Social media slowdown. Quickly, please.


24 Jan 2013 - Maria Kivimaa


The food culture fifteen years ago was appalling, if non-existent. We were surrounded by crap crepes, horrendous takeaway meals and instant coffee. Junk food lurked around every corner and trans fats were blocking our arteries quicker than one got out of McDonald’s drive-through lane.

Then came the slow food movement. Chefs rose from basement kitchens into prime time tv, we started demanding happy chickens and organically produced sprouts, and realised that eating is actually not just a quick energy fix but part of our culture, something we should enjoy and put effort into; something we should think about and execute with love and care.

Today, street food is a big trend again and hot dogs considered gourmet, but the slow food movement did leave a permanent mark: we simply value quality food and are willing to pay for it, be it fast or slow.

I am truly hoping we could now do the same with social media.

Internet has enabled every single moron on earth to shout out loud their smallest thoughts (which, often, are really, really small) and thanks to social media they can now find an audience who encourages this. We are drowning in nonsense.

There’s a time and a place for cat videos. But when our main communication channels are filling up with quick first  thoughts and lazy sentences, it won’t take long before there’s a generation who can’t come up with a second thought, let alone the third or fourth. Questioning, argumentation and thinking go hand in hand with not only what we say, but also how we say it.

Thankfully, there’s light on the horizon. In recent years a few promising examples have popped up, such as Quora, a Q&A platform which actually gives you informed and thought-through answers (and fresh from the oven its blogging platform, check out e.g. our chief strategy head Robin Jaffray’s new blog); Branch, a clean and clutter-free discussion area; or Opuss, a lovely mobile app for beautifully written stories and poems.

My newest and most passionate love-affair is with Medium. Founded by the guy behind Twitter and Blogger, it aims to collect insightful pieces of writings. Topics vary, are of great interest and pleasant to read. The idea is not much more complicated than a curated, interactive network of brilliant bloggers, but feels like a huge wave of fresh mountain air.

Good old journalism is fighting back, too. After an explosion of instant and free news feeds and bland Reuters excerpts we are now witnessing a slowly growing trend of long articles and investigative journalism, and more importantly people are becoming willing to pay for a good and professional read again.

I refuse to believe that people have lost the art of good conversation. They are still had at dinner tables or TED forums. I refuse to believe that well-written short stories have died, or beautiful photographs vanished into thin air. And sometimes I’d like to access these without having to cut through hundreds of sneezing panda videos and gif blogs, grammatically incorrect football/weather commentary, LOLs, ROLFs, hashtags and 17-year-old illiterate fashion bloggers.

Let’s slow down a bit?