Why choose one media source over another?

November 27, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog

A reader wrote, after reading a few of my posts about not using Facebook and LinkedIn, yet following up discussions from Reddit here:

Josh,

I have a silly question that I can not stop thinking about. What is the difference between ReddIt and FB or LinkedIn? For me it sounds like a valid preference. A preference that is similar to preferring CNN in the early 80’s over the major networks, or today preferring YouTube and streaming vs old bundled cable TV. There are differences in all the media but the biggest one I see is their position on their development cycle. ReddIt is probably younger more hip and more active than LinkedIn or FB but that’s why we have notification settings on our phones and can turn those off or on regardless what social media we use. Am I seeing it correctly or am I missing something? You have got me puzzled!!

I responded

I’ve tried each of those three enough to learn what they’re about. In the case of each I decided I didn’t want to use them, though for different reasons. Facebook and LinkedIn have business models that fundamentally drive them to get into your personal life and have an arms race (as in game theory) to do it more and more, along with Google etc. I don’t want to do business with those companies. It’s like having a friend who does stuff you don’t like and embarrasses you with your other friends. Eventually you realize you have incompatible values and you don’t spend time with them anymore, even if they help you get jobs or meet other people.

Reddit is just too entertaining and sucked up too much time. But it’s anonymous, so I don’t have a problem doing business with the company. It’s like a drinking buddy after you decide you don’t want to go drinking that much any more. Still cool, you’re just doing other things you value more.

My favorite media source is the library across the street from me. More books and movies than I could dream of. I’m in the middle of a book I borrowed from there by Phil Jackson about coaching and leadership. He worked with and made champions out of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal on his way to earning more championship rings than anyone.  How could I not want to learn from him?

I probably read a book a week from there, plus movies. Recently I read a book by Sam Harris on Free Will just from finding it on the shelf (come to think of it, I mentioned it to a different reader, whom I told I would post on it). I posted recently about a book from there on Why the World Exists. Come to think of it, I know the librarians there and they’re talking to me about giving a series of lectures on physics for the local community, which I would love to do — to me, that’s what comes from in-person communication.

Ultimately I have to evaluate each media source on its merits. I read a few blogs and social media sites too.

Everyone has their values and preferences. What works for me may or may not work for others.

What got me to stop reading Reddit was when I posted on a site asking what people’s vices were that it was mine. Someone responded that he had been off it for over a year since quitting it cold turkey I thought, “Whoa, this guy talked about it like an addiction. I don’t want to sound like that.” So I stopped reading it. No right, wrong, good, or bad. I just felt like not reading it.

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