Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Unfollow! or A Story of an anti-Social Media Obsession

I will share with you how I start my very early working morning - around 4.30, the latest 5am: by checking my social media tools - Instagram or Twitter, once in a while Facebook. I listen to the latest music releases on YouTube from musicians I´ve subscribe to, or travel and media chanels of interest. I also check my Goodreads and update the bookish selection of the books I want to read and, when necessary I even download some ebooks or order some physical ones. For almost half an hour, my brain is reconected to the reality of my everyday busy schedule in a very smooth, sometimes intellectual sometimes entertaining way.
Yesterday, my ritual followed the same format, with a plenty of good reasons for a good beginning: a food blogger I admire is advancing her cookbook project, some of my travel e-buddies are sharing their photos from their new destinations, some people do learn a language, another artist released a new album, a beautiful soul of a friend of a friend that was tragically widowed from the love of her life and left alone with 4 kids, remarried recently. 
Then, on the high waves of positivity, I started to read Unfollow. How Instagram is destroying our life - please observe the use of the 1st person plural, like lady Nena Schink, the author, is my defender and spokeperson. 
For Miss Schink, being on Ingtagram is a painful experience she has to go through for the sake of the research for her book. She is unhappy that women are posting pictures on bikini, she included, that their are getting 7-number advertising from big fashion brands therefore she decides to avoid those brands. She is completely against sharing her life to strangers, though, she is stalking ex friends and stars having a look at their live stories. However, she is ´wise´ enough to warn&lecture you, me, ´us´ how Instagram can be the cause of mental illness and depression, according to the principle that you envy what you do not have - beautiful family, shining car, fancy outfits. By the way, you don´t need Instagram to figure this out and eventually feel bad about it and the warnings are not based on any serious scientific and medical basis. And if her therapist told her so, better find another one. 
Nena Schink is not alone in her approach towards social media in Germany. I recall the abhorrent obsession of teachers a couple of years ago with the Digitale Demenz by Manfred Spitze, on the same alarmist tone warning against the dangers of social media and Internet in general for the young generation. Hopefully the school fans of Mr. Spitze changed their mind, as the current Corona crisis displayed the very limited skills of German teachers in dealing with online teaching, an environment very familiar to their peers in France, to mention only one of the neighbouring EU advanced countries.
So bad you cannot unfollow a book instantly, but in many respects, this book - which I´ve read in the original language - is an useful bibliography if you want to understand the misunderstanding of the German public opinion towards social media and Internet. This may explain why the most boring social media consulting projects were those aimed to the German market. The potential is there but unfortunatelly the decision-makers and some of the journalists - although young (after all, Nena Schink is under 30) - are thinking with mindset pertaining from another century.

Rating: 2 stars

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