Facebook has had a good, long life. It started out as a humble networking site on the campus where Mark Zuckerberg studied at Harvard, growing into the largest social media platform today. Humble beginnings perhaps, but where are we now?
Mark Zuckerberg is worth $55 billion, owns snapchat, whatsapp, instagram and various other platforms and technologies. His only remaining competition in the social media realm is Twitter, and it’s not clear how long that will remain the case.
Zuckerberg, having crowded out and monopolised on social networks, is now manipulating and controlling the information we see and the words we can use. According to Jason Lanier, a tech guru from Silicon Valley, social media platforms, by and large, harbour negative biases towards news and content. This means that the worst people and stories rise to the top more quickly than positive content. Not only this, but Facebook, more than ever, has the ability to shut down speech. Reporting content without context is rife and often vindictive. Radicalism, too, hides in shelters behind private groups where users gather to manifest their political malcontent and to be heard by those who will agree with them. Leaving them unchecked often encourages extremism over time.
On an individual and psychological level, Facebook is addictive. It gives you a quick neuro-chemical boost every time you get a like, share, or comment, and reinforces your compulsion to check, to revisit, to waste more of your time than you could ever want to waste. I want to live a life filled with books, music, people, creative design and purpose, none of which the platform can give me, all of which it can take.
Follow MI for an update in a month as to what has changed. Was it worth it to leave? How did my life improve? Can you benefit from taking a leap into the unknown which was once known to us all? Are we the same without social media? If we’re different, how and by how much?
Zuckerberg, I’m going to find out just what you’ve done to us, and how badly we need to reshape our environment outside of your image.