It can be very easy to lose sight of this on Social Media but it can also be easy to lose sight of this in the workplace or in our own careers as well. When we reward certain measurements people respond by doing more of that thing. This makes sense if your goal is to simply attract more attention to yourself. For social media maybe that is your goal. If you are representing a brand on social media, yeah that is probably what you want. However, as an individual, I think you have to ask yourself if getting more eyeballs this way causes you to actually undermine your own goals.
The article below points out that many of the platforms that exist today may find themselves in a similar situation and face a similar temptation. As shareholders start demanding more “growth” of a platform they are going to have a hard time providing that. There isn’t a large group of people clamoring to get Twitter or Facebook accounts that don’t currently have one. Eventually, they may be tempted to provide some kind of content exclusively on their platform. This pushes them into being publishing and media companies as opposed to tech companies. (We could argue that many of these platforms have started to dabble in being media companies but that haven’t quite taken the step that Spotify did and buy exclusive rights to podcasts.)
Here’s the thing. I’ve been around the internet, and the Web, a long time. Long enough to remember when HTML was going to “democratize” publishing and when blogging was going to “democratize journalism” and when social media was going to be the thing that finally “democratized” the Web and gave everyone a voice.
None of that proved to be true. Each and every iteration of Internet technology eventually wound up with a couple of big winners, and some sort of monopoly.
What is it about Web3 that makes people think this will end any differently?
Why it’s almost as if trolls will be trolls, creeps will be creeps, and people will continue to be everything they are on social media or yes, even in person. Because while those who seem to think that the virtual reality and presence of a real voice will somehow dim the hate and harassment that comes from a network where you can be anonymous, we can see plenty of real-life examples where being identifiable didn’t stop anyone from acting this way. I mean, half the folks who took part in Jan. 6 bragged about it on social media for days. Do you really think a little VR is going to make them suddenly self-conscious?
It’s a humanity issue, not a tech issue. No “new” tech that allows people to interact in real-time is going to be without it.
I’m making an example of the Times because they like to consider themselves America’s “Paper of Record”, and even they are now using fear and outrage to gain attention, no better than a Twitter or Facebook troll, but it’s happening everywhere. It’s also no surprise that it’s becoming popular among all media outlets because it works. If we’ve learned anything from fake news sites, biased cable channels, YouTube “experts” and social media influencers it’s that you will never lose an audience by making people afraid. You will get their attention, you will stimulate a fear-based response that causes their brain to kick into survival mode and become hyperalert to dangers, which you are happy to continue to feed them.
I know I’ve read elsewhere over the years that this was actually popular with teens, to have a “public” Instagram and then one just for friends. Even an old out-of-touch guy like me has had two Instagram accounts for years. One to just be me and have fun with, and one to focus on mental health stuff.
It seems to me like Instagram is just catching up with what we’ve been doing, and trying to juice up some numbers among the folks who hadn’t already considered doing this, right?