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商业 - 科技

社交媒体戒网报告

Jessi Hempel 2013年10月11日

本文作者为了审视社交媒体给自己带来的影响,主动戒网整整一个月。再次回归社交网络之后,作者对这类平台有了新的认识。

    8月底,我朋友莎拉的房子给烧了。她是一名社会工作者,没有租户保险。她的朋友们立即开始组织起来帮助她。我姐姐在Facebook上发起了一个扑克比赛的邀请,目的就是为了给她募集捐款。还有人在面向个人项目的众筹融资网站Gofundme.com上创立了一个筹款网页,希望帮助抵消她清洗自己随身物品的费用。到目前为止,她的朋友们已筹集了2,400美元。

    当然,我对这一切一无所知。我问我姐姐:“没有人出面为莎拉做点什么事情吗?”我听到她在电话里叹了口气。

    她问我:“你停用社交媒体的行动打算什么时候结束啊?”

    今年8月份,我停用社交媒体一段时间。我平静地预先通知了朋友和同事,之后,我注销了自己使用的一切社交服务网站:Instagram、LinkedIn、Pinterest、MessageMe、Twitter以及最至关重要的Facebook,希望以此来发现自己过去十年以来究竟获得和失去了什么。我采取了一种极端的做法。我还停用了即时通讯服务,而且尝试停止发短信。基本上,我对自己在过去十年里增添的任何新的社交通信服务都进行了一番审视。我希望,通过停用社交媒体一个月,可以让我对自己撰文报道的这些技术产生新的认识。以下就是我从中得到的一些领悟:

    社交媒体意义深远:好吧,我已经明白这一点。我之所以在自己的职业生涯中全力倾注于撰写有关社交媒体的文章是有原因的。但社交媒体在我生活中历时一个月的缺席增强了它的重要性。莎拉住房遭遇火灾这件事是一个极端的例子,表明社交网络工具如何让人们能够迅速而有效地组织起来。这些社交网络工具给莎拉带来的远不止于金钱——朋友们凝聚在一起,向她提供暂作睡床的沙发,帮忙照看小狗,以及一般性的支持。

    大多数任务借助于社交工具效果会更好:今年8月份,我常常怀念社交网络带给我的便利。随着越来越多的服务(从住宅共享网站Airbnb到流媒体音乐网站Spotify)让用户使用他们的社会关系,我也已经开始依靠朋友们的决定来对一切事情做出更好的判断——从在哪里住宿(梅利斯曾住在伊斯坦布尔的那幢公寓楼里,因此那里很可能不错),到把哪些歌曲放进我的播放列表(谢莉在这方面特别有品味)。

    社交媒体可以世俗:我的社交网站已经成为个人一周七天/每天24小时的通俗小报,通过iPhone,我总是可以立刻享用它,那上面的食物照片以及头上扎着大蝴蝶结的婴儿照片往往会吸引我的注意力。(顺便说一声:蝴蝶结并不可爱。)

    滥用不是社交媒体的错: 9月1日到来时,我没有立即登录自己的那些社交网站。我确信,补看一个月的非重要信息会花费几个小时的时间。我把这项任务拖延至9月2日,然后发现,我只花了大约10分钟之内,我就已经查看了所有信息和帖文。我意识到,社交媒体令人讨厌的地方大多涉及到我使用社交媒体的习惯,而不是这些工具本身。就像任何其他容易让人上瘾的东西(或许是葡萄酒,或者薯片)一样,我必须找到一些明智的办法来设定一些限制。

    最终,我停用社交媒体的一个月让我能够列出自己的许多坏习惯,注意到自己希望改变的行为。最值得一提的是,我已经开始依靠社交媒体来回避让我自己不自在的线下社交场合。比如来到一个完全没有熟人的烧烤聚会,我发现自己就会不知不觉地拿出手机玩,装作自己正在干某件“更加重要”的事情。而且,每当我实在想让自己不思考任何事情的时候,我也会求助于社交媒体。一个很好的例子就是:过去的一小时里,我实际上并没有在撰写这篇报道,而是不由自主地去Twitter和Facebook网站查看有没有新的信息。我用它来发呆——就像在付了有线电视服务之后,我可能会在不喜欢的有线电视频道之间迅速切换。

    My friend Sarah's home burned down at the end of August. A social worker, she didn't have renter's insurance. Her friends immediately started organizing on her behalf. My sister sent around a Facebook invite for a poker tournament to raise funds. Someone else organized a fundraising page on Gofundme.com to help offset the cost of cleaning her belongings. So far, her friends have raised $2,400.

    Of course, I missed all of this. "Isn't anyone doing anything for Sarah?" I asked my sister. I could hear her sigh over the phone.

    "When is this social media diet over?" she asked.

    Last August, I took a break from social media. With fair warning to my friends and colleagues, I signed off every single social service—Instagram, LinkedIn (LNKD), Pinterest, MessageMe, Twitter, and most crucially, Facebook (FB)—in hopes of discovering what I've gained—and lost—over the past decade. I took an extreme approach. I also quit instant messaging services and I tried to stop texting. Basically, any new social communication service I'd added in the past decade was up for examination. I hoped that my month off would give me new perspective on these technologies about which I write. Here's what I learned:

    SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE PROFOUND: Okay, I already knew this. I have devoted my career to writing about it for a reason. But its absence reinforced its significance. Sarah's tragedy is an extreme example of the way in which social networking tools allow people to organize quickly and effectively. They brought Sarah much more than money—friends came together to offer couches, dog care, and general support.

    MOST TASKS ARE BETTER WITH SOCIAL TOOLS: Many times in August, I longed for the ease of my social network. As more and more services, from the home-sharing site Airbnb to the music-streaming site Spotify, let users access their social connections, I have come to rely on my friends' decisions to make better judgments about everything from where to stay (Melis stayed in that apartment in Istanbul so it's probably good) to what's on my playlist (Shelley's tastes are particularly good).

    SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE MUNDANE: My social sites have become personal 24/7 tabloids, always at the ready via my iPhone (APPL) to absorb my attention with food photographs and pictures of babies with big bows on their heads. (FYI: Bows are not cute.)

    IT'S NOT SOCIAL MEDIA'S FAULT: When September 1 came, I didn't log on to my social sites immediately. I was certain the task of catching up on a month's worth of nonessential messages would take hours. I put the task off until Sept. 2, and then discovered that I had screened all of my messages and posts within about ten minutes. I realized that much of what is annoying about social media concerns my social media habits, not the tools themselves. Just like with any other addictive substance—wine, perhaps, or potato chips—I had to find smart ways to set limits.

    Ultimately, my month-long social media diet allowed me to catalogue my own bad habits—to observe the behavior I hoped to changed. Most notably, I've leaned on social media to remove myself from offline social situations I find uncomfortable. When I landed at a barbecue where I didn't know anyone, I found myself reaching for my phone as a way to hide under the guise of doing something "more important." And I also turned to social media whenever I wanted to avoid really thinking about something. A great example: for the last hour, instead of actually writing this story, I've been checking Twitter and Facebook compulsively for updates. I use it to zone out—the same way I might have flipped through bad cable channels back when I paid for cable TV.

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