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Could There Have Been a World Where Social Media Behaved Responsibly? December 21, 2017

Posted by Peter Varhol in Uncategorized.
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That is an enormous question that I cannot possibly answer.  Perhaps I can at least appropriately frame the problem.  Through the likes of Facebook (especially), Twitter, Instagram, even LinkedIn, we have enabled hate speech, grossly inappropriate comments, and in general stupidity.

So here is the question that I would like to pose to Mark Zuckerberg.  What is the value to human society of being able to connect with thousands of people that you don’t know, hundreds of people that you met once or twice in high school and college, dozens of people that you worked with in dozens of jobs, and your three most recent significant others?  Very little, I will say, and the downside is significantly greater.

I’m sure that Zuckerberg can wax poetic on connectivity, community, and interaction, and how he is bringing together the planet, but it’s all at the abstract level.  I’m pretty sure that he can’t point to more than a handful of incidents, if that, where Facebook has resulted in a win for collaboration.  It simply doesn’t exist, in real life.

And, despite my detractors in this (yes, I am talking about you, <name redacted>), it is not clear that any of this has added to our experience.  It has changed our experience, certainly, but beyond that, I call bullshit.  Some of you say that we connect with people that we are friends or colleagues with, and there is some minor convenience there, although emphatically not on Facebook, but in general, I cannot believe that we are getting the value for what we are paying.

Paying not in money, but in aggravation.  Perhaps harassment.  And certainly in time, at getting rid of those that for whatever reason, we no longer want to bother with.

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