Everyone is chasing trending topics, and it's making the Internet boring

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Everyone is chasing trending topics, and it's making the Internet boring

Post by circuitbored » Mon Mar 25, 2024 5:33 pm

We wake up every morning wishing something will inspire us or recognize anything good in what we've done, yet it often never seems to come, day after day. We see glorious headlines about companies doing amazing new things -- like removing headphone jacks from mobile phones, creating info harvesting social apps and Ai tools, and increasing dividends to shareholders by cutting costs on airplane production, yet it's highly troublesome to see the end results of that kind of corporate innovation for us as individuals that know better.

The real truth perhaps is that a lot of companies these days have stopped innovating real products and services, and now many are led by individuals that acquire the innovation of others into their companies, rather than innovating on their own merits... Many dominantly trending companies are former shells of what they are founded upon, and instead, they're now dedicated to innovating profit schemes far more often than amazing new products and services.

We've been adrift in a daily sea of online marketing now that puts a monthly service fee on our ability to make a living as innovators and creators, while paying us at an all time low. Each new innovation that we hear about does very little to improve or reduce expense in our lives, most news is based around the premise (that for some reason out of control) our cost of living will rise, and that our individual opportunities for success are shrinking. We've come to a point in time where doom and gloom is somehow commonplace and normal, somehow most of us grin and bear that, and we're complacent in the hope that we can sustain working for a company at least, while pursuing our individual goals as a side hustle. These side hustles don't work though, because individualism is a dying art the more we work for large monopolistic companies.

We're praising frauds and cheats that frankly don't truly innovate now more than ever... By using the term "Frauds and Cheats" I'm referring to a class of people that are born into wealth and notoriety rather than earning it on their own merits... While that's often something they can't control, it's important to recognize when we're competing on an algorithmically and financially skewed playing field, which the Internet can often work to mask as a reality. Some would even say we're allowing Frauds and Cheats to gain even more massive amounts of wealth and social influence through how the current ecosystem works online behind the curtains... Massive companies run by extremely wealthy individuals easily buy ideas at a cut rate from less funded innovators forced to sell cheap when there's no opportunity for upward mobility... That's perhaps our biggest problem moving forward into a software-driven future. We're suffering this skewed field very often in terms of what and who we support, we're often being fed lies and stories about others that often didn't work hard to dominate a field of innovation, and also eating up fabricated stories of many who have bought and stolen innovation and credit of others in their rise to popularity. Somehow it's become a popular practice for people to metabolize the success and accomplishments of others into their own personal "get rich quick" dream on the Internet from the bottom (where people aren't yet influential), because it's become easier to do that when you have a platform of popularity, adding fuel to the fire of a bleak future controlled by monopolies.

If we grow stagnant on bolstering our opportunity for upward mobility and entrepreneurship (innovation-wise) and continue to enrich monopolies, we're heading for a major catastrophe. Crime world wise is getting more serious, public health is rising, war is erupting, suicide rates are climbing... These are all a symptom of decreased opportunity mounted on an unbalanced opportunity ecosystem, guaranteed to get worse as time passes without change. Technology can dramatically aid opportunity, equity, and innovation for everyone, those ideals are greatly impacted by how it's designed and used... When innovation becomes rooted in (tiered access) profit making schemes, and limited in tiers to drive up profit (rather than based on being game-changing solutions) technology creates a disadvantage to the majority of users. In many editorials prior, I've written about how opportunity, equity, and innovation are impacted by technology, but one of the most grave ways innovation is being disrupted negatively is in how many of the most profitable companies are leveraging it to drive their profits further...

As individuals, we're losing strength and ownership in the value of our original ideas and ability to create them because it's becoming harder for us to develop individual notoriety and proper credit for our ideas online. If you weren't born rich, and are mired in working for a living, also likely working within a company, your time to develop ideas, the ability to properly copyright those ideas, and the ability to fund and promote said ideas as your own are now very limited. A lot of the time, employers may even claim ownership of those ideas you generate, and they have a lot more money to argue the matter in court than you do, because more often than not they're making a lot more money than you do off of your labor for them, and perhaps you signed an NDA.

If you store your ideas in a commercially owned app like Google Docs, you also face the possibility of information leaks, which may expose your idea to companies with a lot more resources than you have that can quickly out-build you and be on the market before you make your first idea pitch. If you share your innovations on social media, you open it to others quickly taking it and claiming it as their own, and even if you have a patent or copyright on it, you can likely face many expensive years in court before the first edition hits store shelves. It's important to understand how it's not companies driving innovation, it's individuals within them and independent of them that are. Modern apps and social media are not great tools in support of your individual innovation and promotion of those ideas, they are often owned and run by companies with partnerships that easily have access to your ideas, and the things you document concerning them. Really, these days the only way you can better ensure your best ideas can be protected is possibly returning to using paper and pen, and perhaps locking those ideas in a vault... The best way to market your ideas is also possibly to launch them only fully complete and properly documented. All of the anti-competitive cues we're dealing with now in being independent innovators are foreshadowing an era where our ideas can only be developed to be sold to an influential company rather than directly to consumers.

Another aspect in which the playing field is skewed now, is found when we log on to social media. Social media is primarily based upon trending topics (what news items get the most related posts made about them daily). Almost every trending topic that rises to prominence these days is rarely about the genuine work of unsponsored innovative individuals and more and more about large corporate entities and celebrities that are doing "innovative" things. A lot of software tools deployed and marketed to help individuals primarily serve the purpose of promoting the company that made the tools, rarely crediting the people working within those companies driving innovation of the tools.

What's usually trending now on social media is mostly celebrity news headlines, social doom & gloom, and tons of corporate advertising -- this has a wild effect on everyone else, as they realize that the only way to remain relevant is to make posts involving those trending topics, which amplifies each topic so much that it's impossible to be online and avoid stories and things we don't want to see... This environment allows very little room for new (unpopular) individuals and topics to emerge or gain any sort of notoriety... This also fuels certain other individuals into cheating their way into becoming a trending story... This fuels a copycat culture and idea theft... Where credit for original ideas gets buried in a sea of commentary and parroted posts.

We all know just a few years ago when people were becoming infamous for opening food items in supermarkets, licking them, then returning them to shelves, as well as when employees at certain sandwich shops placed lunch meat on the floor, and even on toilet seats in pictures and videos on social media in hopes of going viral. Thank goodness that trend died down, and the people involved were likely to land in jail rather than public positions, but due to the success in going viral for nefarious behavior, it's inspired many of our current politicians, influencers, celebrities, and even large companies to do some of the very same things in different ways for attention now, particularly in interviews and stunts that have created damage in things ranging from politics to creating deep social division.

We all know the stories of government officials that have become popular for saying and doing incendiary, false, and even completely fabricating their resumes.. But, for example, now it's pretty common for rappers that make reckless public statements to sell albums, false news stories to promote movies and actors, and companies that regularly sell harmful goods based on lies that they're never properly held accountable for. Seeing trumped up news stories that are obviously shilling consumer products on the front pages of so-called "trustworthy" news sites that already have more pop-up ads (than GeoCities pages and Porn sites used to have embedded in them) is somehow normal now.

An increasing amount of tech news contributors are often secretly sponsored by the very companies they review, and can't ever reasonably give objective and honest product reviews, but somehow they've catapulted into social media fame as trusted sources. It's also hard to track their claims and representations, as social media posts are complex to save, and can be deleted at any time by the author. We see news headlines for conspiracy theories and endless hot takes on every aspect of foreign and domestic news, including detailed breakdowns of how wars are going, in addition to points of doom & gloom worldwide daily, including battlefield footage, that would rival the most explicit movies one could experience, yet as a kid I recall not being able to see Cinemax because I wasn't old enough for the ratings guidelines. I can't imagine what the Internet is doing to children's minds.

The uncontrollable daily consumerist info festival makes me turn off most of the apps that rave about consumer products, politics & war, influencer culture, business and financial advice, well I usually can't stand more than short streams of most social media now to be completely honest, it has no controls based on what I personally care about, it's more often than not stuff I'm really not interested in, or things that are indecent, triggering, boring, or shocking.

We rarely hear about things about credible individuals (directly from the source) because it all goes through a controlled filter, and it's often buried in a sea of disinformation, subconsciously suggestive marketing, news about unsavory characters, talk show clips, video game ads, and many other attention baiting content. In many cases, the individuals driving news have far lower readership than those dedicated to parroting that news.

Credible INDIVIDUALS often make the best news story, Not corporations and commentators. News would be better in my opinion if we returned to focusing on a diverse cast of innovative individuals that become newsworthy. A lot of the time individuals that run corporations may seem to be the future because of all of the corporate money applied to keep them in the news, but that's technically deception when an individual's fame is driven by a PR team rather than their truly meaningful (personal) accomplishments. The world would would be better if we paid most attention to individuals without corporate sponsorship and large sums of money backing them, because it's far more impressive and inspiring to hear stories about individuals that accomplish things without being born into popularity and wealth.

In so many ways, our future is constantly in flux, we worry about Companies undermining our ability to succeed, when in fact, we're the very people that work for and within them. It's important to have the right perspective in what drives companies and individuals to do great things, and what makes them do destructive and corrupt things. We as individuals can innovate in whatever field we work in, whether it is Music, Film, Real Estate, STEM, and especially IT. I hope we carefully consider how technology can influence and even possibly attempt to re-write the definition of innovation before we lose track of what true innovation is, and who is truly innovating.

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