As mentioned here before, the Dot-Com 3.0 boom — the years after the iPhone when social media took over — is heading straight for collapse, even as efforts are being made to fight that inevitable end.
The recurring problem that Dot-Com 3.0 faces is tied up with SJWs: our new media overlords have cultivated an audience who fanatically uses their product, but this is not a particularly relevant or effective audience, being made up mostly of obese blue-haired baristas, financially insolvent food service workers, committed Leftist basement-dwellers and angry minorities.
Everyone else is gradually fleeing these services as they become increasingly toxic. In the meantime, in order to curry favor with their audience of SJWs, these giant internet corporations have become manipulative and are starting to resemble Soviet-style indoctrination in their relentless advance of narrative, leading to a growing movement to nationalize them as utilities to neutralize their bias:
The new spotlight on these companies doesn’t come out of nowhere. They sit, substantively, at the heart of the biggest and most pressing issues facing the United States, and often stand on the less popular side of those: automation and inequality, trust in public life, privacy and security. They make the case that growth and transformation are public goods — but the public may not agree.
The tech industry has also benefited for years from its enemies, who it cast — often accurately — as Luddites who genuinely didn’t understand the series of tubes they were ranting about, or protectionist industries that didn’t want the best for consumers. That, too, is over. Opportunists and ideologues have assembled the beginnings of a real coalition against these companies, with a policy core consisting of refugees from Google boss Eric Schmidt’s least favorite think tank unit. Nationalists, accurately, see a consolidation of power over speech and ideas by social liberals and globalists; the left, accurately, sees consolidated corporate power.
This distrust of Silicon Valley is expressed in a recent poll which found that 52% of respondents believe that Google’s search results are biased, and 65% do not want to be tracked. At the same time, Spain has fined Facebook for privacy violations in how it collects data on users.
In the meantime, others have discovered that Silicon Valley has been inflating its usage figures — sort of like a fake Nielsen rating showing more watchers than were actually there — to the point of absurdity, and they have been doing this for years in order to evade one crucial report that showed, two years into the reign of the iPhone and mobile computing, that display ads on social media were worthless.
Silicon Valley has been dodging that one for some time, and their solution has been to cultivate a fanatical audience of SJWs instead of a broader audience of normal people. That in turn has helped enforce a split: on the internet, you are either a fanatical Leftist or someone who is skeptical of the internet. That skepticism has fueled questioning about the value of social media and internet use as an activity, especially since it represents to this generation what daytime television did to the 1980s: people with no purpose, not much hope, and very little else to do.
It is possible that the “always on” nature of social media is making us miserable:
But in 2012, when the proportion of Americans who own smartphones surpassed 50 percent, she noticed abrupt changes in teen behavior and emotional states.
…Among other things, teens are: not hanging out as much with friends, in no rush to drive, dating less, having less sex, and getting less sleep. Most alarming, despite their continual connectivity, they are lonely. And rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011.
…“Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones. It’s not just the technology, I should stress, it’s really the social media, which is the most common risk they are facing.”
One factor in this is that social media is driven by Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) which causes people to obsessively tune in many times throughout the day and night, with many users taking their phone to bed in order to consume more media. This leads to an inability to ever detach from the narrative, which means they are not at rest even when sleeping, and a lack of sleep, which increases delusionality, hallucinations and psychotic behavior:
The primary outcome measures were for insomnia, paranoia, and hallucinatory experiences
…Compared with usual practice, the sleep intervention at 10 weeks reduced insomnia (adjusted difference 4·78, 95% CI 4·29 to 5·26, Cohen’s d=1·11; p<0·0001), paranoia (−2·22, −2·98 to −1·45, Cohen's d=0·19; p<0·0001), and hallucinations (−1·58, −1·98 to −1·18, Cohen's d=0·24; p<0·0001). ...It provides strong evidence that insomnia is a causal factor in the occurrence of psychotic experiences and other mental health problems.
Paranoia might be understood as “inverse solipsism,” meaning that it assumes a focus on the individual by wide-ranging external forces. Both posit the individual as the center of all activity, or origin of all meaning, and as such, the individual assumes that any activity out there is directed at them, in a mild form of one of the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Social media can induce this by compelling the individual to constantly interact with a symbolic representation of the world, and this token quickly obfuscates actual reality, which is both wider and less clear-cut and therefore, more ambiguous and threatening. As one writer found, this creates a pathology like addiction:
The landscape of my days has come to resemble my computer screen. The constant stream of pings and swooshes is a nonstop cry for my attention, and on top of that, everything can be clicked on, read, responded to, and Googled instantaneously. I sense a constant agitation when I’m doing something, as if there is something else out there, beckoning—demanding—my attention. And nothing needs to be deferred. It’s all one gratifying tap of the finger away.
…I am a writer by profession, and about a year ago I found myself unable to produce. I attributed my paralysis to writer’s block, freighted with psychological meaning, when in fact what I suffered from was a frightening inability to remain focused long enough to construct a single sentence.
…My therapy, of my own devising, consists of serial mono-tasking with a big dose of mindful intent, or intentional mindfulness—which is really just good, old-fashioned paying attention.
Living a virtual life means that the real life is ignored, which is why so many people seem to live in neckbeard nests where the computer is the only functional object, a gleaming device of firm lines surrounded by the more detailed organic forms of crumpled clothing, discarded wrappers, cigarette butts, detritus and dirt.
Social media requires people buy into that online life, and while many normal people use it periodically, its compulsive users — mostly SJWs — have become its focus. For those it becomes compulsive, with them fearing to go more than a few moments without checking for updates. Facebook, Google, et al. have figured that if they cannot have everyone use their service, they want to cultivate the largest fanatical audience that they can, which is why politics, lifestyle and social media use converge.
In a broader sense, Dot-Com 3.0 mindlock reflects the conditions of modernity, which are defined by control. The individual demands to control nature, especially the nature within, by asserting his individuality through equality; this creates a herd which must be taught to boo the enemy and cheer the good guys; that in turn makes the individualists enforce those boos and cheers on each other, causing a spiral where the society gradually eliminates any notice of reality and focuses exclusively on symbols.
The cart goes before the horse, the tail wags the dog, the world is turned upside-down. While we chase the One True Ring of power and control, we sleepwalk into a Brave New World style society based on what people want, instead of their suppression. Democracy, equality, pluralism and tolerance encourage us to be as weird as we want to be, and we slowly drift farther from reality, becoming more miserable as we do so, until the end seems like a good thing.
Social media just tapped into our mania for control through symbolism. If you replace the complex knowledge of the world as whole with a single interface of symbols that claim to control it all, people — or at least some types of people — become addicted. This addiction creates a hive mind for the purpose of excluding anything but what it wants to believe, and reality is pushed far away.
At this point, the populist wave has brought a backlash against unreality, and the unrelenting defense of unreality from the social media crowd is what is pushing Dot-Com 3.0 into collapse. The audience they need, the normal middle class, is fleeing, and the legbeards and blue-hairs are taking over at the same time regulators close in and investors shy away. The carnage will be delicious.