Civilization

One of the great advantages of sticking with Social media whilst many people simply won’t take part is the continual reassessment of ground rules. Those people who are so far above the petty and incestuous self-consumption that seems quite rife of late are undoubtedly the winners: you don’t let the bastards get you down, the entitled whiners are effectively tuned out and the conspiracy theorists… well, they’re never gonna stop regardless of what anybody says.

Ploughing your own furrow is undoubtedly the way forward.

whatiswrong

Except, along the way, there’s a very real chance your real self can get lost. I’ve watched it with a few people whose ‘career’ has effectively been launched via this platform. It becomes impossible to keep everybody happy and eventually, you become a mirror of yourself, almost identical copy except… everybody is held at a distance. Sure, you’ll have conversations with others and happily contribute to dialogue but something has changed. The rants are a bit more rantier. Your obsessions become more pronounced and often quite repetitive.

You have become a stylised version of the person who began here.

thatsbait

Of course, for many people this is an ideal state of affairs, because that allows Twitter to maintain the illusion of actual conversation and community whilst giving you a way to detach from all that bad shit that makes the entire process so much more difficult. Except, as we discussed yesterday, this is a fallacy. However great it is to have everybody liking you, and for that state to be maintained as long as possible, there will come a point where it all falls down. When that happens, you need to be ready.

Building mental strength in all areas of existence is vitally important. If you take the time and force yourself to look back on what is said and done online, there is an awful lot that can be taken from the experience. I know some people who do this with every Tweet they write, whose stuff can often vanish without warning or seeming justification because, undoubtedly, they’re doing that job too well. You can overthink everything too, or needlessly obsess over details nobody else considers as significant. That used to be my hill, but now I choose to die over far worthier causes.

catfight

The point today, as we start a new week, is simple. Even the smart people are stupid sometimes. Everybody fucks up, however hard we try… and over-trying is a fantastic way to make a bad situation worse. Listening to how you deal with other people in virtual environments has a massive amount of benefit long-term. It’s a great way to assess and address issues that probably also present themselves in the Real World but without having to deal with the (far messier) real life emotions that present. Looking at your output, and simply deleting what you don’t like won’t address the bigger issues either.

What you write in immediacy and passion is simply a mirror of your true self. You might not like that person very much in the cold light of day, but they can teach a great deal about what you really are. Plus, if your employer gets a tip off over that anonymous account, or a lover discovers your secret double life… Nothing is hidden on the Internet. It remembers everything, and can be brutally unforgiving as a result. If you really want to improve your quality of life everywhere?

Start by listening to yourself in here.

Strange Days

About once a week I think, perhaps a bit less, someone who I know is fairly prolific on Social media will vanish. If they’re a sensible type, there’ll often be a précis to this along the lines of ‘I need to take a break.’ It is becoming the norm, rather than an exception, and denotes that an individual has, quite sensibly, grasped how much of a controlling influence this medium can become. There’s a reason you take rest days in exercise, can’t eat the same junk food for months on end without at least injecting some healthy food groups. Everything in excess is dangerous.

donttouch

However, this may not help solve that persistent unhappiness that’s experienced via Global group interaction. Social media is neither soft drug nor cranial stimulant. It is the equivalent of talking to someone for an hour whilst simultaneously doing something you either love, hate or really aren’t that fussed about. If you’re in a bad place, there’s a 50/50 chance it won’t improve your mood, and then you have another important decision to make. Should you rely constantly on virtual encouragement when, if the power went out, you really would be on your own?

Why do I see people constantly using it as a crutch when in reality a ball and chain is the more realistic metaphor?

different

There’s the key: appearance. What you see as one thing is completely different to someone else. That’s why we no longer just have glasses of water in the future, you’re either full or empty and let that be a lesson to you, young lady. Do NOT stand in public places and decry anybody else’s opinions as shonky, lest ye be judged as shonky yourself, for the future is being listened to only if your follower count is over 9000 and you’re a registered Opinion Haver. We are approaching the last days of independent thought: algorithms are already blocking your Tweets as noise to the people you really care about. They’re already leaving Social medias because grown men can get them the sack just by having a Reddit group.

Seriously, this is the future of the Internet?

wearescrewed

We dodged the bullet in Europe in the last week over copyright, but they’re already reloading the gun. People in the US are already seeing their net being throttled and metered: it is just the beginning. We will look back on these glory day in a decade’s time (assuming we’re all still here of course) and wish we’d stopped wanking amongst ourselves far sooner. This will be a place where you need to pay for an opinion, and then negotiate the various paywalls in order to have any chance of being heard. If you want emotional support from friends, you can bet it will come with a fee and conditions.

The Data Apocalypse is coming: don’t say you were not suitably forewarned.