Social Control and Social Media

First: my annual hosting bills are coming due, so thanks to all you who support me on my recently-resurrected Patreon.

Over the past decade, I’ve come to terms with how unlikely it is that my creative endeavors will ever pay me a living wage, but they can at least pay for the cost of making them available to the public. Not a complaint: I’m just a realist. A realist who’s still working through his bitterness. But I really do appreciate your financial support.

But these days, social media is the place for creators to find an audience and share their work. Naturally, as I’ve started making Things and posting them on the internet again, I’ve been considering social media platforms. And I’ve claimed my digital real estate on a few platforms, but…well, as Penny Arcade put it:

Tycho from Penny Arcade states: "Elon Musk buying Twitter is like Dracula buying Hell. How would I even know the difference?

I’ve been thinking about dystopian novels lately, for obvious reasons. And in Brave New World and 1984, the authorities leverage their power to control the beliefs of the populace. Indoctrination through hypnopaedia, newspeak, thoughtcrime: control the mind, control the masses. Right?

Except social media corporations don’t care about your mind. They make money from advertisers, who pay for clicks and eyeballs on their ads. Social media wants you staring, scrolling, and clicking. And they’ll do whatever keeps you mired and wallowing, crafting algorithms to keep you hooked on their garbage torrent. Thoughts and feelings are just one vehicle for audience retention, almost an afterthought, useful only so far as they reinforce revenue-driving behaviors. Who cares about mind control when you have social control?

A few years ago I deleted my personal Twitter account. When I got back on Twitter under a new Things from a Person account, I almost immediately began to feel that slimy and gross despair. Despite my initial enthusiasm for social media in college, despite my embracing the optimism of MC Lars’ anthem to the personal web “iGeneration“, I now believe that it has cheapened our society. It has made the world worse.

So even though I parked Things from a Person on a few platforms, I’m divided on whether I can in good conscience encourage you to use these platforms, much less post Things on them myself. Please don’t follow me on the following sites:

To use these services is to be used by them. They will absolutely degrade the quality of your life if it drives profits. Sign in at your own risk.

If there are any other social media sites on which you’d like me to encourage you to delete your account, please let me know! I’ll be posting more stuff here on Things from a Person, where we don’t try to control your behavior with advertising. Thank you for reading.

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