Comments on 2020-08-01 The problem of social media

Good reply by @acdw.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-08-01 16:28 UTC

(All these subjects receive protection by censorship and deplatforming. Modern blasphemy. Making them heavily contested warzone subjects. Because censorship has driven a wedge between common sense and the consensus. )

The previous generation knew talking politics or religion with friends was a good way to lose friends. Current one prioritizes hunting thought-crimes.

People who use their real names on the internet are being fleeced by megacorps who are burning society down to make a buck.

Most people’s beliefs are absurd: ghosts, psychics, horoscopes, healing crystals, a religion you don’t hold, etc. Don’t lose sleep over it.

– Anonymous 2020-08-01 17:35 UTC

You certainly have shitty opinions and we can’t be friends.

– Alex Schroeder 2020-08-01 20:15 UTC

Hi Alex,

I think this report which I “ran into” the other day will interest (and, sorry, depress) you if you haven’t seen it before. While not directly (but maybe causally??) related to your posts contents it is definitely fitting to the title:

I will quote the book “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crises” where I found the reference to the report:

Three centuries ago Jonathan Swift wrote, “Falsehood flies and truth comes limping after it.” How prophetic this turned out to be. A recent analysis by MIT shows that on Twitter lies spread on average six times faster than truth, and that truth never reaches the same level of penetration. Social media is an engine for the production and dissemination of lies.

From the report itself:

Whereas the truth rarely diffused to more than 1000 people, the top 1% of false-news cascades routinely diffused to between 1000 and 100,000 people.


– Björn Buckwalter 2020-08-04 10:59 UTC

Interesting to see people actually researching this. Thanks for these links!

– Alex Schroeder 2020-08-04 11:23 UTC

Interesting reply by @acdw. The following is based on an email I wrote in reply.

Context collapse is definitely a thing. And yet, content collapse seems to be a phenomenon centered around the kinds of identities I want to corpartimentalize – but that would seem to be independent of my disappointment in my fellow humans. Sure, perhaps I’m suffering from their context collapse. They can’t keep “serious Alex” separated from their Hicks-admiring friends or something like that, and so I’m seeing a side of them that I did not want to see (and that they did not care to show me).

But perhaps the main issue is that we all believe in things such as integrity and honesty and authenticity which are now shown to be either an illusion protected by context separation, or unattainable, because of all the mutually exclusive demands made on us, or unsuitable concepts to structure our social interactions. If I know that nobody is (nor can they be!) as honest and authentic (and I want to add: as integer! Hah!) as we expect them to be, I’m setting myself of for disappointment.

Is this still context collapse or is that already something else? It feels like a breakdown of some of our core values, of values that are part of our self-identity (in German we’d say “identitäts-stiftende Werte” – values that provide identity). Those who still believe in integrity and honesty and authenticity face an impossible task or find themself excluded from life online, and those who don’t believe in them – what do they believe in? I’m looking at the neofascists all around me and I get a sinking feeling about all of that.

– Alex

I think Social Media are pure anti-social poison. More and more long term studies now get published that demonstrate that the more you use them, the more depressed, suicidal or angry you get.

So we all should try to avoid it like drugs. They might taste good at first but the long term consequences are severe. Also consider the indirect interaction effects, e.g. four people sitting at a table and all updating their social media profiles instead of talking to each other.

I try to focus my online activities on the “old internet”: reading some niche hobby message boards for D&D or adult piano beginners and looking up stuff (images, wikipedia entries, annual reports). Everything else is just a waste of time at best and makes me feel angry or miserable at worst.

– Peter 2020-08-06 12:51 UTC

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