Social Media can be exploitative and addictive. However, the way we use it and the platforms we choose will determine our experience.
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 campaigns
The 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.
FB 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 especially what we don't want.
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. This goes for Instagram too (owned by Facebook).
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 their algorithm works against growth unless you pay for it. The lack of good content makes the feed feel 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.
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube (Google) are notorious for censoring the feed. Some may argue that it's their right as a private platform however, these companies are routinely caught breaking laws pertaining to personal data and show no responsibility to the rights of individuals. These companies will terminate profiles/channels that share information they don't want you to see which is terrifying considering that most people are majorly influenced by the feeds. Free speech is being threatened in a way that can be described as digital book burning. I have seen groups with 80,000 members for holistic medicine deleted because Facebook didn't agree with the content. Shadow-banning refers to a post that is not deleted by Facebook or YouTube but never actually shows up for your followers to see it (happens often).
An algorithm, in social media, is the formula for how posts show up in the feed. The problem with platforms that use manipulated algorithms is that the feed is controlled to support an agenda. Algorithms that simply show what's popular (only what they want you to see) are fine as long as there is also an option to see real time too (all the actual posts by the people you follow). There was a time, in our social media evolution, where we put up with algorithms 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!
Cults succeed by supplying an unmet need and then exploiting the participants. Social media giants are operating the same way. When you control the people you control commerce, politics, and power. Wake up people, this is happening. Social media giants are not your friends and they are data mining, censoring, and manipulating thought for the highest bidder in what is now called"surveillance capitalism."
These companies are 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 and Google literally profit 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
The #DeleteFacebook movement has been a big deal and the new version is #thegreatmigration which stands for a movement away from all privatized platforms to #opensource . 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 these data mining companies gather data and to who they are willing to sell your personal information is a violation of our societal identities. They even build "shadow profiles" of people you know who aren't actually on their platform. They know that person exists from others on the platform and begin to build a psychological profile. No one knows just how diabolical the process is because the companies and their platform designs are not transparent (meaning the code is secret).
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 and it is happening often. Go against their agendas and you will be shut down or shadow-banned.
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. Although Minds is currently held on their own servers, it is positioned to fully decentralize in the future. That is the road map.
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 Corporate 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
No one knows how and when FB or Google will fall (G+ is already dead) and no one knows which new site will host #thegreatmigration. However, it must happen. There are some great platforms available. Minds.com is a great example and already meets most of the basic criteria. It takes it a few steps further and uses blockchain technology and a token reward system for those participants that add value to the platform. So far I am very impressed.
If you're new to Minds, start here.