Vine’s Been Cut Down

If you follow this blog, you probably know I’m not a fan of social media (ironic, considering blogging is a form of social media, but anyway…). So I was happy to hear about the demise of Vine,* which is basically YouTube with a much shorter attention span, where users post 6-second videos. Yes, you read that right. Six seconds of video, played on a loop until the viewer gets sick of it and it’s no longer amusing or funny or whatever it was supposed to be.

Apparently, Vine is being shut down (although the existing videos will remain in an archive) because it did not keep up with the innovative pace of Twitter, Snapchat, and other popular social media sites. Why did Vine not last? Perhaps because users wanted something with a little more substance, so they turned to YouTube. Maybe they wanted to upload pictures instead of videos, so they went on Instagram.

Oddly enough, I’ve also been hearing things about Twitter (the parent company of Vine) and Tumblr (owned by Yahoo!, which was recently bought by Verizon) also having problems. So maybe Vine represents the beginning of the end for social media in general, and we can all return to having face-to-face conversations instead of burying our heads in our phones all the time. I do recognize that this is an unlikely outcome because social media sites come and go all the time, but I can dream, right?

*But I was not happy upon realizing that Vine’s shutdown means that people will be out of jobs.

Clogged Feeds and Cluttered Dashboards

It’s almost too easy to get lost on the Internet and social media. There’s so much to see and so many links to click that you can quickly be sucked into a vortex and before you know it, half the day is gone and you’ve done nothing productive.

There are two keys to avoid getting trapped on social media: (1) don’t follow so many people, and (2) don’t follow people who post an obnoxious amount of material.

On WordPress, I follow 35 blogs. I’ve found that it’s a manageable number so that I don’t get overwhelmed trying to read everybody’s posts. If a particular blog hasn’t been posted to in more than a year, I unfollow it and choose another blog. If I follow someone who ends up posting more than once per day, nine times out of ten, I unfollow that person because the volume of posts becomes too much to deal with.

On Tumblr, it’s the same. I follow about 30 or so blogs, and I check Tumblr once a day. If I followed more people, I’d find myself checking more than once a day just to keep track of it all. Because Tumblr is more of an image-based site, and any text posts tend to be very short, an “obnoxious number of posts” is more subjective. There are people who post only once a month or so, but when they do, they make hundreds of posts at a time. That’s too much for my overloaded brain to deal with. 🙂 Then you have people who post about once a day, and while that’s a lot for a site like WordPress, it’s a little for a site like Tumblr, where one small post can get lost in someone’s feed.

I used to have Twitter, and I don’t think I followed more than 50 or so people at once. Because the posts were short, the number was easy to deal with. Back when I had Facebook, I followed roughly 65 people. Most of them did not post often, and when they did, the posts were very short, so it was still manageable.

Avoiding the Internet vortex is a matter of carefully choosing who you follow, how much time you have, and how much you can process or scroll through. Sometimes you’re hesitant to unfollow someone because it’s “not nice,” but in the end, it’s your time.

Social Media Hermit

A few days ago, I got an email asking me to take a short survey for a chance to win a gift card. I thought, “Sure, why not?” so I clicked on the link to take the survey. I was then prompted to enter my Facebook or Twitter login information. I am not on either of those sites, and there was no other way to fill out the survey.

A similar thing happened once before. One of the groups at my church has a Facebook page, and they communicate there all the time. Whenever I meet up with the group in person, they’re always continuing a conversation that they had on Facebook, and I’m left staring blankly because… I was never part of “the loop.”

There are countless sites that ask you to join with a Facebook or Twitter account, and they leave no other way of joining. Many businesses ask you to leave feedback on their Facebook or Twitter pages.

Yeah, sure — Facebook and other social media sites are the “in” thing and have been for some time. If you don’t have one, you’re out of certain social circles, or at least, you miss out on certain conversations or opportunities. Not that it’s a huge deal, but it’s mildly annoying. I suppose I could re-establish my social media accounts for the sole purpose of signing up for sites and filling out surveys, but it’s not worth it.

I prefer to remain a social media hermit.