Frictionless sharing and the end of Social Media Curation

2 Oct
Sharing by talkingplant

Photo credit to talkingplant

In my last post, I discussed how frictionless sharing without context was meaningless.  How an app posting that “Maggie read this” really only meant “Someone on Maggie’s computer clicked on this”.

But frictionless sharing means a lot more than meaningless oversharing, it’s also the end of social media curation.

Since the rise of social media, we’ve all become curators – we’ve become the scrapbookers and librarians of our own lives, learning to research, present, and display material in a meaningful and engaging way. 

Highlights in American HistoryRemember 5th grade history books that organized US history into themes? (They had names like “The Road to Liberty” and “America Looks West.”)  Well, in writing and sharing our own autobiographies through social networking sites, we’ve learned to create those themes.  And are themes aren’t usually structured around things like “Maggie is lonely”, but around things like “Maggie had an awesome vacation”.  They’re all happy, positive themes – much like the 5th grade history book themes.

Our social media profiles aren’t an accurate picture of who we are.  On Facebook, we’re all shiny, happy people.  We post about the cool places we go and the parties that we go to, we don’t post that we’re sitting at home alone wishing we had something better to do.  (On Facebook, like in Lake Wobegon, all children are above average.)

Lots has been written (by me and many others more qualified) about the problems that this super curated view of the world can cause.  How no one can keep up with the Joneses when they only know about the best and brightest aspect of the Joneses’ lives.  How seeing only the happy parts of our friends’ lives can make us feel even more upset about our own.  The grass is always greener, especially when you only see pictures of the greenest pieces of the grass.

scrapbooking by lars hammar

Photot credit to lars hammar

I’m of two minds on the end of curation.  #1) I spent hours artfully curating my social media presences.  I enjoy it and I enjoy building a scrapbook of how I want the world to see me – it helps me figure out how I want to see myself and the person that I want to be.  On a personal level, my curation is good for me.

But on the other hand, my curation isn’t good for my friends, and their curation isn’t good for me.  There’s a bit of The Tragedy of the Commons to it.  (Basically, just because something is good for each person as an individual doesn’t mean that it can’t have disastrous consequences for society as a whole.)  It would be good for me to see that a lot of them spent last night at home alone, too.  And it would probably be good for some of them to know that that’s how I spent my evening.

(Also, on a side note, but really enjoy non sequential lists, like 1, B, Also, IV, and Finally.)

Cool by lago A.R.

Photo credit to lago A.R.

On a personal level, I’m not looking forward to the end of social media curation.  (After all, without it, how can I convince people that I’m cooler than I actually am?)  But I see that, in a broader way, some good might come out of it.  After all, it’s a lot easier to keep up with the Joneses when you see that their kids cry and that their roof leaks, and that their grass has some brown spots on it, too.

So, Facebook, bring on the brown spots.  Let everyone know that my grass isn’t all that green.  And let me see that theirs isn’t, either.

Questions of the day:  Scale of 1 to 10, how accurate is your profile?  (Or, inversely, how good of a curator are you?)  Do you look forward to the end or curation or wish to hold on to that power a little longer?


MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

One Response to “Frictionless sharing and the end of Social Media Curation”

  1. Sherman Lau October 6, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    Social media profiles are NEVER an accurate picture of who we are…..I have read a book which talks about creating our identity in virtual world. Different social media sites allow us to create and present different identities. I can be professional and smart in Linkin, at the same time I can look really funny and stupid on facebook. Which one is accurate? With Frictionless sharing, maybe facebook will become the most “accurate” social media!

    Additionally, I am doing a project called “Re:Memory” (www.rememory.co) which you and your readers may also interested to know about. It is an online campaign aiming to raise awareness on Digital Memories. How to preserve these memories? How to keep them safe and secure? How to arrange for these memories after you die? People need to think about these questions!

    The idea of Re:Memory is that users are encouraged to upload their memories in the platform and they can choose to get back their memories before a date. However, users’ memories, once uploaded, will “disappear” until they suddenly pop up in a special form along with some information about the issue. It aims to offer users an immersive experience just like they randomly open their drawer, re-engaging with their objects of memory.

    Visit the site and have a try!
    Also you may get some information on this page:
    http://www.facebook.com/memoryBACK

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