Sociobesity: spread the word!


The following phrase is taken from a dictionary:

(Mass noun)

Pronunciation: səʊʃɪəʊ/ /ə(ʊ)ˈbiːsɪti/
The condition of being overly present on social media.

Of course this is not (yet) a phrase taken from a dictionary. In fact, no dictionary has included this new word as of now. This is my plea to all dictionary editors around the world, to include the word ‘sociobesity’.

Symptoms of sociobesity
I’m sure everybody immediately gets the picture when someone is called socially obese. For the ones who don’t: socially obese people have the tendency to immerge themselves in numerous social media.

Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram etc. etc… our world is filled with social networking sites that allow us to share our lives with the ones we love. Useful sites for many of us, but dangerous to people who are prone to addiction. A small example: someone is feeding his cat, and shares an update about this on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, uploads a picture of feeding his cat on Instagram and shoots a video about this to share on YouTube. Dozens, hundreds of posts a day; socio-obese people are online 24/7.

The hazards of sociobesity
Besides the frequency of posts and updates, another symptom of sociobesity is the use of the media itself. In case of sociobesity, it feels as if a person makes social media compulsory. The feeling that everything must be shared with everybody every time, really finds its origin in the incredible amount of choices we are offered. Nowadays, we can chose to use loads of different media to let the world know what we are up to. In short: a socially obese person can not chose from these options; all media has to be used. It’s like not being able to chose what kind of potato chips you want to eat, and therefor just eat all the bags that are at hand. Over-consumption of social media is the result.

One of the biggest risks is that using social media no longer is a way to share your life, but a way to live your life. No longer is the message the most important element in the communication, but merely the communication itself becomes the goal. Sharing as much as possible, tweeting, posting, pinning, uploading as much as we can. If no one stops the socially obese, they will soon spend most of their time indulging themselves in social media activities. The real life they used to have transforms to a digital-only life.

How to save people from sociobesity
Underestimation is a threat in this case. We, the internet-using society, need to take this problem seriously. This starts with acceptation: we need to acknowledge the problem and accept that this new word in fact does apply to a large group of people. We must make sure that this group of people does not become a community on it’s own. By adding this new word to dictionaries, we accept the existence of the condition, and acceptance is the first step. Only then will sociobesity be taken seriously, and only then will socially obese people see that they in fact face many dangers….

I started with stating that this is a plea to all editors of dictionaries, but in fact this is a plea to all users of social media. How does a word get in a dictionary? That’s right: usage. Usage, usage, usage. If a word is being used by millions of people, then it is inevitable that it will end up in a dictionary. So share, like, tweet, update, post, retweet, vine, tape, pin, blog, tag, use Morse code or smoke signals: whatever you can do to spread the word, do it! Indulge yourself in social media and devote yourself to spreading the word. The socially obese are taking over, spread the word!

Bas Kruijssen, New Media & Marketing Manager Black Hole Recordings
Follow Bas on twitter

Tagged: social media, weblog

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