I can’t remember people’s name

Over the weekend, I was at Payson, Arizona for a retreat as part of ASU’s first Global Leadership Academy cohort. Like all other camps I have been to in the past, this camp/retreat opened up something within me. I felt this camp was uniquely different as it had a global representation, there was over a dozen countries represented in the small group of 30 students.

And one interesting thing I found out is that I had a very hard time of remembering everyone’s names. To set the bar here, everyone didn’t have nametags on them. I’m usually pretty good with names but for some reason, I just couldn’t recall a lot of names. Maybe I wasn’t putting much effort to learning people’s name. But I have a hunch that it has something to do with social media.

The camp had limited cell coverage and a lot of dead zones throughout. Only until the end of the camp where I started getting everyone’s name. That’s also the time where I started collecting the social media handles that everyone had.

My hunch is that, I tried to relate the social media personas to the person’s name. This is just a hunch after all that is not scientifically proven. But I felt it was a very good segway to a topic that I have been wanting to talk for a long time now. I have multiple drafts of this same topic but never felt the need to publish them.

And that is my reliance towards social media.

Currently, I have active accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, GitHub, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube, WhatsApp and Swarm. I know, I know, some of these are messaging apps but I still see them as “social media”. And that’s what I feel about social media in general, they’re a means to be connected with an individual or group of individuals.

Since 2017, I started phasing out Facebook as my primary social media and instead moved to Instagram and LinkedIn as my primary news spots. The inclusion of LinkedIn came up due to my role as a job seeker. With no other platform like LinkedIn. I’ll talk about LinkedIn in another piece sometime down the road.

My usage of Instagram really skyrocketed when I stopped using Facebook. I feel that Instagram has become the refined version of Facebook. Some quirks of Facebook such as the algorithmic timeline and near universal adoption (maybe not really “universal” but pretty widely adopted) has made its way to Instagram. In fact, I tend to “check-out” someone’s profile on Instagram more often than I do with Facebook these days.

My Facebook account is stale and only recently when I was in Brazil that I became slightly more active with friend requests and posting on my feed. It doesn’t signify my return to Facebook. I don’t think I will ever return to using Facebook full time as the interface has just too much going on for it. There’s groups, pages, businesses, lists, etc. There’s a lot of things going on for it and compared the newer social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat which focuses on simplicity with just a handful of features.

Right now, my Facebook profile stands as a personal log book for me. I spent about three years filtering through my friend list to ensure that everything is well curated. One thing, I feel good about Facebook is it’s ability to limit the reach of information from the user’s end. Like I can limit who can access my feed updates and personal details. It’s a brilliant illusion to mask the fact that Facebook want to collect these kinds of information.

I’m fine with that, I don’t share anything very personal on the platform.

But moving back to the original topic about my difficulty of remembering names. Just to set this clear again, I am usually good with names but it was interesting to find that I couldn’t comprehend names during the weekend at a camp/retreat. If my hunch is right, my reliance towards various social media platforms have changed the way I do in-person socializing.

I’ll just stop here for this entry.

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