We Need to Return to Healthier Social Networks

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Photo by Robin Worrall on Unsplash

Photo by Robin Worrall on Unsplash

Articolo in italiano a questo indirizzo

The Fediverse has reached 14 million users. A number certainly far from the billions of users of other "traditional" social networks, but undoubtedly a success. Observing the dynamics of various social networks, I've come to understand that we need a healthy return to more pure, more authentic social networks.

Those who experienced the early days of the social phenomenon will undoubtedly remember how, in the beginning, the spirit was of contact and sharing. Social media was the tool to keep in touch with distant or long-lost friends and relatives (Facebook), or to freely discuss common interests with strangers (Twitter, etc.). The goal was socialization, human contact through the digital medium. An extension of the phone, of the message. The atmosphere was generally positive and relaxed. Perhaps a bit clumsy - we weren't used to such widespread sharing of our opinions - but more genuine.

At a certain point, someone realized that social media could lead to significant advertising revenue. They began studying behaviors and realized that angry people are more likely to return to social networks and interact. Hate breeds hate. Hate breeds addiction. Hate on social media generates addiction to social media.

Algorithms were initially calibrated to push people to discover content related to their passions, generating a positive interest in the medium. Gradually, they began to study how to retain people on the platform. More and more often and everywhere, especially on mobile devices. Mobile apps are designed to collect as much information about us as possible. Thus, hate generates addiction, addiction generates ubiquitous use, ubiquitous use generates endless data collection for platform owners.

Our hate is monetized, also because angry people are more divided and weaker. Divide et impera, a method as old as the world itself.

Unfortunately, no social network is immune to hate because hate is part of everyday life. However, we can choose to have a purer social experience, where content is selected based on our interests and choices, not based on others' economic and political interests.

The Fediverse, although imperfect and perhaps initially more complex for those accustomed to the "guided" experience of traditional social networks, provides tools for something purer, more tangible. It is more linked to the human desire to interact with our peers than to hate and negativity and provides tools to defend against bothersome people.

Congratulations on the milestone, Fediverse!

Written and posted by: Stefano Marinelli

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