Column: Heavy usage of the “share” button could extinguish originality.
With large amounts of sharing on social media, people are less apt to create innovative ideas.
Jul. 30, 2016
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
With the ability to access endless different perspectives and unique ideas online, an original thought is hard to come by. When scrolling through social media, everyone seems to be sharing videos, photos, music, articles and more. The average person rarely produces unprecedented content to be shared, leading to an unending cycle of secondhand ideas. This begs the question: Is sharing online content actually bad?
While it is never wrong to circulate things that deserve a wider audience or more respect, it seems a little wrong to lessen the value of such creative works with a simple comment, such as “that’s so me,” “same” or “me too.” Of course, I’m not one to chastise those who do this. I have reposted my fair share of online content. But the continuation of such practices may soon eliminate any likelihood of originality online.
It is already difficult to create an entirely unprecedented idea, so the simplicity of just clicking a button to share someone else’s work with only a single word of input is obviously appealing. You’re able to get your point across with little to no personal effort, as the opinion has already been created, edited and established by another person.
Aside from recycling content to make the process of proffering an idea extremely easier, there is also the ever-present need to feel the comfortability of conformity or people-pleasing. By sharing already-published work, an individual has seen the responses and can determine whether or not that piece will be popular among their friends and acquaintances. And so, in trying to impress others, people share what they know people like, which limits individuality and reduces actual thought-processing.
There are also photo-sharing and social bookmarking apps and sites solely focused on the idea of redistributing and bringing together content from all over the web. While entertaining, these have conferred the sharing mindset upon other platforms as well.
Returning to the original question of whether online content sharing is actually bad, I would like to point out a few instances when redistributing is actually a good thing. It promotes works of deserving artists who can only share via the web. It can raise traffic for websites that may not have a chance of distinction in the face of more popular sites. Sharing also allows people to communicate their emotions when words cannot be found.
What should be noted is the fact that reposting has reached a point of extremity where one would be hard-pressed to browse through their social media for even a single minute without encountering some sort of shared material. Only when we limit our use of the “share” button, will we begin creating our own art and opinions once again.