A Linking Mess – Sometimes social media content can lead to angst

Each week, “A Linking Mess” offers a handful of articles that have recently caught the attention of our Sr. Copywriter.

Facebook: envy producer.

Put That Resentment to Good Use – Wall Street Journal – It’s no secret that social media causes a lot people depression, insecurity, and envy. While some post banal updates of their lives, such as “Going to Home Depot to buy a hammer,” most people prefer to share only their best moments. (It seems like I’ve had at least one friend vacationing in Hawaii for about three consecutive years.) This Wall Street Journal article offers a way to deal by suggesting you put any envy and resentment to good use. Psychologists have identified two kinds of envy: malicious and benign. With malicious envy, a person is happy to see their envied “friend” cut down. In contrast, someone who experiences benign envy becomes motivated to match someone else’s success.

Another stupid article about unplugging.

From the Mountaintop – LinkedIn Today – This article annoyed me and I’m glad I don’t work with its author. It started out the usual way – setting up a straw man of sorts by sarcastically suggesting that unplugging was “heresy,” which is the word he disingenuously used to open his piece – before descending into a high-minded exploration of pretentious nonsense. (Look out for phrases such as “specialness of diversity” and “message of oneness.”)

First, when you write an article about the benefits of occasionally unplugging from your digital device so you can live life in “real time,” you should have to open with, “I know I’m the four millionth person to write about this, so I’m going to try really hard not to sound as if unplugging is an enlightened idea that came to me alone.”

Second, the idea that you even have to write things like “Let’s not forget that there’s a real world out there, too, the one we live in” (the comma splice is his) is bizarre. The whole piece is pretty patronizing. I’m not arguing against unplugging. Who would dare? It just seems like an extraordinarily obvious concept.

I found at least one interesting thing in the piece, though. The author cited an article that reported that researchers think the act of reading everything online has made “real” reading suffer. Because people scan, search for keywords, and read only the most interesting information rather than digest every word and phrase, comprehension has worsened.

About Paul M. Johnson

I’m Senior Copywriter at Leggett & Platt, so I write a bunch of B2B copy, mainly about wire and wire-related products. Pretty sexy, I agree. A long time ago, I wrote magazine articles about pro athletes such as Derek Jeter and Allen Iverson, and surprisingly that’s more interesting to most people.

I read at the gym in between weightlifting sets. I read on the treadmill. I read while I’m waiting in line. I “read” audio versions of articles while I drive, but before I was able to do that, I used to read while I drove, but usually only on traffic-free, curve-less interstate highways. That was ill-advised, so I don’t do it anymore. My two main sources are The Economist and The Wall Street Journal, and if I can predict a criticism of this blog, it’ll be that I rely on those two too much. I plead guilty.