Nobody can probably imagine his or her life without social media. Even the most resentful of Social media tend to utilize some of them at least to express their dissatisfaction. The fiercest opponents call SM time stealers and claim that they are even slowly killing us. Are they? It is a good question, and the answer lies somewhere in between the philosophy of the modern world and technologies.
So, what is the most annoying thing about SM?
By social media, we mostly imply media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or even TikTok. Some messaging apps are also gradually developing into social media platforms. Well, no matter how many of them you can mention, their technological and phycological principles are the same. Once we’ve jumped to that conclusion, all our sources of dissatisfaction can be broken down into several categories.
Too many annoying ads
The primary goal of every SM is to sell. As a result, you start getting tons of irrelevant ads. The SM algorithms are inevitably connected with sales and thus are competing for users’ attention. And this actually results in irrelevant content. Monetization criteria being non-transparent is another issue. In this SM world, we start getting too much communication with companies and brands instead of communicating with people.
At a closer look, social media reflect the philosophy of modern society where everybody is selling something and SM platforms have become the perfect place for that. You’ve probably experienced a feeling of being spied on by the SM you use. You start getting tons of ads after looking up something online. That is why because algorithms are closely tied to the advertisement and those who pay for it.
Even if we step away from philosophy, the abundance of ads and their personalization can annoy and even seem creepy as if you were watched all the time. But, beyond any doubt, it is really effective. The average amount of money companies spend on social media management is growing exponentially every year.
Using your personal information is another major concern. On the other hand, by signing up for any SM platform you consent to your information being disclosed. Ads algorithms utilize this data and there is no way out. Remember why? Yes, because is selling something. A prepaid subscription, which eliminates intrusive ads, can be an option that allows users to concentrate on communication. Of course, we can turn recommendations off but they can be really useful.
That is the second largest group of annoying issues about social media. And they include fake news, and poor content moderation. We also tend to encounter numerous bots that try to form a public opinion or even shape political campaigns. In other words, it does have something to do with politics.
The vast majority of users say that politics does not belong on social media. But, in fact, politics is deeply rooted in our life. And now it is even the biggest source of fake news, misinformation, etc. It became obvious after the US presidential election in 2016. With the full-scale war in Ukraine, the situation got even worse. During the pandemic, Facebook and Instagram even created badges to label ‘fake news’.
Misinformation and fake news are the problems of SM in general. On the one hand, SM lacks management within the country. On the other hand, there is a fine line between censorship and a permissive society. SM nowadays lacks moderation. Adding a CAPTCHA to comments or sharing options, but most probably it will cause inconvenience for users. Smaller platforms are easier to moderate, though bigger ones might be just investing a bit more into this process.
Settings and functionality
Awkward user experience and user interface designs, poor tech support, and new features promotion that tends to be too aggressive, are the biggest users’ concerns. Those issues are probably the easiest to solve or fix but it takes much longer for big platforms to upgrade. Start-ups might be an option, but it is hard for them to get through.
As a result, social media have its pros and cons. They can entertain or help make donations. We need to figure out how to make them interesting, unobtrusive, and useful.
All those issues cannot probably be fixed any time soon. Smaller, interest-oriented platforms can help. We don’t want you to abandon all your SM activity, but we should certainly think about how to fix it.
VAfromEurope works with SM and deals with the challenges we’ve just mentioned. Let’s figure how to improve them out togehter.