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Social media: where everyone's a guest! Social media: where everyone's a guest!
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-12 10:40:20
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Imagine you throw a party where everyone in town is invited. No filter. Old and young. Rich and poor. Calm and aggressive. Law abiding and criminal. Altruistic and selfish. Self-controlled and voracious.

That's kind of how social media works.

Having studied this social media thing for the last 13 years, I have identified three main profiles on social media. Profiles evolve in time and space, but here's why people use social media.

socimedi0001_400Using social media to assert power

These guys and girls believe that the more power you have, the better. So they will leave comments that assert their power. They will run profiles that make them sound like powerful people. And to them, relationships with others involve a power game.

So these guys are going to leave comments trying to show that they have power, and wait and see how people respond to this power game.

Their end goal: assert power over people.

So you're going to have “innocent” people try to deal with power-hungry people, trying to reason power-hungry people, only to get devoured and humiliated by power-hungry people on social media.

How do those who want to assert power use social media? They attack individuals and see how they respond.

If the response is just as aggressive as the attack, you have a power game (called a flame war). If the response is an apology or fear, power-hungry people feel gratified.

If the response is silence, power-hungry people try a few more attacks, before they move on and look for other preys.

Using social media for companionship

You have those who try to make friends on social media. Real friends and virtual friends.

Unfortunately, a lot of times power-hungry people are preventing them from making friends. And power-hungry people also love breaking friendships.

So you have those looking for friends and/or a lover on social media. They look around, usually find friends they can chat with.

Just like in real life some friendships can last a lifetime, other friendships only last a day or two.

Those who use social media for companionship usually update their profile in ways that welcome people to come talk to them.

That is, they try to show a “friendly” face on social media.

Fortunately, there are many, many friendly people on social media.

Those who use social media to assert their individuality

These guys and girls aren't really using social media to communicate in the form of a dialogue. They are using social media to communicate in the form of a monologue.

In their profile, they tend to include a lot of information on what distinguishes them as an individual. And they wait and see how people respond to their individuality.

Three problems.

Problem one: a lot of power-hungry people are going to attack and troll them about their individuality. This can cause the individuals to react in ways to “improve” their individuality as they take the trolls literally and take the trolls comments into account. And when they're done “improving” their profiles, other trolls come attack them.

Problem two: those who seek their companionship tend to be frustrated with the individualists. That is, when you use social media to assert your individuality, people are going to come knocking at your door and try to be your friend. If you reject that yearning for companionship, soon enough no one is going to pay attention to your profile.

Problem three: Once no one responds or pays attention to your individuality, you start posting more and more provocative content, hoping people will pay attention to your individual quirks.

This is when people start strange diets, convert to strange religions, or engage in strange lifestyle changes, or do all kinds of strange stuff seeking attention, and no one pays attention.

Conclusion: using social media wisely

Social media use is a question of individual preference.

But you need to know that everyone's a guest at the party.

The power-hungry people are guests. Those seeking companionship are guests. Those trying to assert their individuality are guests.

And that's when you have people making friends, people fighting, and people showing off.

The problem is when, say, people who seek companionship think that everyone should use social media to seek companionship, not fight or assert their individuality.

Then you have people trying to assert their individuality complain about being attacked, or about people seeking their friendship and companionship when they want to be admired, not talked to.

To me, social media should be a reflection of all three profiles. But social media sites should amend their platforms to make it easier for those who seek friends to make friends, for those who want to pick up a good fight to fight, and for those who want to assert their individual quirks to assert their individual quirks.

But, you need to keep in mind that in spaces reserved for friendship you're always going to have a troll or two and a narcissist or two who are going to sneak in.

Finally, some people say that social media has changed the way people behave. I disagree.

Even in the old days, if you went to any party or event or social structure, you had those willing to pick up fights, those willing to make friends, and you had that guy or girl who wanted to be admired rather than talked to.

Some say you could avoid such people, but as far as I can remember, some people were just hard to avoid.

Some things never change.

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