In today’s digital climate, sharing content online has never been easier… but having to decide what platform to share it on is harder than ever. Twenty years ago, if you happened to have a funny VHS tape of your cat flushing the toilet, the only way to share it with your friends would be to either invite them over for a special screening, copy it and mail it to them, or send it to Bob Saget and hope it ends up on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Now, sharing photos, videos, and news is as easy as the click of a mouse… or the touch of a screen if you’re on your smartphone. Provided you have an account on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ (and if you don’t have at least one of those, what are you even doing on the internet?), you can “like” content to share with your friends, “tweet” it to your followers, and “+1” it for your circles in each respective social network. Sharing is also encouraged on LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, and countless other sites. Each network serves a different purpose for everybody, but sharing the same content across all of your social platforms can exhaust your friends who follow you on more than one of them.
When it comes to photos in particular, even more options abound including Instagram, Flickr, Twitpic, and dozens of other photo-sharing services named after web 2.0-sounding made-up words. (If “Schlorky” ever exists, I will be the first person on it.)
Some argue that we’re in a period of “social media overload.” Maybe we are. Mashable called it the “Sharepocalypse” and remarked on how it’s helpful for startup companies but results in social noise coming in from too many different directions. It can certainly be overwhelming to have so many options for channels to share and consume content. It’s probably best to choose one network to truly stand out on, rather than spreading yourself thin over many. At the same time, some users these days experience “FOMA” (fear of missing out) and compulsively check each of their networks for updates. It’s tough to have so many options, but perhaps it’s better than not having enough.
At least we don’t need to copy VHS tapes anymore.