I was reading yet another article about how Facebook has been abusing user trust by dealing with their data among third-party companies (BBC). This is just one example of a couple of other recent “trip-ups” Facebook has had in the public:
- Sri Lanka accuses Facebook over hate speech after deadly riots
- Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal
- Discriminatory ad filtering by Facebook
I could keep posting links like this but the reason I am starting my post with this is because every time I see one of these, I think of myself “where did I find this news?” and “is anyone talking about this on Facebook?” The answers are pretty obvious at this point, news like this is never found on Facebook, oddly because a majority of my friends are pretty well-informed about tech news so someone would definitely post it. So whether it’s Facebook’s filters hiding it from me or nobody cares enough to talk about it, I’m not seeing it. I often find news like this on any other places where I consume news like Hacker News or Reddit.
Facebook is the perfect poster child for what now seems to be a bigger problem than just Facebook itself. The state of social media in 2018 is pretty glum because the companies have lost sight of their users in many different ways.
Let’s take some other companies for example, Snapchat and Instagram. Instagram (IG) has been killing it with new feature launches and if they had unlimited money, they would keep making an experience that’s better each week but that’s not the reality. The reality is that IG is Facebook’s answer to Snapchat (SC) which at one point was threatening Facebook’s dominance over social media and IG was a less sophisticated version of itself. After stories came to SC, they quickly came to IG and the engagement was through the roof on IG compared to SC. At this point, SC was losing users to IG pretty quickly. Today, that’s old news. Snapchat doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of social media as an advertising industry. All social media companies survive off of ads (even Reddit), they take user data and turn it into conversions for their advertising partners. This isn’t news to some but it’s something to be fully aware of when using social media. Snapchat couldn’t figure out a good way to turn that engagement data into conversions, well enough to keep engaged users and also well enough to sell ad space to advertisers.
Social media is not going away any time soon. Socializing in the form that companies promise in their press releases and product updates is not a real thing on social media of today. There needs to be a change to that approach. My approach to this is to use my blog my actively. Not everyone can do this and most people don’t want to do this. They already have a platform with many followers in places like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. So I’m not telling others to do this. I’m going to try this where my social media and socializing consists of blogging and email/instant messaging. If you’d like to talk directly with me, you can email me or message me on Signal.
It’s time to go back to socializing one on one, small groups, close knit communities, and having a dinner party with friends over to talk about something interesting. When you have the whole internet watching, commenting, liking, voting, and trolling, you have to have so many filters or so much content moderation, it doesn’t remain natural.