Pulling out of social media

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Apparently, Facebook has decided to freeze the account I use for Amerika.org interactions. I learned this secondhand since I have not been using Facebook of late, and I have no intention of jumping through whatever hoops Facebook may or may not offer me to restore access.

I say this because of late, social media has appealed even less than it did when I delayed adopting it until “everyone else” was using it. I used it over my own reservations; to me, it seemed a step backward from the internet of many sites to a standardized system where six big sites — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Wikipedia — command most of the traffic.

What made the web so promising in its early days was that it was not dominated by mass taste, which quickly creates the kind of “shopping mall” environment that those big six offer. If enough people linked to something, it made it into the search engines and it could be found by topic searches. There was no single path, like there is in public life, and it was not dominated by commerce and through that, the mediocre substitutes for life that most people settle on. You could choose to live in a world without Budweiser and cheeseburgers.

But then, they called in the real geniuses. They figured out how to make the internet as easy to use as a Pac-Man game. And so in came the audience, and they all wanted to participate, and none of them cared much how. Since that time, the internet has steadily been crunching down to a few huge sites that claim to offer everything, and Google has marginalized small sites — requiring different practices and certification for listings, and then giving advantages to sites that played along.

They have killed it. The internet now is as chopped up, cellophane sealed, sweetened, salted and deep fried as the rest of public life. Social media is a huge part of this. Instead of meeting on idiosyncratic sites, we all get herded into one big open meeting place, where the people in charge try to make enough rules to create a “safe space,” despite all human invention having come from pushing past the comfort zone into the unknown.

I have played along for some time, using Facebook and Twitter, but increasingly the bloom is off the rose. Most of what happens on these sites is the usual individualistic self-expression by others, which becomes more mundane in direct proportion to how hard it tries not to be. You have to wade through that to get to the rare opinions and those are drowned out by people clicking on memes, uploading selfies and engaging in the usual pointless chatter.

So we embark on an experiment. Can this site survive without posting daily updates to Twitter and Facebook about our new articles? People will either visit on their own, or just not bother. As I watch the internet get less functional and the traditional cutting-edge group — the power users — abandon social media, I think it has a shot. If not, maybe people will post these articles to social media.

What I do know is that humanity has steadily left behind real life for a series of surrogates and proxies. Government, shopping, entertainment, and narcissism are void-fillers that never quite do the job. The real world is out there in people becoming friends, being in love, and fighting to do what is right even though it is unpopular and looked down on with scorn by the herd.

If anything, I would like to be able to say that Amerika.org is helping lead the movement back to the real world. This is a site with essays and comments, nothing more. It is not here to give meaning to your life, but to inform and provoke. It is not another time-filler like smartphones and game shows. It is about reality, and now, it dwells in reality far from the madding crowd of social media.

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23 Responses to “Pulling out of social media”

  1. Johann Theron says:

    I guess getting your emails is fine by me!

  2. fodderwing says:

    You go, Dude. The digital age itself is one vast bubble. Like the hideous New Coke from the 80’s, where the “marketers” said here, this is what you will like from now on. Some techie goof came up with electronic books, everybody tried it, said meh, and bookstores are appearing once again on the landscape.

    Microsoft did away with my wonderful XP where everything was easy and, giving me Windows 10 (where you have to dig everything out) said here, this is what you will like from now on. I resent them mightily.

    For me these days, the internet is a pretty good 800 directory, has some quite good business to business applications, and there are some recipes on Youtube I’d like to try. Also, posts such as yours above are simple enough for me to find and I seek them out. Tired of the internet trivia overload, though. Time is precious, and irreplaceable.

  3. I will visit Amerika.org on my own to read your always very charming and well-written articles. Thank you for sharing.

  4. wade coots says:

    all the sites that I frequent are being shadowblocked , delisted or expelled from twitter and facebook. I proudly say that I have never belonged to either myself.
    The thought crackdown is entering a much more encompassing phase.

  5. Steve says:

    It’s a worthwhile experiment. Others have embarked down the same path. While it’s nice that people are gathered at large sites, those sites get rich from other people’s content. It’s only fair to use those sites for traffic, until they cut you off for spreading objectionable ideas.

    I’d expect that those who value Amerika will continue to come here on their own.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/12/digital-capitalism-douglas-rushkoff

  6. JPW says:

    Anita Sarkesian to Twitter was the formal nuking of the fridge for social media (Internet for Dumees).

  7. Paul Warkin says:

    This domain is also blocked site-wide on Reddit.

    These big social media sites are trying to be gate-keepers, allowing or promoting some concepts, while blocking others. This likely has a large effect on the masses, but perhaps those who are driven to seek truth will always look elsewhere.

  8. MaidDH says:

    Normal people I know already are only using the messenger+group facilities/apps of Facebook, services that previous chat clients had already offered. They aren’t following links to anything outside of YouTube anymore, just like 10 years ago.

    Hopefully, the whole web will regain its fame as a place for outcasts, and interesting people bring about the next iteration of the chanverse or whatever.

  9. This web site is where I’ve been getting my regular dose of reality at Amerika.org – not through FaceBook. I used it for a while when, for some unknown reason, I was unable to leave a reply on this site.

    I stopped using FaceBook several weeks ago other than checking for messages specifically addressed to me. I have absolutely no doubt that you will lose few, if any, of those of us who actually read the posts rather than just scroll down the page.

  10. Pavol Horvath says:

    never had and never will have a facebook account.

  11. Ron Shad says:

    I liked having those ‘reminders’ on Facebook to articles on this site, but alas. I’ll still visit here as the articles are superb.

  12. Jim Stephens says:

    It dawned that FB police had impounded yet another free speech source. I appreciate your work and look forward to continued provocation to consider the, oftentimes, starkness of reality in overcoming a lifelong indoctrination of comfortable illusions. Thanks, Brett.

  13. Paul Warkin says:

    An RSS feed reader can do a better job of most of what makes social media useful.

  14. hhhhhh says:

    Before the Internet, it was magazines that people used to create a dissenting community. At the very least, print is easier on the eye. A revival of underground zines remains a possibility, though they’ve never really died out.

  15. Tom Iron says:

    back to the real world
    ———————-
    That real world lies outdoors in the physical world. Get outdoors and feel the air in all its guises, cold, hot, wind driven, ect. Feel it work on you and make you a healthier person, body, mind spirit. No one can understand concepts in depth if they don’t spend large segments of each day out doors.

  16. Dualist says:

    This is what using Facebook means, in practice:

    Instead of speaking/writing directly TO a person, we now send our communications to a leftist-approved computer where they are checked for anything conservative. Only if they are deemed sufficiently politically-correct are they then relayed to our intended recipient.

    If the system doesn’t by chance filter any truly conservative message, then some dutiful informer will report it. All is also (permanently?) saved, for future reference by….?

    The fact that a huge proportion of all communication, even between close friends, is now done on social media makes this a system of censorship beyond the dreams of Stalin, or even Orwell and Huxley, for that matter.

    I never have and never will use FB or Twitter but hopefully all those that do will take Brett’s heed and start posting links to articles.

  17. NH says:

    I think there is a fundamental problem. The monopoly may have the conversation where they want it. What you were doing with social media was very affective. That is why you kept getting kicked off. You were affecting people by using the tools. By just using your sites you may be perfectly contained.

    This does demand effort from readers to come to you, which is positive, but I can’t help but think that the sleeper mind set may have check-mated. The goal of the major sites is to control the subject matter and they did.

    I usually preferred visiting anus and other sites privately. It was a normal, but I think you were onto something with your use of social media. It had a relentless quality. You kept a focus on more important topics. The distracting qualities where trumped by your barrage. Very good work actually. But we shouldn’t always depend on you. What if you burn out and just say ‘fuck all this’? It is on us too.

  18. Carl-Edward says:

    Facebook and Twitter are for those who wish to live vicariously as sixteen-year-old California beach girls.

  19. […] trigger the bots at my workplace, has been apparently booted from (((Facebook))) and contemplates Pulling out of social media. Chris Gale quit twitter, and expects a fork in it. (Software fork, that is. Well, maybe both.) […]

  20. […] you saw this first with Something Awful, Friendster, or MySpace and are now seeing it with Facebook and Twitter. It almost looks like a whole generation of oversold internet companies are heading […]

  21. Tim Cantcook says:

    Mass brainwashing of entire populations through Google and Social Media:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-27/hidden-persuaders-how-internet-flips-election-alters-our-thoughts

  22. […] on, this post mentioned how the threat of censorship and bans on social media services like Twitter destroys the prospect of community. To last, a community […]

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