Saturday, August 2, 2014

What I Dimly Understand About Social Media

You know how it is.  One night you go to bed next to your Commodore 64 which is cheerfully running Windows 79AD, and when you wake up there are suddenly four billion different social networks that everybody seems to be talking to each other on.  Plus, have you seen the way that the kids are dressing these days?

Perhaps it's my advancing years (6 days left for birthday gift shopping, btw) but I can't be the only one who's having an increasingly difficult time keeping track of all of the different networks, apps and media sites that have cropped up, each one dedicated to increasing our contact with each other by ensuring that none of us actually sees another living human being ever again.

And so, because I give and I give, I'm diving into the murky world of social media so that you don't have to do the research yourself.

You're welcome.

So, unusually for this column, we're going to follow a bit of a structure today. I'll name the Social Media in question, explain what I think it is, then go away and look it up and report back my results. 

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.

Let's start with the obvious one -


My Initial Thoughts-

Clearly I am aware of Facebook, as that's the most likely way that you've encountered and are reading this column.  Facebook is a website (and mobile app) that acts as a vehicle for people to promote their creative projects, advertise that they are playing Candy Crush, and repost political articles deliberately intended to piss off any Facebook friends they might have who have different political leanings

"Boy, that article link on Facebook totally changed my opinion on that touchy political subject"
                                                                       -No one, Ever.

After Research-

Yep, it's still there.  Although I had forgotten 'Thinly veiled cries for help' and 'Insipid inspirational quotes demanding that you 'share' them.'


My Initial Thoughts-

Now, I'm not actually 100% sure that Myspace even still exists.  If it does I once heard it most accurately described as 'The Internet's abandoned amusement park' which pretty much sums it up.  The Betamax to Facebook's VHS (or HDDVD to their Blu-ray if you prefer), it's sad remains serve as a reminder to all of us of the importance of product placement.

After Research -

Wow.  That is a LOT of ads. 

It appears that the good people at MySpace have given up on the 'interacting' part of the game and have instead embraced treating everyone and everything as needing to be put in one big catalog.  This means that they will undoubtedly fall asleep under a Victorian house and cause all sorts of trouble later for Sophie Aldred. (That one was for Travis.  You're welcome.)


My Initial Thoughts -

I'm told that this App is exclusively for posting pictures of Cats and Food.  Like Texting and Facebook got drunk and had a child who really, REALLY cared about selfies.

After Research -

Well, according to their web page - 'Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family.'  In reality this appears to mean that you sign up for an account (Like Facebook) and immediately begin photographing everything you eat.  There were also some pictures of kids, but I have not yet encountered any cats.  This may - admittedly - be due to my relatively small sample set


My Initial Thoughts -

Apparently it's entirely for taking pictures of your own genitalia and sending them to other Snapchat users in the hopes that they don't know how to take a screenshot and therefore won't be able to save the picture and ruin your Senate career.

After Research -

The Snapchat official line is - 'Enjoy fast and fun mobile conversation! Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend. They'll view it, laugh, and then the Snap disappears'.  

So yes, it's all about penis photos.  Also there appears to be some sort of video conferencing feature which I assume is also used for similar shenanigans and not, as their PR material would claim, to announce that someone has just bought a puppy.

Tune in Monday for part II where we tackle the likes of Reddit, Tumblr, Fouresquare and more

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