It’s no news that Facebook has made massive blunders rooted from its very inception as a social media platform. It was constructed with a formula that intended to set up an arena for marketing optimization with only minimal efforts to ameliorate our social connectivity in the stone age of primarily digital relationships.
While in all seriousness the latest privacy infringement of over 50 million users in the Cambridge Analytical leak was an epic failure, it’s also clear that this is a long overdue wake up call to a failure on a much deeper level.
I was relatively late in the game when it came to getting my first cell phone and first social media site. I remember the days when I used to call my friend’s home phone and would converse with whoever happened to pick up in that instance, or even running over to a neighbor to visit at their home. This type of interaction is much more of an anomaly nowadays as we are physically separated by distance as well as across time zones in a world that relies on constant international networking and communication to sustain our global economy.
So what are the basic behavioral contrasts between modern communications and the communications of fifteen to twenty years ago?
To pinpoint the forefront issues that are the hot topics of the last decade or so in social media, I’d like to identify social insecurity and privacy which, hand in hand, are a catalyst for disaster.
Yesterday I began to think about when I first signed up to Facebook via that simple blue shaded screen. It drew me in with the promise of improving my daily social engagement and further adding to that by augmenting current connections and then to make new ones based on an existing network and preferences.
Have these promises been fulfilled?
Facebook made only a few simple ones on their home page. Here it is, screen-shotted April 01, 2018, with the same intro from all those years ago.
That bold statement “connect with friends and the world around you on Facebook,” is perfectly eloquent, but how do the connections and communications we have on Facebook compare to those primary pre-digital communications?
These days social media, rather than provide social support and connection, generates an intense social anxiety. It’s a rabbit hole for self-doubt and societal doubt because it lacks the fundamental dynamics that entertain the essence of interactions that we crave as a part of our human nature.
The key dynamics of fulfilling social interactions are comprised of a multi-sensory experience. Current social platforms are entirely one dimensional. No matter the numerous emojis and exclamations that are used (and used not too frequently I say, because it’s our attempt to add emotion into text that can’t compare to an expression that captures 1000 possible words), looking at a screen and entering and reading information is the furthest we can get from meaningful communication in the way that a physical interaction is rewarding.
Without these instinctual queues that we gather from physical interaction, digital communication provides enormous scales for doubt.
Only now are we beginning to develop technology that can solve these issues. Creating virtual avatars that mimic our movements and emotional reactions are the first step to regaining effective and meaningful communication in the digital realm.
Then, there is another primary failure, not just of Facebook, but one that can be identified across all top social media platforms.
Before social value, it’s no secret that social media platforms are really there for marketing value and money making, all disguised as a Utopian communication tool. “Share photos and updates, share your news and receive news from your social network and find more of what you are looking for,” does not appear as a platform foundation that is the root for social disasters, however, this is what it has become.
Alternatively to the Utopian view of social media, the way these social platforms are developed are incredibly limiting. They are non-flexible platforms that offer little to no customization options, and beyond group chats, little opportunity to exercise the potentials of a truly connected social community.
The core valuable of community building is the sense of a combined collective to inspire and co-create for the greater good. We have yet to crack the code for a platform that is the basis for all our needs and beyond that, a way to collaborate as exemplified in, for example, open sourced and crowd-funded projects.
These are interactions that empower our global community to engage in ways that are both positive and constructive.
There are so many issues with our modern economic model, in the companies that make up this economy and therefore in the creation of our social media sites.
While monetary economic value is without question of essential value today, in many ways we’ve forgotten the other and even more important aspect of our world dynamic, that is ourselves.
Economy should reflect the value of culture and collective progression rather than of monetary gain for the lesser percentage of society who runs its markets.
Currently, it seems that we are maintaining ‘an economy’ rather than maintaining our fundamental values.
On a positive note, we are building the technology necessary to solve all these issues, but we need to remember that a global village is at its zenith when the one is for the all and all is for the one. Let’s work towards this again, together.