Out of the articles listed this week, I found Laura Portwood-Stacer’s three part discussion of media refusal to be the most interesting. The main reason for this is simply because I am part of the population who has limited their social media participation, specifically in the form of Facebook. I officially deleted my Facebook almost a year ago and it was interesting to read about many of the familiar thoughts that crossed my mind. Personally, I did not feel I was “addicted” to the platform but I was not happy with my consumption. Initially, Facebook was a very inviting and entertaining website to connect with friends, among other people I knew. As time went on and the curiosity wore off, I began to see my peers using it in ways that did not interest me yet I still found myself logging on almost instinctively. This began to bother me the more I realized that what I was browsing through was mainly complaints or opinions from people I had no interest in, or intention of, connecting with.
My time using Facebook in high school had left me with over 700 friends and maybe only 50 I actually cared about. This feeling that I was wasting my time only expanded as I found myself comparing my experiences with that of my Facebook friends’ idealized posts. I say idealized because more often than not, people only post their most exciting, unique experiences. The questioning of my own decisions quickly led to the idea of asceticism discussed in the article which Stacer describes as, “an exercise of the self on the self by which one attempts to develop and transform oneself (2012).” I knew I was happy with what I was doing yet I felt Facebook creating a sense of unnecessary envy. I decided that I wanted my free time spent focusing on myself and not what others were doing.
While I did drop Facebook I continued using Twitter. Similar to what Stacer describes in part 3 of her discussion of media refusal, this was mainly for aesthetic reasons. Early Facebook use had left me with too much to look at, and the continuous advancement of the site had only added more content. In my opinion, Facebook’s games, advertisements, and decreasing sense of privacy with constant content updates was too much. Due to this, I personally felt that Facebook no longer satisfied what Stacer would call my “aesthetic” and “material” needs and so I moved on to a similar platform that did. Twitter allowed me to renew who exactly I wished to hear from and did so in a much simpler way. Everything seemed much cleaner and easier on the eyes and so I quickly became satisfied.
What interests me now is whether this pattern of social media use and creation will continue. Facebook became the new, cleaner looking Myspace as Twitter has become the more focused, and simple version of Facebook. Additionally, Instagram is a cleaner platform with a focus on pictures. Each medium improves upon the other and continues to be inspired by each other as well. This reminds of the idea described in part 1 in which, “experts who promise to help people fight media addiction offer their advice in the form of commodified media content itself, such as web videos, blogs, books, and even social media accounts (Portwood-Stacer, 2012).” Similarly, new social media platforms claim to be unique, and solve the issues of competitors yet becoming the next big site is the end goal. The question now is which platform will be the next “addiction” and who will be the one to actually end the cycle.
Porterwood-Stacer, L. (2012, July 29). How we talk about media refusal, part 1: “addiction” Flow, Retrieved from http://flowtv.org/2012/07/how-we-talk-about-media-refusal-part-1/
Porterwood-Stacer, L. (2012, September 10). How we talk about media refusal, part 2: Asceticism. Flow, Retrieved from http://flowtv.org/2012/09/media-refusal-part-2-asceticism/
Porterwood-Stacer, L. (2012, October 14). How we talk about media refusal, part 3: Aesthetics Flow, Retrieved from http://flowtv.org/2012/10/how-we-talk-about-media-refusal-part-3-aesthetics/