I love social media, to an extent. Firstly, social media provide me a platform to share my thoughts; they allow me to have a voice and make noise. Additionally, I like sharing my art and experiences everywhere online, and I have to admit that I like the attention and support I get back from anywhere around the world. I can promote my campaign while having fun, effortlessly to an extent. That being said, the majority of the content being served is presentation-driven rather than knowledge-driven. So this raises the question: What are the pitfalls of knowledge –information if you will– sharing through social media?
User-driven, Data-driven, Platform-driven Content
So everything is user-driven, and this is to be expected. Social media aim for high engagement time from the users and interaction with the content. This is how they collect data on the users, and that data is the actual product. A large amount of data produces high-quality leads, and high-quality leads produce well-targeted advertisements. Obviously, well-targeted advertisements lead to money. Last week Facebook and Instagram wanted to find me a girlfriend because that's what they thought I was looking for based on their data-driven approach. This week they are full of photography classes and editing tools advertisements. I am the product, and they try to sell other products to me.
The Need for an Audience
As a creator/influencer on social media, it's natural to increase your audience and have increased engagement time. However, this aim generates several tradeoffs. The tradeoff I am focusing on in this post is the one between presentation and knowledge. The content we are posting to each platform has to adapt to the platform's characteristics. The content is both data-driven and platform-driven.
Expectedly, we need to tell the differences in presentation and knowledge for the delivered content. An eye-catching one-liner cannot replace a picture with a caption underneath. A picture with a caption underneath cannot replace a blog post. A blog post cannot replace a video. A video cannot replace an article. And an article cannot replace a book as we follow this chain, the tradeoff between presentation and knowledge changes. Progressively, it leans towards knowledge, and presentation is handled differently as we move away from social media.
For instance, this tradeoff has already affected me. When I wrote “Her,” I approached it like I was writing a small chapter of a book. Ten days later, I already realize I should have split it into two or three easier reads. Obviously, I'm already adapting to the platform I'm using.
Knowledge Sharing on Social Media: Understanding Your Role
Firstly, the key is using presentation to gain an audience and inspire the said audience to follow this chain — and ideally to guide them through it. Consequently, I don't write to solve others' problems, educate them, or tell them how to live their lives.
Of course, it would be fantastic if I could do that. But I'm not an expert on any topic I will be writing about. I'm just an amateur photographer/retoucher, an amateur blogger, and a personal interest in psychiatry. I will be writing very few blog posts about my research field. Admittedly, I'm not even close to being an expert in my research field.
My skillset is mostly limited to expressing emotions and writing about ideas. That's my talent, and it stems from my personality, which is, of course, affected by my disorders. The only thing I'm becoming an expert on is myself and the manifestations of being a borderpolar on me. Clearly, I'm neither an expert on borderline personality disorder nor on bipolar disorder. I'm just learning as I go, but I will never become an expert.
Nonetheless, if other people can relate to the projection of myself I share on social media be inspired by it, I will be grateful. If they can learn something about themselves from the work I do on myself and my creative interests, that will be amazing. That's all I can ask for. Being an inspiration to people suffering or the ones close to them would be very rewarding.
Science and Social Media
Psychiatry and the biology of mental illnesses are bleeding-edge sciences. However, we are still very far from understanding the full spectrum of human behavior and its causes. You won't find much scientific research on social media, and there is a good reason for that. So try to question everything. Instead of accepting opinions as facts, follow the trail of information. Seek knowledge and knowledge will help you create a better filter to distinguish opinions from facts.
The point is, a meme won't save you, and it won't change the world. Neither will a blog post or a YouTube video. Most of the information you will find will be compressed and catered to the short attention span promoted by modern digital life. Real science and social media don't fit well together yet.
The bottom line is that all these social media platforms can trigger your senses and catch your attention. That attention can be converted to motivation to seek answers to all complicated matters that trouble you. Regardless, what you do with that stimulus is entirely on you. And that's my two cents, an opinion, not a fact.