Slow social in 2020 and beyond
In 2020 we are used to fast interactions on our social networks, that constant buzz of our phones in our pockets, the deluge of likes, shares, retweets, comments, all repeated in threads and subthreads. We (doom)scroll for new impulses, we amplify, we boost, we block on a whim, we meticulously use the most hashtags possible for the maximum impact and reach.
We either livestream whatever, or post soundbite-sized videos, riding the most current trend and challenge.
We live fast social.
We live in FOMO because YOLO.
10-ish years ago Facebook was already taking over the throne from the first globally popular social network site: MySpace.
It was slow social. Classic MySpace was never optimized for mobile, not that anything was truly optimized at the time, even when the first smartphones appeared, the most groundbreaking feature for social media was posting via SMS - but not MMS - on some sites.
Our phones were Sidekicks, or Nokias, or some other "dumb", feature devices. We did social on our desktop computers and laptops. Mobile "broadband" was slow anyway, but often wired internet too. When we were offline, away from our Macs/PCs we contacted via text and call. We took our (mirror) selfies with pocket digital cams. We couldn't upload in a snap. We had to copy the photo from the cam to the computer, and then upload from the browser. Optionally throw some filters on it in PS.
We were not distracted and bombarded by notifications all the time. Even if we spent more than healthy time on MySpace - because of course we did -, we had a clear distinction between online, and offline life.
Yet this world of social created the OG internet influencers, like Jeffree Star, Hanna Beth, Audrey Kitching, and the Millionaires. They did it before Facebook was suitable for self promotion, before YouTube became the massive platform it is now, and long before Vine and especially TikTok. Their activity was relatively "fast", but nowhere as fast as social is today.
While there were all kinds of young people - because make no mistake, MySpace was for teens and twenty somethings - The Scene dominated. It was the primary - and for some time the only - platform for bands, musicians, record labels, festivals (eg. Warped, Cornerstone), non-profit organizations (eg. TWLOHA), magazines, vanity clothing brands (eg. Atticus), subculture stores and brands (eg. Hot Topic), and oh boy did they utilize it to the maximum: beautifully customized profiles, announcements in bulletins, event dates, fan interactions, they were all there. But slower than what we do and demand today.
Even the 2008 election made its impact on MySpace, I clearly remember that Obama had a profile, and it was utilized accordingly. MySpace itself ran an election feature.
It was different.
As strange as it might sound, I think yes. There are some (or many?) who don't want to be bombarded by notifications all the time, who switch their phones to DND 24/7, and would rather stay away from those sites and apps that drag us into an addictive behavior.
It has been revealed that Facebook explicitly uses algorithms to satisfy and overfeed our neural reward system. It's a drug. All the popular sites and apps work like this. It's how they make money, afterall.
I've left Facebook in March, I think, its memory already fading, and I don't miss it at all. I'm on Twitter, but often try to limit my use.
Enjoy the time you spend on social, and reserve time for, well, anything else you would do offline. Cherish your time, use social smarter, slower. Don't let FOMO rule over you.
If SpaceHey and the users manage do it right, this site can give back a sense of social networking that we have lost.
Make the 2020s the decade when we embrace slow social again.