Social media has always been a popularity contest. Zuckertwat created Facebook to rate girls, remember? When that fact is grasped… well, everything becomes a bit of a wankfest. The dopamine hit of self gratification when you ‘go viral’ is undoubtedly better than anything a cheap bar of chocolate could recreate… which is why exercise is, I now grasp, so much better as a gateway to kicking the habit for good.
As that’s happening with greater frequency (and satisfaction) this week was always going to be about stripping back on crap. It’s all Reddit’s fault, if truth be told: after I deleted my account there was a sense of… well, actual liberation. The platform was rarely used. It’s users are… a colourful bunch, but the fact remains that popularity comes from a particular brand of interaction, that I’m simply not prepared to do.
Once that was gone, there was empowerment to go further.
In the last week an awful lot has been learnt about how my WordPress blog actually works, which is long overdue. I’d say about 95% of interactions via likes are non-human, and so to remove them and the avatars people use with which to do so was really a no-brainer. The only notifications that will register are when replies are written to posts, the only way to post is when you’re authorised by me.
There are those who undoubtedly would argue ‘this is not free speech’ and they would be correct, but until WordPress allow me better means to curate who can see my work without taking a blog private? This will have to do. However, the silence of the last few days has been utterly glorious. Not gonna lie, this is something I should have done YEARS ago because it removes so much pointless detritus from existence.
Respect’s a tough thing to earn in the modern world. If my work’s good enough to make someone want to respond, undoubtedly they will, and that means past a click. Likes are no longer worth purpose when they have such a negative psychological effect on people, especially those who are easily influenced. However, the biggest bonus for me in all of this is undoubtedly the opportunity to dictate personal terms in public spaces.
As the future becomes control taken out of individual hands, the ability to pick and choose who and where my information is disseminated is vital. It isn’t just AI that causes concern either: real life nutters and stalkers are a constant, insidious threat, and with little or nothing the average person can do to protect themselves, it is massively important to know how you can minimise such issues.
Knowledge really can and will set you free.