I think there is a paradox in doing social media — a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
I’ve noticed a relationship between the time it takes to produce an article for social media and the time it takes to answer the responses from a growing number of profiles.
The profiles in question steal time and they make social media a battleground.
I usually spend about 4 hours preparing an idea for publication on social media. An article is usually 750-1500 words, 3+ references and a few relevant pictures. After hitting the post button, if the article was political, there will be posts in opposition that seem to be intensifying in anger. The form of that opposition is destroying social media.
I’ve noticed, just too often, that the opposing posts will make statements against the article and ask for a response. These requests require additional information or explanations beyond what was given in the original article. Those additions require thought, references and time to produce, usually as a courtesy to the reader.
I’ve also noticed after this additional work is offered to the responder, they will write back so quickly that I am convinced they could not have the time to review the new information and write a response — It just can’t happen that fast. But the clincher is that the new response will mention exactly nothing about the new information or reasons I just offered.
There is the paradox
As a question, given this observed pattern, is it best to save our time to make well-crafted articles by not communicating with the people we are writing for?
Also, consider this: There is a growing NEED for rudeness on social media. If we are going to take writing and communicating seriously, then we must spend our time doing so. If there is a chance that an opposing poster is setting us up to advance their agendas without considering the article we have worked on, then we should ignore them and move on.
If we determine we are about to be pulled into a “troll” experience, where the questions are only asked to give the responder a chance to advance their own agendas, then we are not communicating, we are simply providing a platform for an opposing agenda to launch their ideas without doing the work to make a position.
Our time is being stolen away and our intended contributions are just placeholders for a hijacker.
In self-defense, and in defense of the public discourse in general, we must be more respectful of our ideas, our abilities, our products and our time. We must separate ourselves from the time stealers.
There is a problem in doing that: How can we know who is about to hijack our ideas and steal our time and who deserves a better explanation? This is part of the paradox. Should we take time to allow good people to catch up with a poorly explained idea or do we worry about our time and the next hijack?
I was once counseled by an owner/editor of a publication to not respond to the people commenting on my articles. After just a few months dealing with social media sites, I realize that editor knew something I was figuring out the hard way.
We must still factor into this discussion the maddening frustration brought to us by the trolls who seem to enjoy their self-imposed and dearly held ignorance. That alone, in a society on fire, is a deal breaker for social media.
Write, drop the article at the usual places, and get out. Save your time for the work – not the people we are trying to communicate with – they are stealing our time away from communicating with the people. Really?
The paradox of social media