COMMENTARY: Unplugging from Social Media

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Here's a technology question for you: what does it mean when you say you are going to "unplug" from social media? MTSU Professor of Journalism Dr. Larry Burris attempts to answer:

VERBATIM: I asked a few friends what it means, and the consensus seems to be that it means you will no longer be signed in, logged on or connected with. In other words, you wont' be using social media.


This is important because a New York Times technology writer recently said he was going to "unplug" from Twitter for two months, then write about his experience. So he did. But he didn't.

The reporter, Farhad Manjoo, did write a column in which he described what it was like to not be on Twitter for two months. He also gave advice to his readers about not being a compulsive news consumer.


Except Manjoo didn't really give up Twitter. He just said he did. Which sounds a lot like fake news.

In an online interview Manjoo said his words "unplugged from Twitter" really meant he wasn't going to read any news feeds on Twitter. He also wrote, "I turned off my digital news notifications, unplugged from Twitter and other social networks." Except during his two-month Twitter-vacation he reposted news stories, and posted comments about other tweets.

All he actually did was stop using Twitter as his primary news source, so I assume he still turned to network television and other social media sites for the news. He also, to his credit, subscribed to the print editions of four daily newspapers, three national and one local.

So, despite his claims, he did not really "unplug" from Twitter

Actually, the entire class of stories about not using social media is something of a cliché. They all read pretty much the same and end up giving the same kind of advice. Which is hardly worth another news story that was, in fact, not worth a story at all.

I'm Larry Burriss

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