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  • Whither Social Media?

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on April 11th, 2018 (All posts by )

    Damned if I know, as my educated guess as a long-time milblogger is probably about as good as yours. I never had a Myspace account – too busy with the original milblog, I guess, to be aware of or want to participate in any of the original or prototype Facebook iterations. Never got into Twitter, although I do have a barely-used, and all but neglected account, which I am camping on, since there is another author Celia Hayes out there, who likely would scoop it up, as soon as I vacated that account. (Yes, I am, spiteful that way. That other Celia apparently never did a google-search, upon deciding to publish her contemporary rom-coms. There is such a thing as due diligence…)

    See – I am a long-form blogger. There are those of us whose skill is witty epigrams, or slashingly vicious put-downs on a daily basis. Mine is not; I prefer to open up a document, meander at my own pace, and then hit “publish.” Tedious, I know, for those readers with the attention-span of a gnat, but my most intense literary influences where those of the Victorians, who wrote complicated sentences, some of them lasting for at least a quarter of a page, if not for longer. My sense of humor (as well as my tastes in architecture) was set in stone by the influence of a book in the parental collection: Osbert Lancaster’s Here of All Places, who was at least as good as a cartoonist as he was a wordsmith, if slightly ponderous and wonderfully dry.

    When I began seriously scribbling on more than a weblog around 2008, I began connecting with other independent writers; the largest congeries of us assembled at first through an Amazon discussion group, swapping experiences, opportunities, and advice on marketing our books. A good many in the group had been on the fringes of traditional publishing in various editorial or technical capacities. Their experiences and insights into the dark heart of what I took to calling the Literary-Industrial Complex were invaluable to the rest of us.

    In the light of recent events, one of those pieces of marketing advice has proven to be quite prescient: that is, utilize social media as you must – but don’t bet the farm on it. One should not put all of one’s hard-written content into a basket controlled by others; suck up the expense of your own website, mirror-post your content – because, if for some reason, the social media platform goes under, or takes against you, all your work can and will be lost. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter – all easy, popular, convenient … but when – when, and not if – the politicized and mostly left-of-center providers of the service decide to shadow-ban, demonetize or close your account, you will be stuck. I had a good three or four years’ worth of archive posts on Open Salon, which evaporated into the ether, when Open Salon had their plug pulled by management. Didn’t lose much, save for some of the connections, when that platform went down. I do have a Facebook account for myself as an author, and for several other of my enterprises – not that I post, connect to, or repost anything but the most neutral and anodyne materiel on them. I came into this internet game with a sense of probity already hard-learned, having as a military broadcaster to always consider what I said, wrote, and posted, from the public affairs point of view. Once what you have said on air – it’s out there. No reconsideration can draw it back or erase any line of it.

    The social media oligarchs who control such venues have decided – for whatever reasons – to get in touch with their militantly liberal side, consigning better than half the country to perdition and obscurity. I have no idea why, although I can guess at a few possible motivations. Are they so thickly insulated in their bubble of the like-minded that they are genuinely baffled at the existence of conservatives of any stripe? Are they frightened; scared out of their wits at that straw-other built up in their own minds, and hysterically lashing out at the perceived threat by calling it hate speech, or terming conservatives a threat to the community? Or are the social media lords and the media nobility vengefully blaming half the country for not obediently falling into line and voting for Hillary, and punishing the outspoken for our lack of faith in Her Inevitableness?

    And what action can we take in response? Can we switch to gab.ai from Twitter, MeWe from Facebook, post to Vimeo instead of YouTube, or explore other alternatives? Will a substantial shift to alternate social media platforms have any effect on oligarchs like Zuckerberg? Discuss.

     

    19 Responses to “Whither Social Media?”

    1. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      The social media oligarchs who control such venues have decided – for whatever reasons – to get in touch with their militantly liberal side, consigning better than half the country to perdition and obscurity. I have no idea why, although I can guess at a few possible motivations.

      Sarge, there is no need to wonder. It is sufficient unto the day to observe that they are hostile. They are the enemy. The reasons are of no importance, just that they are the enemy, not to be trusted, and TWANLOC. Everyone should arrange their affairs as you say, so as not to be in their power. And be on watch for a chance to do them as much ill as possible. Any intelligence gathered on them should be for those two ends.

      I think it is fair to say that we have run out of cheeks to turn.

      If someone says they want to kill, destroy, or enslave you and yours . . . . believe them.

    2. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I know, SB – there are alternatives to the big three: Twitter, FB, YouTube. I can’t say if any of them are an improvement, but being able to hurt the Big Three is a consummation devoutly to be wished for.
      I also like the thought of poking fun at Mark Zuckertwat, sitting on a tall cushion at the Senate hearings. Like kid sitting on a couple of phone books at the family Thanksgiving supper.
      Of course — they probably deliberately give those called to testify a low chair, just to put them at a disadvantage. But he really looks silly, sitting on that thick cushion.

    3. Kirk Says:

      I still don’t see the point of such things, to be quite honest. I’ve never had patience for gossip, and that’s about all the “social media” really have to offer–Modernized and weaponized gossip. Why make yourself miserable in virtuality, when it’s easy enough to do in person?

      I’ve yet to see anything even remotely worth the trouble with any of the various social media sites, which seem to be geared towards the excessively narcissistic and shallow. I mean, for the love of God, what sane person wants to tell the world what they’re eating at every meal, and show them what it looks like? I see that stuff on Instagram and so forth, and it’s all I can do to keep my eyebrows physically attached. The people that do that crap are clinically nuts, in my book.

    4. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Yeah — often wondered that myself, although I have posted pics of amazing plates/meals that I have had there and there. Because it was in part to do a bit about travel, and nice things that I encountered. But in general – why should we care, again?

    5. Kirk Says:

      I can see a once-in-awhile thing, like holiday meals or significant gastronomic experiences. But, your tray at McDonalds…?

      I am not lying to you… I watched a young lady at the local Wendy’s sit there and arrange her meal to her satisfaction, while it got cold, and then take multiple pictures of it while ignoring the guy she was with. I presume that counted in her head as some kind of date, but… Jeez.

      Older I get, the more dubious I am of the proposition that the mass of humanity is contributing to anything past mere consumption of resources. When you fill your days with trivialities and ephemera, what does that say of the value you place on your own life? Are you wasting your time, here on earth, when all you can say at the end of it all is that you came, you Instagrammed and FaceBooked, and you died?

      I would never characterize another human life as being trivial, but… Wow. Some of what I see around me in other people’s lives makes me really cranky and judgmental. I spent twenty-five years of my youth and strength, in defense of this crap? WTF was I thinking…?

    6. Bill Brandt Says:

      I do not understand why people give such detail about their lives to Facebook, et. al. The only reason I am on Facebook is for a Neptunus Lex group; if they go away I’m outta there. All Facebook knows about me is that I am male and went to UVa. As one wag in our group said. “If you aren’t paying for the product then you are the product”.

      Celia Hayes is such a rare name the first thought in my mind is that this doppelganger saw your name on the internet and thought it a good nom de plume.

    7. Brian Says:

      There are distributed social networks that could and do get around many of these concerns, but they have the same issues as linux has always had, in that you often have to have a certain threshold of competence to get started, as well as the network effect problem that unless and until enough people join, the value to the user just isn’t there.

      But the main issue is that no one cares about privacy, in real life or online, or at least not nearly enough people to matter. Those of us who care about what facebook actually is as a business don’t do facebook. Those who do facebook, don’t care about the fact that their information is scraped, sold, etc. This whole brouhaha is about the psychic break from reality that a huge fraction of the country, including all the major media, have had since November 8, 2016.

    8. Grurray Says:

      If you think Zuckerberg is bad, there’s Twitter Jack endorsing a war of annihilation on conservatives

      http://dailycaller.com/2018/04/07/twitter-jack-dorsey-second-civil-war-trump/

      Not to be (too) paranoid, but you know that movie out this week everyone’s raving about called ‘A Quiet Place’? I think those monsters are supposed to represent the social media police.

    9. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I saw that story, Gurray, and I can only shake my head at how insulated Twitter Jack is… how arrogant. He should be very careful about what he prays for, he just may get it. Seriously, writing off half the country or more for some dubious social justice warrior memes?

    10. OBloodyHell Says:

      Who Reads The Papers?

      :’P

    11. OBloodyHell Says:

      Whoops. That was a misclick… Sorry.

      On topic:
      Not sure of the alternatives. I will note, though that FB is a lot more of what you put into it, aside from the censorious management.

      I don’t post up food comments, and don’t have any friends who do it other than once in a while, usually some special meal or event or such.

      This is much more a matter of how you link, what you favor with “likes”, and what you share. Their algorithms are not shabby at finding stuff of interest to match you and your friends’ interests.

      The whole “fake news” crap is all an excuse to put more censorship into place… Liberals don’t like actual free speech, and will go to great lengths to prove that.

      Fake News Is a Moral Panic

    12. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I post some small garden and home improvement things, and now and again notice of market events that I am doing, usually that my daughter and I are doing together. FB is more than welcome to figure out what they can know of me from that. I very deliberately keep away from the political stuff. You know – liberals read books, too. In an mad moment, they might read mine, too.
      What gets up my nose is their rabidly liberal slant when it comes to political and social linkage. They should pay a heavy price for that kind of bias.
      And much as it pains me to descend to jibes about personal appearance, Mark Zuckerberg and David “Camera” Hogg are about equal in the running when it comes to ‘guys I want to punch repeatedly in the face, just on general principles’. To me, they both give off the same nasty vibe, like the underwear-flogging little twerp in the movie “Sixteen Candles”.

    13. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

      The South Park episode on Facebook was and still is the best critique around.

    14. Faith2014 Says:

      “Are they so thickly insulated in their bubble of the like-minded that they are genuinely baffled at the existence of conservatives of any stripe? Are they frightened; scared out of their wits at that straw-other built up in their own minds, and hysterically lashing out at the perceived threat by calling it hate speech, or terming conservatives a threat to the community? Or are the social media lords and the media nobility vengefully blaming half the country for not obediently falling into line and voting for Hillary, and punishing the outspoken for our lack of faith in Her Inevitableness?”
      ~~

      Or simply, they hate us, they really do. But we’ve always known that.

      And until social media blossomed, they had no idea that we hate them back. It’s not all encompassing, and typically not personal, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a shock to their nervous system nonetheless.

    15. David Foster Says:

      It has been claimed that getting ‘likes’ on social media triggers a tiny dopamine hit, hence reinforcing the desire to use the SM system even more.

      Reading one of Fielding’s books (not Tom Jones, IIRC, one of the others), he was describing a woman to whom it was very important to have the right people accept her invitations…she didn’t care about these people, particularly, just wanted the thrill of having them say ‘yes’ to an invitation. It struck me that this was simply early-1700s social media behavior!

      OTOH, the dopamine effect can also work in reverse. Much political ‘discussion’ on FB and Twitter is so unpleasant that it probably triggers negative feelings at the very thought of using those networks again.

    16. Brian Says:

      “It has been claimed that getting ‘likes’ on social media triggers a tiny dopamine hit, hence reinforcing the desire to use the SM system even more.”
      Hence the fact that these companies don’t care that bots dominate activity on their platforms. People want likes, bots are programmed to give likes, hence bots are an integral part of their business.

      “Much political ‘discussion’ on FB and Twitter is so unpleasant that it probably triggers negative feelings at the very thought of using those networks again.”
      I don’t think it’s symmetric, though. I think the negative feeling from each bad experience is less than the positive feeling from a good experience, and lasts less time. Kind of like the way that despite the pains of a first childbirth, women ever do it again…

      Also, the truly trollish political conversations on these platforms are out of sight of most users. They get occasional focus from the media, but the average person just uses facebook to share stuff with their families, and the average person doesn’t have anything to do with twitter.

    17. Ginny Says:

      The fact that some people can say to me that they are distressed that in the last couple of years political discussion has become so divisive shows how little empathy they must have had for those who liked Bush and watched what was said about him and noticed the lack of respect and even civility for people who were obviously thoughtful, decent, and good- McCain, Romney, Ryan, and, well pretty much most of the Republican field in 2016. We’d seen what was done to Palin. Of course, Trump doesn’t fit many of our definitions of a “gentleman” but he still remains more civil in important ways than was Obama and Clinton. He sees the country as unified in a way they didn’t and don’t – that is in itself civil. Of course, it isn’t and perhaps his is the delusion now but I do know which perspective works and which is destructive.

    18. PenGun Says:

      “It has been claimed that getting ‘likes’ on social media triggers a tiny dopamine hit, hence reinforcing the desire to use the SM system even more.”

      And yet there are some who live to be banned. USNI News just banned me for unwanted content. The fact that 71 missiles were shot down is not popular on military sites.

      My dopamine hit. ;)

    19. Jonathan Says:

      Good points, Ginny.