social media criticism is clearly reaching a new stage. In the past months voices from deep inside the industry have made themselves heard, in particular in response to the fakenews/Russia media drama and the sneaky ‘behaviour science’ manipulations of social media users. None of these statements directly referred to the ‘classic’ critique of the past years, let’s say from the nettime circle, Unlike Us, to established voices such as Nicolas Carr, Andrew Keen and Shirley Turkle. It’s as if we always have to start all over again. Most academic research on social media seems to have virtually no impact on the current debate-at-large. Or am I wrong? Why do Silicon Valley geeks and investors have so much authority in this case? Insider-experts are not often seen as neutral observers. We all know this. These individuals kept their mouth shut for years and years, and are still deeply involved as investors, employees, consultants etc. Now that they worry the world should suddenly pay attention?
What should be the radical next steps? Finally the social media debate is heating up and becoming mainstream. What do we have on offer from the perspective of old-school community informatics (RIP Michael Gurstein), German (!) media theory, NL tactical media activism and or ISEA-type of digital arts? Was this a topic in Leipzig at 24C3? It seems pointless to say: “We told you so.” How can we scale up and democratize all the debates and proposals of the past 5-7 years of those that worked on alternative network architectures? Is the reasonable, noble and moral appeal a la Tim Berners-Lee the only one on offer? Going offline is one thing, (and in fact an option only elites can afford). Self-mastering a la Sloterdijk is a marginal reform effort from a hyper-individualistic perspective. I still believe in vital methods to mass delete Facebook accounts. This is in the end what Silicon Valley tries to prevent at all cost: resistance and exodus. How can such a momentum be unleashed?
Antisocial media: why I decided to cut back on Facebook and Instagram
John Battelle on Lost Context: How Did We End Up Here?
Doc Searl: The human solution to Facebook’s machine-produced problems also won’t work
Roger McHamee (early FB investor): How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us
Chris Taylor: Facebook just became the ultimate dystopia
Joshua Benton: If Facebook stops putting news in front of readers, will readers bother to go looking for it?
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