What if social media networks were recalibrated to encourage healthier use and accentuate the positive?

Seth Godin summarizes how social networks have undermined communication and culture with cheap efforts to achieve “engagement:”

And so the social networks created a game, a game in which you ‘win’ by being notorious, outrageous or, as they coined the phrase, “authentic.” The whole world is watching, if you’re willing to put on a show.

That’s not how the world actually works. The successful people in your community or your industry (please substitute ‘happy’ for successful in that sentence) don’t act the way the influencers on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook do. That’s all invented, amplified stagecraft, it’s not the actual human condition.

His prescription is aimed at social media networks, but we would all benefit if traditional media could listen and apply it, too:

Amplify possibility. Dial down the spread of disinformation, trolling and division. Make it almost impossible to get famous at the expense of civilization. Embrace the fact that breaking news doesn’t have to be the rhythm of our days. Reward thoughtfulness and consistency and responsibility.

Indeed. What if social media were recalibrated to encourage healthier use of social media networks? The companies who produce these systems often say their algorithms act neutrally. This is plainly false. You can’t write an algorithm without making decisions about how it will work, first and foremost among them the decision of what the output should be.

Amplifying outrage might be a cheap way to keep people scrolling and clicking, but it’s not healthy—for the users or, in the long run, the social media networks.

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s