As with anything else in life, there are costs and benefits to social media, and it has become a little bit fashionable, I suppose, to speak more about the costs of social media. But there is a lot to be gained from using social media properly.
It involves a significant amount of effort on your part, but I would argue that it is ultimately worth your time. First, if you follow me on Twitter, you might note that I hardly tweet at all, besides an automated posting of the daily set of links from EFE. Twitter is great for listening, and not necessarily for, well, tweeting.
Here’s an excerpt from a very long, and very good, essay by Dan Wang:
I mean to tune out the angry side of Twitter. The good parts of Twitter are very good indeed, and every day I marvel at how many great links are dropped into my feed by people I follow. I tweet/retweet three things: informationally-dense pieces, interesting pictures, and good jokes. Generally I try to follow people who do the same. Occasionally the waves of angry Twitter wash up on my happy island, but it’s not frequent.
I try to follow people who adhere to the criteria that Dan Wang describes above (and don’t always succeed, I should add). Another useful criteria is the one mentioned by Patrick Collison:
The people I know who get a lot out of Twitter approach it with a “yes, and” mood; those who find it frustrating seem to see it more as a “no, but” medium.
— Patrick Collison (@patrickc) May 20, 2018
This involves a lot of curation, and that too on an ongoing basis, but I assure you, it is worth your time. The same rules apply to Facebook of course, although there it is more complicated because of the rather more social aspect of social media.
I can’t remember where I read this, but it resonated with me: Facebook is folks I went to college with, Twitter is folks I wish I had gone to college with.
But the bottom line is this: social media isn’t necessarily full of hate, it isn’t necessarily trivial, and if you work at it, it can be a complete delight.