Have phones replaced books? My phone is always with me, so why do I have 63 unread email messages? The more streamline the technology, the more I fill my arms with fiction from the library. Consuming media on my phone feels forced. I would love Stephen King to update On Writing and give his uncensored opinion about social media and the death of print media.
Instagram is a fun, mindless app that I’ve only accessed from my phone. But, like my email, I can’t stay on top it. I’ve learned that the formula for getting followers is to open the app frequently, “like” often and “follow” with abandon. I do enjoy scrolling through photos (especially if I’m talking on speaker phone) but there’s a cutthroat strategy that ruins the whole vibe of the app: people Follow me for about 24 hours and Unfollow when I don’t return the “favor.” How do they keep track of who they are fake-following? Isn’t that exhausting? This implies that they don’t actually care what anyone is posting, they just want fame for themselves. The ultimate goal of modern life to be adored by as many people as possible.
My friend who works with teenagers wants all social media sites to hide Follower counts. Then the platform can be about connecting instead of deciphering the How to Be Famous formula. Imagine all the extra time people would have to read books! Sure, old people still read. And great Young Adult books are being published everyday so someone is buying them. But no doubt the societal pressure of keeping up with media apps has made people less inclined to read. Thank goodness we still have the occasional break-out book (Harry Potter, Fifty Shades of Grey, Eat Pray Love, etc.) that generate buzz and make book clubs cool again.