THE DECLINE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS
In this article, we would like to quote some salient parts of The Atlantic journalist Ian Bogost's article, which fully describe the spirit of our project.
According to Ian Bogost, in his emblematic article entitled “The Age of Social Media Is Ending It never should have begun”,
Social networks in the last twenty years have taken over.
But instead of facilitating the modest use of existing connections—largely for offline life (to organize a birthday party, say) —social software turned those connections into a latent broadcast channel. All at once, billions of people saw themselves as celebrities, pundits, and tastemakers. (…)
Actually, as the original name suggested, social networking involved connecting, not publishing
LinkedIn promised to make job searching and business networking possible by traversing the connections of your connections. Friendster did so for personal relationships, Facebook for college mates, and so on. The whole idea of social networks was networking: building or deepening relationships, mostly with people you knew.
That changed when social networking became social media. Instead of connection—forging latent ties to people and organizations we would mostly ignore—social media offered platforms through which people could publish content as widely as possible, well beyond their networks of immediate contacts. (…)
The terms social network and social media are used interchangeably now, but they shouldn’t be. A social network is an idle, inactive system—a Rolodex of contacts, a notebook of sales targets, a yearbook of possible soul mates. But social media is active—hyperactive, really—spewing material across those networks instead of leaving them alone until needed. (…)
The toxicity of social media makes it easy to forget how truly magical this innovation felt when it was new. From 2004 to 2009, you could join Facebook and everyone you’d ever known—including people you’d definitely lost track of—was right there, ready to connect or reconnect. The posts and photos I saw characterized my friends’ changing lives, not the conspiracy theories that their unhinged friends had shared with them (…)
Social networks, once latent routes for possible contact, became superhighways of constant content (…)
connection is no longer the central element.
And the values associated with scale—reaching a lot of people easily and cheaply, and reaping the benefits—became appealing to everyone: a journalist earning reputational capital on Twitter; a 20-something seeking sponsorship on Instagram; a dissident spreading word of their cause on YouTube; an insurrectionist sowing rebellion on Facebook; an autopornographer selling sex, or its image, on OnlyFans; a self-styled guru hawking advice on LinkedIn. Social media showed that everyone has the potential to reach a massive audience at low cost and high gain—and that potential gave many people the impression that they deserve such an audience.
The flip side of that coin also shines. On social media, everyone believes that anyone to whom they have access owes them an audience
people just aren’t meant to talk to one another this much. They shouldn’t have that much to say, they shouldn’t expect to receive such a large audience for that expression, and they shouldn’t suppose a right to comment or rejoinder for every thought or notion either.
From being asked to review every product you buy to believing that every tweet or Instagram image warrants likes or comments or follows, social media produced a positively unhinged, sociopathic rendition of human sociality. (…)
Something may yet survive the fire that would burn it down: social networks, the services’ overlooked, molten core. It was never a terrible idea, at least, to use computers to connect to one another on occasion, for justified reasons, and in moderation (although the risk of instrumentalizing one another was present from the outset). The problem came from doing so all the time, as a lifestyle, an aspiration, an obsession. (…)
We cannot make social media good, because it is fundamentally bad, deep in its very structure. All we can do is hope that it withers away, and play our small part in helping abandon it.
Read the full article HERE