People wonder why I am not on social media and using all the platforms in my life. I simply reply, the internet was a blast from 1992/3 to about 1999, after that, the mass of everyone came in and a few big companies started to suck up all the data and inside the USA, the monopolies of communication regulations didn’t allow for the best ideas and products to come out. I watched other nations leapfrog the USA with fast and inexpensive tools for the masses.
then I usually added, “based on the research of depth beyond a “like” and someone taking any time to read anything – truth is few to none really care about their own thoughts or taking the time to learn more about someone else. years ago with video conferencing, I thought I had a door opened to the entire planet of interesting folks. today, you have the planet full of folks that for whatever reason, are more isolated with only similar thinking minds and pretty mad and angry if you have a different idea, opinion, or construct to thinking.”
I used Instagram to chart the vanity levels of the world. there is it, my secret is out. a few years ago I read an article about the total number of photos taken in a year surpassing the total amount of photographic images taken in the previous history of the photograph. there was a blub about the number of selfies take out of that yearly total and I thought, “this cannot be possible. to have that many pictures from people taking pictures of themselves?”
then I did some basic research and found out, “they weren’t’ kidding.” then another idea hit me, like a random number test, I started to mathematically click and dig down into people’s photos, and came up with a startling statistic of probability that in a few iterations, one sight would lead me to another, then another and voila…usually, there was an account only of selfies or the exact same type of item/theme. I thought this odd and kept testing over time to find it was some sort of unwritten rule or law.
this is when I started to get my own account and post images while connected to no one or nothing and understand how the machine that is Instagram uses input data for their own monetization and/or uses. I had to admit, it was pretty interesting how the algorithms were working and steering the data/people, and how much bullshit (sorry, can’t think of a better word) there was with fake accounts, people and businesses just attaching themselves with no care in the world for the person/account, and the overall lack of depth behind a “like” of something -of which – when I did the research on the amount of time people spent not reading or getting past any actual data or information on the modern day social media.
I was/am a bit shocked at how seemingly shallow the internet was becoming. people appeared to be lost in a sea of data – connected to? I really didn’t know what. I still remain friends with the ten people in what must have been the early 90’s with video conference technologies with Cornell University and I think it was CuSeeme? it was a time where everyone was wondering, “what can we use these technologies for to help make the world and education better for all?”
if you would have told me I would stop going to coffee shops because when you walk in one, you see all the heads leaned over a mobile device checking out a Facebook page…I would not have believed you.
when I apply the potential of advanced artificial intelligence and what computers will be capable of in the next 10-15 years…I simply get sad with what life will be for many, particularly as the urban environment gets more congested in the planet.
but what does this have to do with Instagram? we threw some money into one of the largest internet reflector sites in the 90’s. it was a place for people come in and chat about anything. we never hosted or did porn for some ethical reason, but our manager did and retired in I think about 18 months. we were under the idea we could impact the world with education, science, and technology for humans to interact. what happened is I got a ringside seat to the pioneer, early adaptor, mass market bell curve statistics and how the market changed and shifted over time. this process was invaluable as you saw it happen with audio/visual and people over time – not just some quantification of data.
did we have perverts? my god yes. one day I will contact our old manager for all the dick pics we captured from having to come up with a program to kill off perverts who felt it was perfectly fine to just walk into a room with a camera pointed at their penis. somewhere I have the lyrics to a song that would make a great music video. then there were the flame wars, the tech arguments, the mean people, nice people…pretty much everything in between and oddly, people were smart enough or open enough where it all worked.
then something happened. people found it easier to go find something just like themselves, and anything different – was omitted. Ethan Zuckerman did some interesting research with people and the use of the internet if you are interested. what he found was that instead of the world becoming more democratic, of which, that was the goal of the early internet – “to get knowledge and access to everyone, which in theory would make for a more democratic planet” was actually becoming more polarized and/or unaccepting of that which was not the norm and/or different in someone’s life. the dream project we have with Augmanity can address and watch this process, on a global scale.
I digress. and I found myself just not having time for stupidity on the internet anymore. I see the impact it is having on society and think, “well? as long as I keep learning something new, I am ok sifting through a lot of dirt to get a few nuggets of wisdom.” and today, I think the internet is great at teaching you how to just about any normal think with building, constructing, baking, cooking, decorating, dressing…etc. just type a question into google. voila, a plethora of data comes back
but for human interaction. I can’t say I see the trend is good. all it does is allow us to be disposable, have more of an instant gratification life, and/or hide and cover up the things normal life would have us look at inside ourselves because with the speed of technology and the coming augmented and virtual worlds – you won’t need to actually look inside yourself and ask, “who am I?” or “what am I?” I never was big with these questions until later in life, as youth has you more interested in experiencing the planet, not getting comfortable inside yourself.
but today – I don’t have time for the nonsense of the internet with people and human behavior. you can’t make a comment, no matter how constructive without offending someone, and I am not a stand-up comedian getting paid, so I think I am heading further and further away from the internet of social media. there simply isn’t the depth there to have a discussion or conversation about anything in the past, which is in one sense very sad.
maybe it is sadder that I find people appear to be heading down a street of likes, page clicks, and the selfie number has increased, just as the thin skin and rude behavior of people. I only can talk about the USA and Europe, but I see a trickling down into everyday society with these behaviors and people either living in fear or allowing fear to control their worries and life.
maybe I am naïve? I figure life with peace and living it was more valuable than just surviving it and being scared of everything?
but that is a bit on the Instagram things – of which, it amazes me how various professions and/or people post the content they do. I think soon my days with Instagram will be over as I see more and more selfie pages in less time. I am not really sure why this trend is happening. I would rather people share, “this is what I am seeing today” versus, “here is a selfie stick and another image of me blocking the beautiful image I am not looking at that you can’t see behind me.”
how do you ask someone and not offend them, “can you take yourself out of the image and let us see the amazing things behind you instead of the same pose you have posted for the past 100 days straight?”
maybe I am old and/or maybe I am realizing the human condition is a bit of like the cold war MAD…mutually assured destruction, just that humanity is doing it to itself and not realizing our ego/pride/vanity are the weapons that are slowing killing our societies beyond the “selfie”
but that is about 18 minutes this morning. post brainstorm mind dribble, of which this is one perspective in 7 billion, yet, I think there are more than a few more that are asking, “what is going on with our society? it used to be people would dress nice and you could usually tell who had narcissistic tendencies once they opened their mouths. today, you see some pages filled with images of the person and you don’t even have to wait for them to open their mouths.
it a selfie the new make-up accessory for people on social media? or have many people simply got sucked into some behavior via a Pavlovian response to the “like” button.
I am sure Facebook and other social media groups have already conducted the fMRI research into the neurology of page clicks. they just won’t probably admit it, or want folks to realize what they were doing in the world where monetization of stockholder value ultimately supersedes the idea of a good user experience sans the economic bias.
truly interesting times. I guess my cautionary tale with all I see is that while it is all nice, it is very easy to loose yourself and your heart and soul with it. not that you choose to, but you can waste so much time.
I tell my spiritual/tech friends that we don’t need all the interesting gizmos and rooms we are designing for people to come to a higher level of themselves. “all they need to do is go out into nature and wait…”
“but we are too busy to do that.”
funny. we are too busy to find ourselves and become better people because it takes too long. the irony.