No matter what we think of each other, maybe it isn’t at all important that I follow you, or that you follow me. We are both elsewhere, in more complete forms. Let’s find each other there.~ David Cain, from https://www.raptitude.com/2019/04/the-life-changing-magic-of-unfollowing-almost-everybody/
Having recently completed the last step of a complete exodus from my personal participation in social networks, I can now say: I have no idea wether I’m interacting more or less with other humans, and I do not care. I’m less stressed and I don’t miss it. I feel so much better just never going to those spaces.
But, wow did I used to spend time there.
It’s almost as if the multi-billion-dollar companies know so much about manipulating human behavior that I was literally unable derive benefit. It’s almost as if I was simply a battery plugged into their matrix.
The Lesson: This first insight is in truly learning that social media is much more of a mindless habit — and a very strongly ingrained one — than a pleasurable or fulfilling activity. We do it out of compulsion rather than intention.~ Brett McKay
Back when we invented all this online bru-ha-ha, they were called “social networks.” I think we should still be using the word network rather than media, because then it would remain clear: A healthy community necessarily has a network of people, but a network of people is not sufficient to create a healthy community.
I’ve read far too many stories put out by “prestige” news organizations that merely amount to: “This prominent person tweeted this. These random people responded with these tweets. This person made a meme out of it.” This is literally the entire content of the article. It is paragraphs of text devoid of meaning and significance. Just hype masquerading as journalism. But consume enough of it and it can shape your world view, where you feel like something is happening, but nothing actually is.
~ Brett McKay
A large part of my personal change has been driven by my changing what information I consume. There are very few things, people, or places which are able to “insert” information in front of me. The vast majority of information sources—and I’m using information here in the broadest sense—are all set up so that I access them. I access them the way I get water from the sink tap. I go to it. I act to begin the flow. I choose how much and at what rate it flows.
There’s no longer any hype coming out of my sink taps.
We’re made increasingly miserable because connect-the-world imperialists are unleashing machine learning on our most vulnerable and base impulses. A constant loop of refinement that prods our psyche for weak spots, and then exploits them with maximal efficiency. All in the service of selling ads for cars, shampoo, or political discord.
~ David Hansson
Sometimes it’s nice to stop worrying about the existential threat of the rise of the machines…
…and to instead worry about the existential threat of people doing stupid things.
What I like about that phrase, “I hate the person who invented Mondays,” is that it reveals the absurdity of one of our very human habits. We have a tendency to find some part of our environment to scold — a person or thing — whenever we run into some kind of problem in our lives. Something unpleasant happens unexpectedly, and the emotion of blame arises. We search for a source to our suffering, and fix our dislike on it and align ourselves against it, as if our sheer, bitter ill-will can transmute a part of life we hate into something we like.
~ David Cain
It’s important for me to distinguish between cause and blame. Cause—it seems to me—is something I can work at picking apart. It’s unlikely I’d have a full understanding of cause-and-effect in any random situation, (“why exactly did that guy just spill his beer on me,” is pretty complicated after all,) but picking at the threads of the seemingly unknowable knot-that-is-the-cause… That tends to lead me to a more thoughtful view of the world. And a more thoughtful view invariably leads me to a more optimistic view of the world.
Here’s a tangential thought as an example: Is it “Western Civilization” that is taking over the world? Or is it “Best Civilization” is taking over, and the areas we label “western” have just gotten to the ideas [all, some, or just one in particular under discussion] first? If I ditch, “who’s to blame,” for the specific changes in civilization which I dislike [think: social media] and instead ask, “what is causing that change?”… well, that changes my view of things significantly.
I think what I notice with people who are a little older is it’s really easy for them to dismiss social media as, like, this vapid and shallow thing in which you’re trying to get likes and engagement, but what they don’t realize is it’s like a huge part of some people’s social lives and it’s, like, very much a part of how you see this world and interact with the world. And it’s not just “oh I wanna get likes to, like, seem cool” it’s like “Oh, this is my social life in many ways, and it has been for a very long time.” And that’s kinda how I view applause at basecamp in many ways, too; It’s like my social life at work.
~ Tara Mann
It is really easy to dismiss social media, because it is vapid and shallow.
The insight here is that eventually you too will stop acting like a 14-year-old, become an adult, realize social media is vapid and shallow, and then dismiss it easily.
Because endless growth and data collection is the foundation of their business, and that necessitates doing gross invasive things to their users. They need you to feed the beast, and they certainly don’t want you to think about it. So they use cartoon animals and sneaky happy paths to make sure you stay blissfully ignorant.
~ Jonas Downey
What’s the solution? I vote with my feet, attention, and dollars. I think about where does that food come from? What are the principles of the people who run that company? Do I need this thing I’m considering buying? What signals am I sending into the marketplace (economic and ideologic) with my choices?
These people are, effectively, hiding behind a wall. They are passing up more difficult work for the easy work — sharing or “liking” photos, retweeting, commenting on someone’s wall. These are activities which can serve a purpose, but they are poor substitutes for the real thing. It’s like saying Splenda is the same thing as sugar, tofu is the same thing as real meat, or Red Lobster is a good place for…a red lobster. It’s not the same thing. Not even close.
~ Brett McKay
There is a fine line between using social media (and other technology conveniences) to increase the number of people I can keep up with. Dunbar’s Number is often pegged at about 100 or a bit more. I definitely agree that there’s a trade off between how many people I can maintain relationships with and the quality of each relationship. I find the hardest part is when a relationship gets asymetric — when the other person isn’t able to commit as much time — eventually it’s time for me to stop putting in the effort; Eventually it’s time for me to stop trying, and instead to let another person settle into the social space in my universe.
I don’t believe our species can survive unless we fix this. We cannot have a society, in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.
~ Jaron Lanier
Take control of your use of the Internet — that is to say: Do not let it control you. Choose what apps, sites, etc you use. WHENEVER YOU CAN, PAY FOR SERVICES AND APPS. If something is free, then realize that YOU are product being sold to whomever is paying for the service.
The Internet made it easy to gather together vast swaths of humanity and allowed them to communicate with each other at scale. These mostly anonymous ginormous nations of humans have no shared purpose and no shared values. With no common understanding of how to treat each other and no incentives to do so, communication in these “communities” rapidly degrades to the lowest common denominator where uninformed hate is a typical knee-jerk reaction to differences.
~ Rands / Michael Lopp
There’s a bunch of insight about social networks (digital and in real life.) Also worth reading if you are interested in leadership and haven’t yet found the Rands Leadership Slack team.