BIG. SCARY. HEADLINES.
We’ve all seen them, but we’re as numb to them now as we are to Donald Trump using Twitter like he’s in a school playground.
And that’s a problem.
All these words: LONELINESS, ADDICTION, ANXIETY, FOMO, BULLYING are becoming associated with the term ‘social.’ That doesn’t quite sit right. How can a ‘SOCIAL media’ make us feel isolated, secluded and helpless?
Maybe it’s been opposite day this whole time? Maybe Hillary Clinton is president? Maybe Dobby isn’t dead? Maybe pineapple does belong on pizza?!
But no. It’s never been opposite day. All of those are definitely not things. Trump is prez, Dobby is gone, pineapple most certainly does NOT belong on pizza and social media is not making us feel genuinely connected to each other.
When we’re on social media, we’re basically all Steven Glansberg (CAUTION: niche millennial reference - clue: it’s from Superbad)
But how do we solve this problem?
We need something that changes the way we approach our online behaviour. We think it’s time to replace the word social for something better.
Many clever guys and girls have argued for the power of words in constructing the way we think about things. With words we express ourselves. They create our reality. Without words, would we be able to have any thoughts at all?
We don’t have the brain space to explore that right now, but thought-provoking questions are great for making a point, right? My boy Ludwig down there definitely agrees. Look at those agreement eyes.
Ludwig Wittgenstein: clever guy who thought words were pretty darn important and definitely had the brain space to explore it (CAUTION: niche epistemology reference)
Unanswerable questions aside though, words are very important and the word ‘social’ isn’t cutting it. If our ‘socials’ were a food, they’d be a dissatisfying watery soup:
While occasionally crunchy memes provide the croutons that keep you coming back to that watery soup, it’s not enough to nourish your social side. We do connect with people through social media, and online communities and movements can be fantastic and powerful, but there is something missing:
Face-to-face interaction. Real world community-building. Good old-fashioned, unfiltered ‘quality time’.
In 2017, ‘being social’ does not mean hanging out offline. It means the updating of a profile, the constant checking of algorithmically fine-tuned feeds and being the subject of invasive advertising. It’s a filtered, cartoon-like reality.
That’s why we need to replace ‘social’ with ‘sociable’.
Being sociable does mean meeting up offline. It means gathering a group, building community and, crucially, is not associated with being LONELY. Also, the word comes from a Latin word meaning ‘unite’ - that’s pretty epic.
So let’s unite and be sociable.
We know it’s a subtle difference. Just two letters. But words are important for the way we think about things. And evolving social networking to sociable networking is a first step to dealing with these BIG SCARY WORDS that actually mean something.
Don’t think small differences in spelling are important? I’ll leave you with this: