Somehow, no matter how well intended the start was, social media always turns into competitive media. Myspace long placed a strain on your relationships with its Top 8; Facebook counts everything and even lets you know what your most liked things are at the end of the year. Follower totals, retweets, favorites, and reblogs all play on our selfish desires to be loved and, essentially, to win. For some, the desire to win is so great that they simply leave the game to prevent the risk of losing.
I don’t mind. I enjoy the game. I enjoy the game so much, that I’m trying to make money at it. But I’m pretty young to the game. I only just joined twitter (the end all and be all of social games) a couple years ago, and have only been active on it for about a year. I wonder what kind of person I’d be if I had this winning pressure all of my life.
There is no winner in friendships, in marriage, or in service. If the next generation is raised drinking this morally murky water, will kindness be lost in the wake of competition? Will social media pressure be the only means of getting good things accomplished?
It’s About the Game
This morning I was playing tug-of-war with my dog, Joshua. Tug-of-war is the most primitive form of competition. It has little to do with strategy, and instantly rewards the player who has the most muscle and the tightest grip. But, for Joshua, it isn’t about pulling the rope out of my hands. Every time he wins he comes close to me, tail wagging, and gruffly tries to shove the rope back into my open hand. For him, pulling the rope from my hand is actually a loss because play time has stopped.
Joshua has taught me a new mantra for living in this social world: it’s not about winning, it’s about the game.