What's The Point Of Using Social Media If You Aren't Using It To Socialize?

Woman on her phone in nature
PHOTO: BECCA TAPERT / UNSPLASH

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While taking a lunch break last week, I decided to scroll through one of my favorite online publications that publishes their content on the social media platform Medium. (In a nutshell, Medium is like a blog version of Twitter.) After a few scrolls down, I noticed one of their articles saying that none of their writers respond to any comments after an article has been posted. This was incredibly depressing news to me because I love it when people leave comments on my posts (a-hem, readers), so I assumed all other writers — people who are notoriously labeled as "anti-social" — were like me and enjoyed engaging with their readers. 

My first thought after reading the article was, “So then what’s the point of placing your publication on a social media platform if your writers never bother with socializing?” Connecting people from around the world who would never be able to communicate with each other under normal circumstances is the whole point of social media.

Now, is it required by law that everyone reply or respond to their activity on social media? No, of course not. But imagine this scenario: You just transferred schools and you’re the newest kid on the playground. Being the new kid, naturally, your classmates are interested in who you are, when your birthday is, and what kind of treats you’ll be bringing for your birthday. Instead of answering their questions, you place a paper bag over your head while focusing on your current hobby which is ignoring these losers. Sound strange? Well, this is what ignoring your followers on social media looks like in real life. Social media is not meant to be a one way street.

No one can expect to sustain a relationship by only talking AT people and never engaging in a dialogue.  It always surprises me how social media stars, specifically YouTube personalities, who essentially owe everything to their fanbase yet never engage with their fans can still maintain a large following. If Taylor Swift — a bonafide celebrity and not just some internet sensation — can find the time to respond to her fans, so can everyone else. 

And I’m not even saying that these internet celebrities have to reply to every message and comment. But would it be asking too much of them to reply with a simple like to maybe the first three (normal) comments? Obviously, they and everyone else should flat out ignore the trolls and followers who only post confusing series of emojis, like the Mexican flag, a cat puking, and two dancing men. What does that even mean? You were in Mexico and then suddenly two violently ill or possibly poisoned cats threw up on you and the twin males standing nearest you started disco dancing? Everyone has my permission to ignore this nonsense. But if they can find the time to post on social media, then they can find the time to respond on social media. Give and take. 

At this point, you’re probably thinking that I’m a stalker. Speaking on behalf of my parole officer and myself, I don’t have that problem anymore. (I kid, I kid.) To be honest, social media isn’t exactly my thing. I don’t obsessively post all day long on my accounts, nor am I frantically checking the accounts of the people that I follow. Ok, fine — I obsessively follow my sister’s Instagram because she posts photos of my baby nephew, and I obsessively follow Open Calls For Hair Models on Facebook because I refuse to pay for a haircut. 

But I really believe that if I ever did somehow obtain a rather large following on social media, I would respond to at least the first few replies because whenever I’ve commented on a social media star’s post and miraculously received a response, I felt SO SPECIAL! It really is the little things in life, and one day I would love to be able to give someone else that same feeling. 

But for now, if they don’t respond to me on social media, I simply unfollow them. 

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MELINA SAINT THUNDERDOME

Although travel, fashion, art, and fitness are among my favorite hobbies, my true passion is comedy, particularly writing sketches. In my free time I'm usually watching Korean YouTube makeup tutorials, reading Cheetos' Chester Cheetah twitter account, and re-watching the videos and photos my sister sends me of my baby nephew. You can catch me as a background actor in most tv shows and movies that film in Chicago. I'm usually the tired, ill-looking one.

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