Unless you have been living under a rock the last couple of years, it is abundantly apparent that ‘freedom’ has become a hill that many millions of people are still willing to die on. Of course, we don’t have World Wars any more that liberate the oppressed from tyranny. The Internet is our battlefield, enemy an interesting juxtaposition of a past where the bad guys were a lot easier to identify. Let’s agree that liberals hate the conservatives, and that same is true on the other side: progress stifles monopolies, multi-faceted freedoms makes policing an increasing challenge In the middle, the Judicial System have their work cut out keeping everything balanced.
Really, very little has changed since Roman times.
The key variable in all of this is us. Us lowly peons are suddenly party to government decision making on a daily basis. We have the opportunity to challenge experts and those in authority in a manner that is, quite frankly unprecedented. Of course there’s still a group of people who make dick jokes and fuck about because me me me I’m the most important thing on the Internet AAAAAAAAAAAA. This proves, if it were needed, that even when presented on a plate with salad an opportunity to change the world, some people would rather wank in public and not care.
I’m hearing the word curation a lot more lately, as platforms open themselves up to everybody’s input without making a simple, and quite logical assumption based on how Humanity has always functioned. There is ALWAYS someone who turns up to ruin it for everybody. Unless you make your social media platform a closed entity, that requires people to log in and register and then abide by a set of rules which you will robustly enforce on an equal level regardless of infraction, there’s going to be trouble. Facebook’s inability to be either consistent or transparent in this regard is going to dog them in the Western world for some time, but until that indignation is truly worldwide, it won’t matter one iota.
The problem with having curated content however is that you need to believe those in charge are truly looking after your interests. I still have reservations over Blizzard’s handling of women and minority groups in their games, but it is apparent we’re light years ahead of what was true a decade ago (you’ll need to read the Blizzard Watch article I linked in the tweet for context to this). Your annoyance with rate of change will vary, of course, and listening to people with mental illness over the last week berating those who don’t have a fucking clue what it feels like to live in darkness is a case in point. You may not like the way people are talking, but it is a start. Sometimes, you don’t get the beautiful, well-lit and brilliantly narrated explanation that’s craved, it’s a brick to the face instead.
Curation is something I’ve practised on Twitter for years, and it becomes increasingly easier over time to spot the wankers almost instantly. However, now there’s a new area of the landscape that never needed tending to which is beginning to require attention: the Entitled. The demographic you might believe that inhabits this space isn’t nearly as white and male as news articles would have you believe either. There’s a lot of people, of either sex, who could do with a reality check. However, the biggest single issue remains undimmed: what about me? Why am I not important, or special, or taking your attention away from other people who are clearly not as smart, clever or hardworking as I CLEARLY AM.
Arrogance is a dangerous emotion. Assumption is even worse, because your existence, like it or not, is VERY small compared with the bigger picture. On most days, you’ll just get by but if you’re dumb enough to post without thinking it through, or get obsessed or fixated with one subject and nothing else? Social media shows up the flaws in us all, often without realisation. If the smart people can watch you for months and realise that you’ve got them muted, don’t be surprised if they leave. However, you might want to think about why it happened, because those revelations can be really helpful long-term.
What worries me most is that we’ll all be looking back on this decade ten years from now and wishing that lessons had been learnt far sooner than is currently the case. Freedom has consequences, and if individuals continue to fight so passionately to maintain their versions thereof, there’s a war coming that could make the ones before look quite simple and pedestrian. I keep reading about the historians and economists predicting the fall of current Civilisation, but I’d argue it’s already taking place.
What will then rise in its ashes is what should be concerning everyone.