Social media companies are under almost constant criticism for their disregard for the wellbeing of the users. They would of course strongly deny this, and yet their actions speak for themselves. But are they the problem, or are we? What are the dangers of social media?
Bird Lovegod, fintech journalist and consultant to peer to peer lending platform rebuildingsociety.com shares his views.
Dangers of Social Media
Let’s start with the mother of all social media, Facebook. They’ve definitely come a long way since the early innocent days of connecting friends to friends. They started as a social network, morphed into a social media, and now they’re a political manipulation platform infested with bad actors and credited with influencing US elections and UK Brexit votes. How they managed to miss the fact of this happening is far from clear. It’s like a plane being hijacked, but the crew not realizing, perhaps they were only taken one or two degrees off course, and never noticed. Until the plane landed in a different country than intended. Russia, for example, to complete the metaphor.
Why anyone still bothers with Facebook is also a mystery. It has the feel of yesterdays fake news, it’s fallen from favor with the vitally important new generations of users, they’ve proved themselves to be either incompetent or unethical or both. To clarify in a way they themselves would understand, no one likes them anymore.
Next, Twitter Hmmm, Twitter can be fun, it’s kind of trivial unless used by POTUS to announce trade sanctions or impending thermonuclear annihilation. This is the weird thing about Twitter. It’s almost an accident, a pivot from an SMS based messaging app, that in some ways got lucky, found a niche, celebrities joined, and the rest is history. The main problem is the way people treat other people on it. The triviality of the platform translates into flippancy and crassness of the users.
People think it’s OK to act in ways they wouldn’t in person, or even over the phone, or by email, or text, or any other medium. For some reason, it brings the level of conversation down. Perhaps it was the reductive nature of the number of characters permitted. The system gave people the choice of either composing sophisticated pithy haiku or base grunts of the recently descended ape. Surprise. Ape rules ok.
Instagram, Here’s a strange place. And it’s getting stranger. Far from clearing up fake accounts, Instagram actually has fake people as 1 influencers. What good can a fake influencer possibly do? The owners of these confabulations claim them to be Ai, but of course, they are not, they’re more like photoshop + marijuana-fueled imagination + art as justification + pisstake. Anything can have an Instagram account. A cat, a fish, a turd, and they do. For me, the novelty is thinning daily.
Is there more? Snapchat? Pied Piper? Thankfully it’s all still in a wild state of flux and anything could happen as the immediacy of change on the platforms drives magnifies and reflects the feedback loop of civilizations rising falling and rising again. Here’s hoping.
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