Sharers and Archivers

Social Media. It’s been called many things. Solved many problems. Created just as many. But one thing’s for sure, it’s not going anywhere. It popped up not to long ago and doesn’t look like it’s going to loose momentum in my lifetime.

I think it’s only been recently that I have become aware of a split in users. It comes down to the way in which we use social media, and perhaps, defines the quantity and style of the updates that we post.

The split is quite simply this. I think there are two types of social mediates: those who post there life to tell others and those who post their life for the future. Nothing wrong with either of them, but it is different to see the different styles of posting. The sharers and the archivers. Much like the title suggests.

Hear me out. I think it’s safe to say that there is going to be a clear majority of people that will be posting their updates, photos and stories to tell their friends and family what is happening in their day-to-day lives. The sharers. The ones that need to get the word out about the latest viral video. And they are totally valid. In fact, that’s usually how the non-sharers get the news. So then, perhaps in the minority, are people a bit like me. People who are less bothered about updating people on the current events that happen to them (perhaps because we lead more boring lives, haha!) and more about posting landmark moments that will be a record for the future. Archivers tend to think more about the consistency and quality of their timeline and will often spend time pruning it. Much like a gardener. A virtual gardener. A virdenar.

I’m not saying that either are mutually exclusive. Not by a long-shot. But it does make certain features redundant to various parties. In fact, although it is clear from Facebooks’ standpoint, they want to occupy all avenues of usability, they do tend to lean towards the Sharer-style user. Never more evident than their recent update to Instagram.

So, as an archiver, here’s a technology I just don’t understand: Instagram stories. It’s a new feature that allows users to post their live events in video or picture form (often with humorous annotations or cartoon drawings). Great. Except they expire within 24 hours. Then they’re gone. Forever. It’s a continuation of the technology introduced by Snapchat earlier in the social media timeline.

Both snapchat and Instagram stories have their advantages, and based on the number of stories I see through Instagram, it’s clearly gathering steady momentum in popularity. But it’s something I just don’t quite understand. What’s the point of posting something that’s gone before you blink?

I think I get it. For the alternative social mediates, it does make sense. Putting out a whimsical snippet of the day-to-day activities may be great as an update on their lives. But it doesn’t really fit the mould of what I like social media to be.

But perhaps that’s the beauty of social media. It’s lots of things to lots of people. And in some ways, it serves both purposes really well. Which is kinda handy for me. Because the ironic thing is, that most people will only ever read this post unless the Sharers share. So hats off to you guys. You make social media social.

There’s no judgement from me if you are a sharer or an archiver. But it is funny to see the two interact online. Sometimes with hilarious consequences. And let’s face it, I’m the first to like viral sharers, in fact, here’s the highlights from the last two weeks. And yes, I realise that by doing what I’m about to do, I am exhibiting the traits of a sharer. Perhaps we all have elements of both…