Social media is an obvious trend in today’s connected world. Everyone as an entrepreneur is looking at ways to get into the industry, or at ways to make the millions that companies before have gotten through venture capital funding.
With users, the trend is very real too here in Silicon Valley. Walking about Santana Row, a high-end mall in San Jose several weeks back, I could not help but notice people sitting with others at restaurants, and instead of looking at each other, looking into their phones and almost seeming to avoid conversation altogether. Online, people are getting into their Klout scores and worrying about whether their score is high enough for them to accrue the perks awarded.
Company personality works into this as well. As someone who observes his feed very attentively, and has several individuals whom work at social media software companies around the valley, I see the religiosity — which while some see as company cohesion, can also be better viewed as externally as a disconnect with the outer world, almost to a point where the engagement is cult-like.
Social media religion is a subset of what has always plagued Silicon Valley: technology religion. Long before social media came on the scene, citizens and residents of the area were debating about PCs and Macs, Intel and AMD, Yahoo or Google, and have long been adamant about their choices of what is part of their digital lives. With the addition of social media to the mix, the fervor of favoritism only gets alarmingly worse. And while the religion isn’t a crisis, it opens up another important role to consider, that of delusion.
The results of social media religion especially in this valley will be similar to that of the technology religion that has long plagued the area already: a sense of disconnection between the rest of the world at large. While the rest of the United States for the most part grapples with the ability to afford food on the table and the mere existence of a job, Silicon Valley continues to rumble on, complete with technology enthusiasts staring at their phones and checking in, tweeting or taking pictures of their lives around them. This religion is a terrible curse that we are saddled with, and there ought to be another way to look at things.
But like the platform religion, something some day will also compel us to reconsider how we view social media as one too, employee or not. What day will that be?
Albert Qian writes for The Social Media Dude.