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The future of social media

2 minutes read

Kurzgesagt recently released a video, The Internet is Worse Than Ever – Now What?, and it made me reflect on social media as a whole.

I know for myself that I have blamed social media for the polarization and extremism we see in society today, but I thought it was because people were engaging with each other in echo chambers. But after watching the video, and checking their sources, I see that may not actually be the case.

There are conflicting studies for the argument of echo chambers and filter bubbles, but a common trait is that a lot of studies agree that the algorithms on social media aims to keep people online and engaged for the longest amount of time. They keep you engaged by showing engaging content. Angry and extreme opinions that keeps people engaged.

And because we sort people into "groups" based on worldviews and find disagreement threatening, social media continues to feed us shit. It keeps us engaged. It's an endless circle.

And I keep thinking back to before I deleted my social media accounts. I remember I stopped engaging with content, because it made me feel like shit and that someone else were either always better or had a higher apprecited opinion. When I decieded not to engage with stuff anymore, just to browse, I managed to escape the need to keep up with everything and I was able to put it away after I was done, to a degree. I still ended up deleting my accounts, because of privacy and taking back control of my time.

I believe we need to start looking at the Internet more like we did before social media. We should mirror real life. Keeping stuff in smaller silos. Smaller, separated online communities that allow people to curate their experiences instead of a single large town square.

The communties doesn't have to be place where people collectively post and engage, it can be as simple as a blog. You can create engagement by having people share their opinion via email, or a mailing list. Like Erik wrotes in his The future of social media:

The effort it takes to write an email usually ensures a certain level of commitment to the message.

To conclude, I hope that we can go back to smaller communities with more focused content and give up the need to be online 24/7. Let us log off more often and go outside :)

What do you think? Should we try to embrace smaller communties or find better solutions to existing social media?