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    • ...she can point out how social media is broken, but she’s very vague on how to fix it.


      I’m afraid the only way to “fix social media” is to change human nature. 🥴 Good luck with that...

    • very vague on how to fix it.

      Ain't we all? :)

      I don't know how to fix things at planetary level either, and I am a bit self-congratulatory on the fact that I am not afraid to say it out loud, instead of pretending to have both the silver bullet and the snake oil to lubricate it.

      The systems and concepts we are discussing here are way too complex for there even to be a way to "fix" them. Discussing them, though, as widely as rigorously as possible, is a good thing and many smaller fixes and ideas leading to fixes of parts of those systems can only come out of such discussions.

      I agree with mostly everything @paulduplantis has written above, with the caveat that he is naturally focusing on things that interest him most. My personal take is a bit more philosophical, in terms that I see and recognise multiple problems in the subject matter, or should I say multiple layers of problems, and I am not sure our society is currently equipped with adequate ways of looking at these layers to begin trying to effectively solve them.

      Let's take the basic statement of that article - that "social media" is broken. It's easy to agree with. However, what is this "social media" we are talking about? It's not an objective atomic entity that exists by itself. I posit that it is not broken. It's a tool, that has multiple design problems, multiple problems with its users not understanding the tool and its usage and safety protocols, multiple problems with its manufacturers not being very good vendors. It is also a business product, too. I could agree with the thesis of privacy-forfeiting, ad-based business model being bad for society, all day long. But in the end, a service is not free neither to produce nor to operate. Vendor must get money from somewhere to at least break even, and if it's a business endeavour, to make at least some profit somehow, Hanlon's razor tells us that it is highly unlikely that there was an actual evil intent to subjugate the human race in the creation of the ad-driven business models. It is there because the googles and facebooks needed to make money, and this way worked (and yes it was later hijacked by various governments and other bad actors for nefarious purposes, cf. what is going on in China).

      Humanity-wise, there is nothing new here at all. Technology outpaces societal development - check. Technological solutions have unintended or overlooked ethical side effects - check. Bad actors leverage technology to their own ends - check (with the sad consequence of bad governance then trying to ham-fistedly ban things causing harm only to law-abiding actors because bad actors don't play by the rules anyway)

      Solutions? I don't have them. I know some directions, where if we move that way, we can maybe get improvements.

      We need better humans - meaning, education. All the time, for everyone. Explain, enlighten, repeat. Make every effort to expose lies, support healthy discourse and discussion, teach fact-checking and scientific method(s), ridicule fear-mongering and quack science. The problem with this is that a) we don't make anywhere close to enough effort on this, on the macro scale and b) humans are much more resistant to change and effort required to get educated than to easy pleasures offered by flawed business models. Again, nothing new here at all, we can read all about it in the Plato and Socrates, and the whole education thing is and will be a Sisyphean task. Which needs to be done anyway, lest we get crushed by the stone.

      We need more and better social systems (not necessarily socialist, and this is another important distinction, because the latter is being used to scare people from the former). It's quite a tipping point on many many issues, from healthcare to the digital realm. If we can agree that digital connectivity is crucial for the development of our society (as e.g. they have done in Finland, if I am not mistaken), then we can work with our governance systems to ensure this is societally recognised and funded, thus limiting the pressure on vendors to procure funding from commercial customers.

      Same applies for developing new technological approaches and solutions. Pioneering work on Solid and other old and new ways of better working with our data is fundamental research. It is being funded by marginal efforts and leveraged power of celebrity status of people like Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Perhaps it should be funded more by our social constructs? Governments? World science organisations. And it has happened before, even if in an ironic way - there wouldn't be any Internet if DoD didn't fund ARPA. Yes, it was military money. But it was also government money, not a product of a commercial business model. (Discussion about whether a government is just an instance of a business model as well is valid but outside of scope of this thread, I believe)

      Let's take an example - there was a pretty interesting project called Diaspora, which aimed to displace Facebook with something much better in terms of privacy and distributedness. But it has ultimately failed, not in the least because it has failed to get money to develop and got eclipsed by the advances and conveniences of Facebook which did get money, yes, from a flawed business model.

      Finally, a thing that gives me hope is that there is always this leading edge of underground cultures and countercultures that always find a way to seep through the cracks, to use and abuse new technologies in unforeseen ways, to cut these private, invisible to larger public (at least for a time) spaces where new things bloom and develop, both bad and good ones. That's where the growth comes from.

    • Yes, today's "we hate social media" trope reminds me of the "kill your TV" cry decades ago. Now we are glued to TV and knocking the Internet. Perspective is everything and process is necessary for discovery and discarding.

      Social media itself isn't so horrible and it really hasn't been around that long. I remember how awesome it was to connect with like-minded strangers using early IRC. Now we have beautiful platforms like Cake (thanks to you!)

      That we ushered in Big Brother with such open arms makes me shake my head. I am fierce about privacy and sad we have given up so much because of a relatively small amount of bad actors. Worse than sharing every meal and cute pet tricks on social media are the devices people bring into their homes with live cameras, video monitors on practically every street, and apps we use to record every purchase. I think in many ways with technology, we've lost more than we've gained. Still, I have high confidence that if homo sapiens figured out a way to form meaningful communities that thrived in the first place, we'll continue to improve on that basic instinct.

      Two takeaways from the article that have promise for me were:

      - Your online profiles would begin with everything and everyone blocked by default.

      - People who aren’t willing to meet up in person, no matter how persuasive their online personas, simply won’t be trusted.