The Social Media Conundrum
Social Media can be exploitative and addictive. However, the way we use it and the platforms we choose will determine our experience.Five basic types of users:
1. Social: sharing personal updates and photos regarding daily life with interaction based on building and maintaining relationships
2. Consumers: following others for entertainment or information (interaction less important - this includes lurkers)
3. Content Creators: those who put effort into crafting posts or videos as a creative act (includes content curators)
4. Spammers: intrusive unwanted promotion
5. Trolls: entertainment by bullying, stalking, or recruiting others into smear campaignsThe first three user types are the focus of this article. Identification of what features work for us and against us will form future trends. We need to understand and decide what we want or it will be decided for us.
FacebookFB is massive.
It has changed our culture for the better and for the worse. We, as social media users, have also evolved through using it. This article is not about bashing FB but by looking closer at FB specifically we can understand our future social media needs.
Facebook has done a great job in providing a platform that caters to the social aspect of social media. They also limit spammers and trolls which is also very important. It is the biggest platform which means most of the people we care about are on it. If you have a small number of "friends," and don't mind all the ads, then FB may still work for you. FB is also useful for small business owners that want to maintain a relationship with the local community.
FB is Terrible for Content Creators
This includes authors, educators, doctors, social change leaders, artists, musicians, activists, or anyone else that has an important message to share. FB is no longer the place for gaining a big following. Those days are in the past and the algorithm works against growth unless you pay for it. The lack of good content makes the feed dumb. Only the most pallid posts survive which means there is a huge lack of thought, critical thinking, innovation, or creativity. This is a HUGE problem because FB has become a major influence on modern society. Politics is a great example. People post in thoughtless sound bite memes which has resulted in snowball fights instead of discussion. A stupid population is easy to take advantage of and we need our wits about us now more than ever. The search function is also terrible, but that makes sense because that function is only needed when searching for good content.
We Want to Control Our Feed
The problem with any platform that uses an algorithm is that the feed is controlled. There was a time, in our social media evolution, where we put up with an algorithm because otherwise our feed became full of clutter. But people are getting better at both knowing what they want and posting better quality posts. Let us choose what we want to see!
Control the People = Power
Cults succeed by supplying unmet needs and then exploiting it. FB operates the same way. When you control the people you control commerce, politics, and power. Wake up people, this is happening. FB is not your friend and it has an agenda.FB is grossly exploitative.
Your posts will not be seen by your friends unless it is sensational (evokes lower nature emotions based on the same parameters of addiction, gambling, and pornography). FB literally profits by making people depressed and sick-minded. That is their commodity. No joke.
“Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have amassed a scary amount of power. Facebook unilaterally decides the news that billions of people around the world see every day. It buys up or bankrupts potential competitors to protect its monopoly, killing innovation and choice. It tracks us almost everywhere we go on the web and, through our smartphones, even where we go in the real world. It uses this intimate data hoard to figure out how to addict us and our children to its services. And then Facebook serves up everything about us to its true customers — virtually anyone willing to pay for the ability to convince us to buy, do, or believe something.” - from Freedom from Facebook
movement is a big deal. The average user likes to believe they are simply putting up with ads and data mining regarding things they already want to buy but that's not the issue. The way in which FB sells data and to who they are willing to sell your personal information is terrifying.
Your Followers, Your Content, Think Again
Powerhouse content creators, that have built thousands and millions of followers, are having their pages deleted without warning and without anyone to call. This can happen anytime for any reason. It is an outrage.
Centralized = They Own Your Content
The same data mining, exploitation, and deletions are happening on all the big platforms. I, personally, amassed over 100,000 followers on Google+ only to have the entire platform shutdown. Centralized means the platform is controlled by one company or entity and stored only on their servers. Centralized social media platforms are a bad set up. FB, Google, and many of the other platforms, have shown us what we don't want. We don't want a controlled feed, ads, centralization, or data mining.
We must take back the internet and can start with where we spend time. The following is a basic list of criteria needed in social media sites.
1. Open Source - the code must be transparent without any hidden agendas and must allow for collaboration in change and improvement
2. Decentralized - the platform must be hosted from multiple servers (like the internet itself) so that it is owned by no one and safe from corruption
3. No Algorithm - the user must control their own feed
4. No Ads - no explanation needed
5. No Data Mining - this means your content is not sold or exploited and your content only benefits your subscribers, you, and the quality of the platform
Note: Many are going to MeWe and Vero but they are centralized and can be bought, sold, or changed once you invested time and content. So far, Diaspora and Minds are my two favorite platforms but there are many good contenders out there.