s a complete waste of time. I’m not for or against either side, but it’s interesting to take that debating point to view social media through a different lens.
To begin with, is browsing and interacting with social media fundamentally different from any other passive pastimes such as watching tv, reading a book or playing a game? When drawing this comparison it’s easy to see that browsing social media is no different to any of these other mediums and in fact, it could be a good mixture of all of them. Social media allows users to find engaging things to read, watch videos that they’re interested in, participate in competitions and games and interact with other users. This is probably key to why it’s so successful in catching people and bringing them back.
A new art form?
Given the fact that social media is a mashup of all of these other mediums does that mean you could classify social media as an art form? Debatably film, tv, books and games are all their own unique art forms so why not social media? To many, it’s just a platform that’s used to view content but for others, it’s their livelihood and passion.
Perhaps you think classifying it as art is a bit too drastic because it’s just a place where content is posted and social media itself is not actually the content. Or is it? There are people out there creating elaborate stories and content through their social media that require massive amounts of effort and consideration, that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.
How religiously do you check Facebook?
How about thinking of social media as some sort of religion? There have been many studies on the impact of social media on religion but none with the twist that it could just be a new form of religion. Many people tune into social media on a daily basis for their dose of inspiration, motivation or even bringing them faith.
To distil religion down to a way for someone to have faith is a bit crude but it does illustrate the point that each person takes something different away from their religion or belief and people do the same with social media. It takes the form of whatever people need, be it an inspiring Instagram user, an informative Youtube video or even a local neighbourhood Facebook group.
Take a break with Instagram
Could social media even be your holiday? Although not quite as good as the real thing, following others as they travel the world on social media could even be quelling the urge for people’s need to travel. Being able to see someone else experiencing the joys of travelling and following along with them on their journey every step of the way through whatever form it comes (video, photos, a blog) is something quite new to this world and could even look to replace travel for some.
Taking one step back it may not even be following someone as they travel but rather just following or interacting with people from all over the world. For others, the opposite effect would also occur – pushing them to pursue their own travel.
If nothing else social media is highly entertaining and a great way to pass the time in whatever form it comes in and however you choose to interact with it.