Entertainment, the other use of social media

Jan 15 2022

If the first use of social media is to connect with friends, family, and people with similar interests, there's also another use for it; Entertainment.

The way we connect with other people on the internet in general (beyond social media) is limited in the way humans evolved to interact. We like to talk to each other, use our bodies to complement what we're saying, wave our hands, raise our eyebrows, roll our eyes! We also read the other people's body language and make adjustments. When we communicate through Social Media we can't do most of those things, we use text and it tends to be limited. Nobody wants to read a text wall, at least not to have a 1 on 1 conversation. Using video conferences has immensely helped, but we still need to improve the hardware (microphones, speakers, video quality, compression, etc.) to make it similar to a real-life conversation.

Given that 1 on 1 communication is not as fluid due to these limitations, internet communication evolved into entertainment. First was sharing jokes and then illustrating them as cartoons (soon after the meme would start). Videos make it easier to express ourselves and then we start looking more at our internet devices than TV.

TV shows and films are slowly decaying. They might always exist, just like we thought books would die but they are still around. But most of the show business has moved into the internet. And that even improved the entertainment we've got. It democratized the production of such entertainment, now all you need to start is a smartphone and a computer whereas before you had to knock on tv producers' doors or wait to be discovered. Even advertisements improved, we've got shorter targeted commercials (I know the targeted part is controversial, but at least they are not completely irrelevant).

Either way, it seems like the kind of entertainment we've got used to in the 20th century is going away and Social Media is taking its place. We have yet to see if it can finally be turned into a tool for good or it will keep dumbing us down as its predecessor.

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