We’re all going to die!
by Mike Meyer
I just read another story about quitting Instagram. Usually these are self-help exfoliations about shutting down Facebook accounts and the tremendous well being of not being in communication with dozens of people. The quitting Instagram story was very much the standard. People who write these things were always early pioneers of the offending social media app and have finally had enough. From committed zealot to disillusioned apostate. No more scrambling for memes or pictures and no more checking likes.
What the hell is wrong with these people? I suppose these are the folks who cause all the trouble due to a complete lack of self control. In Japan there is a whole subculture and a strange fascination with young people who close themselves up in their rooms and play computer games twenty hours a day. Sometimes they play games for days until they die. This only works if they have family to live with who leave food by their door in the manner of feeding stray cats. These people are a problem and need help but I can’t help; but think the people how loose control on Facebook must be somewhere on the same disease vector.
Social media have gone through the initial cycle and can only be dealt with now as a social problem. Yes, I just wish this wasn’t so damned predictable. But that is, in many ways, a direct product of the massive changes initiated by constant, multimedia, personal communication with new virtual communities. Just don’t believe any of this. These people are simply playing to their audience, a product of social media, one upping their virtual friends, and scoring points on the great virtual score card.
Actually they are looking for a new media. Nothing new has taken off for awhile but that is an illusion, too. New social media now are tied to other virtual worlds. Most of the action for the last year or so is Telegram for ICOs or Ethereum for blockchain. People divide their time between specific new process areas and applications. Every virtual activity has its own social media groupings and apps. No wonder these people are bored and disgusted with low level community clusters such as Facebook or Instagram that is, after all, another aspect of Facebook.
But let’s not knock the old homey social media thing. There are layers of people around the planet moving into the spaces vacated by the jaundiced ‘early adopters’. These people are shaping new communities as they discover what it means to have that kind of access and to make friends from many places. Each country and region has its own personality and layers native to it. That is amazing.
This stuff is paradigmatic that, at this stage, we in the US and parts of Europe and Asia, are just starting to begin to loosen this thing up. Early adopter fascination and craziness is what always happens until people figure out a healthy way to use the technology.
Yes, people went crazy and several million people in middle America got fed massive rations of bullshit by the Russian military and believed it. They’re still trying to claim some good from the corrupt asshole Trump who they elected as a result. It’s getting really embarrassing and even the most easily duped are beginning to face the reality of having to admit a major fuck up. But one thing I think we can count on and that is they won’t be so easily fooled again. This won’t fix inherent ignorance or stupidity but all of them are being much more careful. They have no choice because they can lose everything. This whole social media thing is, by god, dangerous and needs to be paid attention to. That didn’t happen in 2016. But it’s a different world now.
At the same time millions of people are learning what this can do and what it can do is incredibly important. Check out people who have made their way in and connected with cultural, language, and interest based communities. My wife has slowly developed a reasonable policy of working with Facebook for fellow ceramic artists around North America and her native Japan. Facebook is different there and she has found active connections with discussions and people who have become bloggers and video blog celebrities in their own areas.
Yes, that is what it is about but with care and an effort to understand what people are doing and whether that is something you want to stay connected to is the process we now have learned. If all you do is link to the same assholes who are spewing hate your are going to end up buried in bullshit form who knows where. My wife has figured out how to hide the ones that have become a problem so they are no longer a problem and she appreciates serendipitous discoveries of people she would have never known or met. That is changing the planet around us for the better.
Being careful and pulling back when someone gets weird is only reasonable. But if you pay attention and are open to learn serendipity can smile on you. Everyone is learning how to live in these new virtual communities. So don’t pay attention to the exhibitionists who are denouncing their social media life. I can be sure they are moving on to something else. And that, we are finding, is very much part of a fast changing virtual world.