The (non) Nuance of Fast Media

On Twitter I am connected with Silvia Spiva who is also writing for In her latest article: “How Intimacy Travels the World”. Silvia opens with:

“The librarian in my soul doesn’t understand Snapchat. What is the point of creating something beautiful that can only be shared once? If it’s worth seeing, it’s worth defining, labeling, and archiving. That is what we do for content in libraries and museums, whether they are venerable institutions, well-designed websites, or our home bookshelves and attics.”

I also completely am missing the point of Snapchat. I cannot see the value of it as in how it adds on to life and what good it does do. Her explanation of Snapchat’s use I found very flattering, if that’s the right word. She speaks about trust, about using Snapchat as a tool of communication to privately send any content, though romantic content in her example,’for your eyes only’. Reading Snapchat’s description, this is also how it is supposed to be. Snapchat doesn’t advertise itself as a medium to spread erotic content for quick fun on distance for example.

If I can be labelled, surely I’m a ‘millennial’, the generation born between 1981 and 2000, and also I still have that librarian in me. A library is stored knowledge or a product of research with nuance in its own context, arguments and counter arguments, fiction, non-fiction, and all other sorts of content that adds on somehow to someone. A library also in the context as Silvia puts it “… websites, or our home bookshelves and attics.”.

What is in my mind thinking about ‘Fast Media’, or social media such as Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and the lot, is that content is there but it all goes so enormously fast, the content of yesterday is somewhere at the bottom and lasts years memories are almost forgotten, almost as facebook reminds us now what was happening on that day last year or several more years in the past.

It made me think of a quote of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel”

And that hits the nail. In this fast media, such as Snapchat, there is no nuance, no real (re)searchable content, nothing to hold, nothing to reflect on. It takes time to let something sink in, it takes time to reflect, it takes time to let arguments hit you to change thinking or learn based on reason. It also takes time to produce (re)searchable content, it takes time to create something to hold, it takes time to argue and counter argue. I am now thinking and writing for 45 min? In that same time I could have tweeted loads of things about the Kardashians.

The exposure of fast content isn’t only about the content but more importantly how it makes one feel. With important issues the nuance is getting lost: emotional, fast and immediate reactions are vomited on the fast media. It is not that the content is leaving an impression but what we certainly remember is how it makes us feel about a particular subject.

This creates, I believe for quite some people although I don’t want to generalize, a social pressure too. How many likes, hearts, comments, retweets, are we getting? What works? How much am I creating an image to the outside world compared with how I really feel? How do I feel when I get feedback, or, how do I feel when I don’t get it? How influential is it when people start to unfollow/unfriend you? How often do you check how many friends you have on facebook, twitter analytic, blog stats? How does it make you feel when people are ‘leaving you’? Does that make you a failure? Does it make you successful when you have many followers? Sure, exposure for business is important, but, business’s quantity also can get lost in the pile of all other businesses. Just click #jobs on Twitter and then try to find yourself back again!

I rather spend time on things that matter, on content, and on getting on the right nuance. Some time ago one of my friends read an article and asked my opinion about the refugee debate and here you can read the article and the original source: “Dutch Refugee Debate“. I thought it was important to give a nuance and not to follow the present sentiment in the ‘anti-refugee/fear for refugees’ “debate”.

There needs to be a balance in what is ‘entertaining’, ‘exposure’ and ‘content’. We can spend time and energy only at one thing at the time. Either we choose to be entertained, either we choose to get interested in content through exposure, or, we create new content or learn from existing content. With $25 we can either go to a casino and feel good, or buy a book and feel good anyway, but differently.

Besides the nuance, or the non-nuance, of fast media, there is also a group, mainly girls, who are very vulnerable. Their insecurity, their wish to be liked, to be appreciated, and their easiness of being manipulated by men who wants to do wrong. Snapchat, KIK, Whisper, all these anonymous apps are very easy not only to ‘vomit whatever’ on the net, but because it is anonymous, it is easy to get attention the wrong way. It is easy to send a picture anonymously, to get a compliment, fake interest and being slowly persuaded to send more and stronger content. Lately on the news are examples of it that girls are ruined because exposure did leak out and shared on schools. Fast media, generally, gives a temporary satisfaction to be liked, or having attention, but a long run ‘depression’ as non of the contact is permanent and made easy to cross a bridge one didn’t want to cross.

I think fast media can be a great tool to get exposure, to give a positive and attractive feeling so one wants to see the nuance and content in the right context. Both on a personal level as in business. However, we must keep in mind that fast media is a tool/means and not the end. It’s only the beginning of something more and not the truth.



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