Identity Through Links

The Shallow Selfishness of Social Media Sharing:

Maybe you and everyone in your social network or Twitter feed are engaged in a deep and enriching exchange of ideas. But collectively the dissemination of information through social media fuels what is really only an illusion of that process — a solipsistic and ultimately unedifying one.

That’s because at bottom, social sharing of information is often not actually about sharing information. It’s about the sharer letting everyone know that they are knowledgeable or right-thinking or caring.

I feel guilty of this all the time. What do I get out of posting things on social networks other than trying to show people how smart I am?

This is an area where I think friendships vs interests come into play. I may not be friends with people who (still) read this site, but we share the same interests – otherwise they wouldn’t keep reading. But if I post things on Facebook I accomplish almost nothing – in fact people get annoyed when others post too much in “their” news feed.

I’ve also felt this way, often unfollowing friends who post nothing other than political garbage or links to things I may find low-value or distasteful. And forget about offering an opposing view on the links they share. You’re asking for an argument. Whoever posted it will feel like it’s an attack on their world views and it will strain the friendship, if it can even be considered a friendship.

I LOVE getting into arguments with friends. It’s sometimes the most lively and enlightening thing that can happen, but for that to happen you need friends to see it as a debate of ideas, not of us vs them.