I can't stand reading articles these days that don't get to the point, there are way too many of them now, and time is money...
Here is the bottom line, and after it I'll elaborate.
The point is that there are class, race, status, and money wars occurring in private across social media, and it's gutting any benefits that the Internet could once provide us without most of us even knowing. Slowly but surely consumers are beginning to realize that paywalls, scams, and limits on visibility and function, and more are ruining everything about our Internet existence, and complicating our lives. It's a huge contradiction to what we were initially presented at the welcome seminar when we were onboarded, and now it's high time we ask what social platforms really do for us other than collecting our money without returning value, making costly engagement mandatory, and manipulating post inequality/visibility for profit.
Working as a web and applications developer over many years I've learned a lot about how things are made, and how they work online through reverse-engineering and testing. I have also spent many years in marketing, public relations, and even in many other settings that all revolved around building a brand and then creating awareness about it to the public on this site and on a few others.
Prior to the advent of the Internet, marketing through television and radio ruled. We didn't have the crushing technicalities we do now just to promote an idea or product. The Internet, Invented by Tim Berners-Lee - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee, was meant to connect people together through one common protocol. Soon after initial public deployment of the world-wide-web, major companies began to lose their grip on public consciousness (that TV and Radio provided) to kids in their parent's basements that were better at coding. Companies struggled to keep up with vast amounts of Internet sites created by independent coders and authors that broke down paywalls for things like mobile communication, cable TV, and even print books... The Internet became one of the biggest game changers in history because it could host pretty much everything that involved the technology we had before it, it could teach us truly valuable things, and it could also generate a massive job economy that even paid it's scholars and leaders far more than Doctors and Lawyers (which prior to the Internet were the salary kings - no offense intended, but it's true).
Fast forward a bit to more recent times... Social Platforms quickly rose into undeniably huge hubs of business and personal presence. Companies had to scramble not only to make sure a kid didn't steal their account name on multiple platforms to post harmful memes, they also had to hire people to post a regular stream of content including giveaways and ads just to remain in public consciousness as millions of people shifted their entire lives into these walled communities of social activity.
Companies also had to dedicate a ton of new effort to managing public relations, and to tweaking their search engine optimization (SEO), and spending a lot of new time on things that they found distracted them from their core activities of product and service development. Marketing became the primary focus of so many companies that innovation and quality in products took a big hit. This also explains the rise of big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target... Major organizations and outlets began to emerge as leaders in social media because they had plenty of people to assign to social media marketing and to things related to their online presence. They also had the money to ensure their dominance and prominence on social media platforms. The individual posters operating from their parent's basement with equal post visibility often ended up putting entire companies on alert during this period... Companies and organizations began to realize that they simply had to pressure change on social media platforms so that this didn't continue to occur.
In the meantime, social media communities thrived, in terms of profit and market dominance, and slowly began to be essential to the lives of many people, even making some unknown people quite popular and wealthy. Individuals became highly dependent on many platforms as they set up friend groups and spent many days and hours posting on these platforms (apps and sites) frequently just to establish themselves... Then ads began to be introduced, and everyone noticed that a "bait and switch" was occurring with many social media platforms, where they start out free, but then turn into an addiction that is not easy to escape without losing a lot of your investment. Many people catalogued their lives into platforms so much that if they were to quit, they'd lose many valuable picture albums and other ideas and content they've posted... They'd also lose friend connections they've made over years, and even the ability to log into many other sites and applications they use for work and fun. The engineered dependency is diabolical, some would even say that the social media dependency model is derived from the mind of a drug dealer in order to get users hooked onto each platform with a devastating cost of withdrawal.
While most platforms in early days of social media were funded through ad revenue, once they became public entities, the drive to increase year-over-year profit to please shareholders drove them to innovate new ways of generating income. The original promises of social media platforms connecting people and creating equal visibility for everyone now simply had to go - Promoted posts quickly became the "in thing" to do on platforms. Promoted posts were ads designed to look just like regular posts, except for the fat that they appeared more often than non-promoted posts, they often had better placement in pages, and they endured far beyond the visibility of posts that weren't paid for... In order to increase profit further, many sites began reducing post engagement and visibility for users, even to the point where followers (subscribers) would not even see posts from accounts they subscribed to. This practice is becoming more apparent as even people with tens of thousands of followers often only get 1-10 likes on their posts.
Notwithstanding crippling social scandals, wealth inequality, and political turmoil that played out countless times on social platforms (of course); we were doing well for many years Internet-wise until the Pandemic came that shifted social media focus towards sensationalism and profit over content quality and equality. Suddenly platforms that lured in billions of users with a promise of "free and highly productive connections" decided to turn into grim battery draining and money hungry vampire platforms... Out to please shareholders year after year, many of these platforms realized that increasing user engagement and dependence on their platforms drove profit higher... Platforms began to limit the reach of user posts, even to the point where account subscribers couldn't even see posts from accounts they subscribed to in order to see posts (breaking the entire premise of having subscribers/followers). Platforms regularly hide account configurations for privacy, and make several normal procedures more complex in a bid to keep users logged-in more.
Platforms now regularly boost sensational content as trending content, and encourage users to comment on it, which gives fake news the perceptional value of being credible and/or important. Many published advice and tutorials on how to succeed on social platforms and networks are made purely for revenue, and the tedious advice all drives engagement and investment of time to keep users hooked on social media networks, why? Because it drives profit.
Social media can be a great thing, many great things were achieved through it, but that window of greatness is becoming corrupted and less valuable to our everyday lives. There may not be any alternatives to go to if this trend implodes.
Many platforms users and creatives regularly suffer from burnout, frustration, depression due to the lack of return for vast amounts of time spent on social media platforms. A real discussion needs to be had about the responsibility platforms have in living up to what they present from an ethical perspective. Many important points concerning that discussion were raised in a recent panel that Congress hosted with leaders from Google, Twitter, and Facebook recently, it was a gripping yet quite long event to watch.
Here is a summary of some of the highlights of the hearing in order to save you the stress I had in watching it -
SOURCE: https://www.npr.org/2021/03/25/98051038 ... gs-to-know
The rise of disinformation is a very valid and serious concern to many as well, which has also become a very hot and worrisome topic driven by our world-wide (engineered) social media dependence...
In contrast to all the steps being taken to maintain market dominance and profit by social media moguls and CEOs, companies developed several counter measures to circumvent algorithmic changes made on platforms. In establishing a new brand for instance, a company can simply venture to the "seedy underground" of the Internet, where lives, views, and even popular accounts can all be bought and sold if they have the right money. Companies and individuals frequently leverage click farms and targeted groups to flood out and boost prominence of negative reviews concerning them, to limit reach of competing posts, and even to suppress official press and other stories online in a process known as "brigading".
SOURCE: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-a ... ll-meaning
Now music and film projects and artists, politicians, and even "trust-worthy" Television news celebrities (with terribly worrisome personalities) can literally emerge from nowhere complete with a 1 million+ follower base, content, and even views, streams, and listens in place (respectively) straight into public fame. Bootleg companies, individuals, and personalities can elevate themselves further by paying for posts to a point where even the most harmful of ideal can become viral overnight. This presents a huge problem for our future as disinformation and lies find new and veiled ways of looking more trustworthy on social media platforms.
On many platforms as well, stolen and re-edited content is encouraged because it drives popularity and profits. It's unfortunate to raise this as an issue, because remixing things can often lead to interesting and funny results, but when negative interests are mixed with official business and even in government settings, trust worthy content can easily become toxic and weaponized.
It's important for trust-worthy news and business platforms and outlets to realize which platforms are best suited for their reputation, and to regularly let their audiences know where to go to find their official, unfettered, and trusted content. It is just as important for social platforms to clarify who is authentic and which accounts serve as parody, sensationalized, or unofficial content. It is also highly important to make sure that platform makes your life and business processes easier, less frustrating, and more simple. Increasingly social media platforms are not doing any of the aforementioned things for anyone but their shareholders (perhaps).
Federal Government and certain other trust-based entities should perhaps abandon social media platforms entirely, and move back to a focus on officially owned/held web sites and possibly create their own social media platforms, in order to not have the potential to be compromised, to reduce wild trends towards sensationalism, and to be able to better control their reputation, responsibility, stability, and security.
The social media "paid post boost" economy has created just as many problems as the "free post equality" model did... Paid post boosting drives our current rise in disinformation and madness, and needs to be addressed among the laundry list of issues I have detailed above. Awareness of the complexities and issues is the first step in combating problems, and a very essential step in addressing positive change in our world. I will elaborate further on solutions as time progresses, and I have outlined this issue over the years the site here at CircuitBored.Com has been running.
We need to reinstate platform equity for all users across social media, reduce the siege of profit and popularity schemes on platforms, and also allow for people to be wrong in order to host dialogue on how to fix our world. We need to be dedicated to trust-worthy performance indicators, real and dependable analytics, failproof votes (likes and followers etc.), and a focus on quality content that isn't stolen from original creators.
So returning to the original premise of this post - "In a world with over 7.6 billion people, why is it so hard for us to connect now on social media?", highlighting that issue PROVES that there is a deep underlying problem to our current social media driven lives...
We live in a world that operates both night and day for everyone. If you are up at 2am making a post on Twitter, many people are still awake, it may even be a different time zone for them, they should be able to see your post perhaps even if they don't follow you based on it's value. The people that do follow you, should ALWAYS see your post at the time it was made among everyone else's posts in their respective times, otherwise, the very premise of having followers should be eliminated as a contradiction. The constant disadvantageous changes in terms of service and manipulation of common original concepts highlight our underlying problems with a fast growing mistrust in social media and drive us even closer to abandoning them altogether. Executives should really take note. The collapse of MySpace, Parler, and many other platforms (since) serve as just a minor indication of what is to come if responsible management doesn't step up to the ethical management challenge.
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In a world with over 7.6 billion people, why is it so hard to connect with and build an audience now on social media?
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