Top Five Worst Social Media Platforms

I’ve posted about this before, haven’t I? I would have sworn I had, but in the last few days I’ve hunted for it a couple of times, without success. Maybe I did in in a comment, and the search function isn’t picking it up.

Oh, well. It needs doing, so I’ll do it again.

But first, the reason why this is on my mind again at the moment….

Are you on LinkedIn? I am, although I just noticed my profile is in serious need of updating (hey, I just now changed so it no longer shows my most recent job as “Communications Director, James Smith for South Carolina”). Actually, I’m using the word “need” loosely there, because after more than a decade dealing with LinkedIn, I have yet to identify its vital function in my life.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, I got an email from LinkedIn urging me to “Congratulate Bunny Richardson for 28 years at BMW Manufacturing Co.”

Well, that’s not a thing I do. Do you send people “work anniversary” congratulations? I don’t. I can’t imagine anyone expecting me to. I don’t recall any time in my life when I expected anyone to send me such congratulations. While I’ve had jobs I loved, I didn’t set up candles on a cake or anything when my anniversary date rolled around.

But if I did do stuff like that, I’d have had no objection to sending Bunny such a message — under normal circumstances. I worked with her for years at The State when I was in the newsroom (so, pre-1994), and she was an assistant managing editor. She was a pretty nice lady for a newspaper editor, and I generally got along with her pretty well.

But these aren’t “normal circumstances,” so I still wouldn’t send her one. That’s because Bunny died of cancer back in 2015. Yep, eight years ago, God rest her.

This of course is another reminder that I need to stick something in my will, or somewhere, that provides the login info to all social media, this blog, email and accounts with various businesses so that someone can deal with them when I’m gone — post some sort of announcement, at least.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. That incident reminds me that I do not like LinkedIn — a rather dry and unenjoyable medium that people in the business world all think they have to be on, rather in the way journalists and political professionals actually do need to be on Twitter.

It brings me to this Top Five list of Worst Social Media Platforms. Although that’s a tad misleading. They’re not necessarily the worst in the world. More like “Worst Major Social Media Platforms That I’ve Actually Used.” And this is not a ranked list. I dislike each for different reasons, which make them hard to compare to each other. The numbers are there just to make it more obvious that there are five. Anyway, here’s the list…

  1. FACEBOOK — Actually, were this a ranked list, this would probably still be at the top. That’s because it’s the biggest, and the one I have to deal with the most — it’s inescapable. And therefore my feelings about it are stronger. But this is, I’ll admit, mitigated by the fact that there are some things I like about it — it’s great for easily sharing pictures with family and friends, and it’s quite valuable for finding living people when you’re building a family tree.  Otherwise, I don’t like it, and here are the Top Five reasons why: 1. The posts don’t appear in temporal order — what I should see first is the most recent posts from my “friends,” and that does not happen. One consequence of this is that I see something on the platform, and want to go back to it later (to blog about it; to show it to someone, whatever), and can’t find the blasted thing. 2. They keep messing with it; every time I think I’ve got the platform figured out, they move things around — most inconvenient. 3. It’s a lousy place to put links to my blog (which was why I initially got really involved with it — to promote blog posts), because unlike Twitter it’s a terrible place for political discussions — it’s a different, broader kind of audience (I finally stopped putting blog links there; non-political friends and family weren’t there for that, and weren’t sure how to react). 4. It’s destroying the country, because everybody’s on it, and unthoughtful people accept what other unthoughtful people post as “facts,” and so Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. 5. On my phone and iPad apps, you can’t grab a URL to link to something on FB — they want you to “share” it only within their ‘verse (you can link to it from a browser, but I’m not always on my laptop).
  2. LINKEDIN — OK, I’ll be briefer from now on. I first got on LinkedIn when I started working with ADCO, on the basis of being told this was essential in the business world. It isn’t. I think I’m still waiting for it to be useful, even once.
  3. INSTAGRAM — I hate to include this one, because my grandchildren love it. But that leads to one of two things I don’t like about it: I find it hard to find the things my grandchildren post, partly because of the design of the platform, and partly because they have this one way of posting things that apparently makes them disappear, like the posts on Snapchat. The other reason is bigger: You can’t right-click (when on the laptop, of course) and “save image.” To a blogger like me that makes this platform next to useless.
  4. SNAPCHAT — For the reason stated above. If I take the time to write something, good or bad, the last thing I want is for it to go away. The most wonderful thing about the Web, and especially about blogs, is that you never have to include in a post the most horrible, stupid, wasteful part of news stories in the dead-tree era — background. Back in the day, many news stories, those regarding developments in ongoing, complicated stories, were often 80 percent background — just robot copy you’d already published dozens of times. Why? Because otherwise, the reader had no context for the new part. With the Web, what you wrote before is still available to the reader, and all you have to do is link to it (and oh, how I love hypertext links).
  5. TIKTOK — No, I’m not talking national security issues. It’s not because it’s the social media version of a Chinese spy balloon. It’s because of the way it has promoted and standardized the most execrable esthetic and journalistic trend of our day — vertical (portrait-mode) videos. They’ve made it so popular that recently YouTube has started aping this disgusting nonsense, in a feature called “Shorts” (a misnomer if ever I’ve seen one, since they should be called “Talls”). If I were to tell you all the reasons this is awful, my TikTok paragraph would be longer than the rest of this long post. But I’ll mention the worst — a vertical image, usually concentrating on a single human being like a full-length mirror — completely shuts out all context, making it impossible to see what its happening a foot to the left or right of that image, or even where the action is occurring. At the same time, it gives you more of that person than is necessary for conveying any useful information — and more often than not, shows empty space from the top of the person’s head to the ceiling. That’s all I’ll say about this particular foolishness. I’m forcing myself to stop now…

And just so you don’t think I’m nothing but negative, there are social media I love. I love Twitter — and sincerely hope that Elon Musk, who doesn’t get it, fails in his intense efforts to destroy it. I also enjoy Pinterest, up to a point. I like looking at the pictures. I just wish they’d dial back the recommendation algorithm a bit. Just because I like one Marilyn Monroe picture doesn’t mean I want to see nothing but Marilyn Monroe pictures.

Also, I love YouTube. But I also hate its destructive power, which in some ways comes back to the Facebook problem. And again, that’s because of the recommendation algorithm. Hear about it from a guy who helped develop it, Guillaume Chaslot

14 thoughts on “Top Five Worst Social Media Platforms

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oops, I just realized the description “Worst Major Social Media Platforms That I’ve Actually Used” doesn’t quite apply to one of those.

    I don’t think I ever tried to use Snapchat, for the fact that it didn’t seem to offer anything the others didn’t, other than that stupid “poof, it goes away!” feature. And I had zero interest in that.

    I looked at it once or twice, years ago, but I don’t think I ever tried to do anything with it…

    1. James Edward Cross

      Considering how some folks have gotten in trouble for what they have posted on social media, that might be a good feature for some people ….

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        What? The disappearing thing?

        Oh, yeah. That’s what we get when every person on the planet — the overwhelming majority of whom have zero training in publishing — suddenly gains the power, greater than the power any publisher or network news director ever had in the past, to IMMEDIATELY broadcast to the rest of the world the silliest, stupidest things that happen to pop into their heads.

        I’ve had decades of conditioning that taught me you never, ever type something into ANY computer system — much less the internet — things you don’t want to have to answer for for the rest of your life.

        And I can still make a mistake at any time. But I live in fear of it, and the fear helps restrain me to a great extent.

        Meanwhile, we have all these millions of people who believe they don’t HAVE to think about it, that they are somehow invulnerable. Which shocks me no end….

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    As I was adding links to this, I asked myself which social medium logo I hated the most. Well, the Snapchat one is particularly stupid and unappealing, but I think maybe the title goes to TikTok. It seems designed to say three things:

    1. There’s music involved. At least, that’s what I get from the “t” looking like a musical note. OK, fair enough.

    2. This is a messed-up app. It’s so messed up, we’re telling you in advance by showing you a logo in which the colors are horribly out of register — on purpose!

    3. Those are also, you’ll notice, ugly colors. That’s to make the disorienting experience of looking at the logo even less pleasant.

  3. Doug T

    Wow. We agree on something. I will send congrats to some of my closer acquaintances, but it does seem people don’t use LinkedIn very much. I see “not posted lately” on a lot of profiles.

    I use Facebook to access genealogy groups. That’s pretty much it.

    Addicted to Twitter, and watch YouTube often. Don’t watch much TV at all anymore.

  4. Rose

    I agree about LinkedIn. I’m on it, a lot of colleagues are on it, and I get nothing out of it.
    I also don’t care about congratulating people on their work anniversaries.
    I have to use FB, IG, and Twitter professionally, and I have personal accounts as well, but mostly to follow people, news, and organizations. There is interest at work about getting into TikTok posts, but it’s not getting much traction. I avoid it personally as well.

  5. Doug Ross

    Related to social media, in Illinois:

    – 30 schools have 0 students proficient in reading

    – 53 schools have 0 students proficient in math

    Taxpayers spend ~$20,500 / student in those schools

    I bet they’re proficient in TikTok. It’s not a spending issue.

  6. Barry

    My daughter loves TikTok but I’ve never been on it.

    She loves watching funny cat videos and people that make their own showtune videos. If the Chinese want to keep tabs on the cat videos and popular showtunes, I wish them the best of luck,.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, if he does have such an effective system for monitoring his kids, I doubt he’ll be crazy enough to give away his system by telling the world what it is, so…


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