There are two types of people in the world: those who use Facebook and those who don’t
In the past, social was about hanging out with your friends at the bar. It was the connection you got when interacting with people in the physical world. It was enjoying each others company.
Nowadays social is less about the physical connection with people and more about popularity. It’s very common to see a group of friends, more interested in sharing a photo they just took on Instagram then actually being in the moment.
This is quite profound.
As a society, we are more interested in the ‘social capital’ that an experience earns us, than the experience itself.
Some could say that this is completely logical. One of the benefits social brought us was that your physical location no longer dictated who you were ‘with’. You can interact with friends on the other side of the world and still have the in-person responsiveness that simply wasn't possible before. On the flip side of this, it also means that the people you are physically around are not necessarily interested in being ‘with’ you.
The problem here is that the people you find yourself physically interacting with may actually be more interested in the social capital gained from the experience than you.
I may well be exaggerating the problem but I’m doing so to make a point. We need to go back to appreciating what life is really about. We need to move away from evaluating ourselves against our online presence and go back to what is actually important. People and ideas.
Where does this leave the anti social ones?
Will the people who don’t find value in social be left behind? I don’t know, but in some ways, it’s already happening. I think people’s success is often perceived more so by their ability to gain followers than their actual impact on the world.
If I don’t have a compulsive Twitter finger, will I still be able to grow my products and professional image?
If I don’t update my life through Facebook, will my friends still care about what I’m doing?
How do we fix this?
We build products that focus on people, not numbers
To move away from this number-crazed path we’re on, it is up to us, the builders, to create products that put people and ideas before the numbers. We need to focus on the less addictive, but more rewarding experiences.
Medium is a great example of this. Medium is not about gaining followers; it’s about sharing great stories and ideas. They do this by not allowing you to follow a person. You simply follow a collection; a moderated list of articles that all discuss a single topic. This forces writers to address a topic rather than write to gain a following.