Before the Internet, TV was blamed for everything superficial, unproductive, and vain about our modern life. Now, social media has assumed that role. Since the Internet is a two-way mass media, it is more versatile than TV. Each platform can be used in a way the creators did not intend. I meet interesting people in real life through Instagram. Many people feel it’s dangerous. They could be scammers, creeps, or serial killers, they say.
Most social media platforms are designed to encourage quantity over quality and breadth over depth. The problem of measuring anything is that, eventually, the cause and effect flip. The number of followers, for instance, doesn’t reflect the quality of content, but the content reflects the number of followers. That is, you begin producing content that can maximize the number of followers. In that process, you become alienated from your own content, much like how Kurt Cobain began hating the people in the audience after Nirvana became a mega-hit. The content no longer belongs to you but to the audience.
But you don’t have to use social media that way. You can prioritize quality over quantity. When you connect with others at the bottom of the ocean, you automatically eliminate bullshit because people with dubious intent cannot afford so much time and effort to reach there. Many of my Instagram friends know their stuff. If I bullshit, they’ll see right through and wouldn’t waste their time on me.
Although Instagram is designed for the people floating on the ocean’s surface, there are too many to sift through. Meeting up with them in person would not only be a waste of time but could indeed be dangerous.
Instagram probably won’t work for me forever. Since it has no financial incentive to support people like me, it will eventually evolve into a form where my particular usage would not be possible (like limiting the number of characters to 256). But it’s okay; finding others at the bottom of the ocean isn’t hard. If you stumble across some in a particular area, it means they share the same arduous journey there. You immediately know something dearest to their hearts.
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