Why is technology making it harder to stay in touch?
Take a little dive into my camera roll in this fun feature I did for! —Kate
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Last week, social media strategist Rachel Pedersen posted a TikTok that suggested people should follow these four steps immediately after posting on the platform in order to increase their reach:
Leave five comments on other people’s content.
Respond to the first five comments that come in on your video.
Do a five-minute livestream where you “multitask” (AKA, just do whatever you’d normally be doing in that moment).
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Social media is Pedersen’s job, and her content is for people like her, working for brands or small businesses or who are influencers themselves. She’s not wrong for sharing this advice. But influencers and small businesses aren’t necessarily the only people following it. These platforms are now so often used to reach strangers that people using them for, well, socializing, are getting buried. Their content is not prioritized even among their own communities, which forces everyday people to adopt the same posting habits as professional creators. We’re all performing “promotional labor.”
Over the past five years, social media platforms have demanded more and more work from their users in order to fulfill the promise of keeping connected. If you want your followers to see you on Instagram, you can’t just post a picture, you have to make a video. And if you want them to see the video, you need to produce, shoot, and edit it with some level of skill. And even then, if you’re not catering to a specific trend, the video still might flop—so you try again, and add “comment five times, go live for five minutes” to your growing list of unpaid tasks required for the basic privilege of being seen.