12.4.2022 – obsession fueled flames

obsession fueled flames
a terrible idea
social media

From the article, The Age of Social Media Is Ending It never should have begun. By Ian Bogost (The Atlantic = Novemnber, 10, 2022) where Mr. Bogost writes:

Rounding up friends or business contacts into a pen in your online profile for possible future use was never a healthy way to understand social relationships. It was just as common to obsess over having 500-plus connections on LinkedIn in 2003 as it is to covet Instagram followers today. But when social networking evolved into social media, user expectations escalated. Driven by venture capitalists’ expectations and then Wall Street’s demands, the tech companies – Google and Facebook and all the rest – became addicted to massive scale. And the values associated with scale – reaching a lot of people easily and cheaply, and reaping the benefits – became appealing to everyone: a journalist earning reputational capital on Twitter; a 20-something seeking sponsorship on Instagram; a dissident spreading word of their cause on YouTube; an insurrectionist sowing rebellion on Facebook; an autopornographer selling sex, or its image, on OnlyFans; a self-styled guru hawking advice on LinkedIn. Social media showed that everyone has the potential to reach a massive audience at low cost and high gain – and that potential gave many people the impression that they deserve such an audience.

The flip side of that coin also shines. On social media, everyone believes that anyone to whom they have access owes them an audience: a writer who posted a take, a celebrity who announced a project, a pretty girl just trying to live her life, that anon who said something afflictive. When network connections become activated for any reason or no reason, then every connection seems worthy of traversing.

That was a terrible idea. As I’ve written before on this subject, people just aren’t meant to talk to one another this much. They shouldn’t have that much to say, they shouldn’t expect to receive such a large audience for that expression, and they shouldn’t suppose a right to comment or rejoinder for every thought or notion either. From being asked to review every product you buy to believing that every tweet or Instagram image warrants likes or comments or follows, social media produced a positively unhinged, sociopathic rendition of human sociality. That’s no surprise, I guess, given that the model was forged in the fires of Big Tech companies such as Facebook, where sociopathy is a design philosophy.

To revisit some of the key phrasing here:

Social media showed that everyone has the potential to reach a massive audience at low cost and high gain – and that potential gave many people the impression that they deserve such an audience.

On social media, everyone believes that anyone to whom they have access owes them an audience.

… media produced a positively unhinged, sociopathic rendition of human sociality.

… the model was forged in the fires of Big Tech companies such as Facebook, where sociopathy is a design philosophy.

People just aren’t meant to talk to one another this much.

They shouldn’t have that much to say.

That was a terrible idea.

Or so says this feller writing this blog.

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