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SoLoMo and Social Media

Matt Haig (The Guardian:) I used to think social media was a force for good. Now the evidence says I was wrong (must read)

“Kurt Vonnegut said: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful who we pretend to be.” This seems especially true now we have reached a new stage of marketing where we are not just consumers, but also the thing consumed. If you have friends you only ever talk to on Facebook, your entire relationship with them is framed by commerce. When we willingly choose to become unpaid content providers, we commercialise ourselves. And we are encouraged to be obsessed with numbers (of followers, messages, comments, retweets, favourites), as if operating in a kind of friend economy, an emotional stock market where the stock is ourselves and where we are encouraged to weigh our worth against others.”

I used to think social media was a force for good. Now the evidence says I was wrong | Matt Haig
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Silicon Valley Utopianism the Dystopian Trump Presidency (

“In the wake of the election, some despairing technologists have wondered how to improve the products and systems that led to this result. “There are things we were optimizing for that had unintended consequences,” says Justin Kan, a venture capitalist at Y Combinator and co-founder of Twitch. In designing to maximize engagement, social networks inadvertently created hives of bias-confirmation and tribalism.

There are things we were optimizing for that had unintended consequences. Justin Kan, Y Combinator”

How Silicon Valley Utopianism Brought You the Dystopian Trump Presidency
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The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed …says the WEF

“What happened in the UK was not only a political disaster, but also a vivid example of what happens when you combine the uncontrollable power of the internet with a lingering visceral feeling that ordinary people have lost control of the politics that shape their lives. When people feel their democratic representatives do not serve them anymore, they turn to the internet. They look for others who feel the same and moans turn into movements.

In this regard, the Leave campaign’s main social media messages appealed to the agency of ordinary voters to reject the rule of the bureaucracy and “take control” of their own country. Using very simple language, largely consisting of only a few syllables, these messages spread very fast across the internet and were often reinforced with amusing memes, instead of rigorous expert opinions or statistics.”

The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed
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How technology disrupted the truth : must read via TheGuardian

“Twenty-five years after the first website went online, it is clear that we are living through a period of dizzying transition. For 500 years after Gutenberg, the dominant form of information was the printed page: knowledge was primarily delivered in a fixed format, one that encouraged readers to believe in stable and settled truths.

Now, we are caught in a series of confusing battles between opposing forces: between truth and falsehood, fact and rumour, kindness and cruelty; between the few and the many, the connected and the alienated; between the open platform of the web as its architects envisioned it and the gated enclosures of Facebook and other social networks; between an informed public and a misguided mob.

What is common to these struggles – and what makes their resolution an urgent matter – is that they all involve the diminishing status of truth. This does not mean that there are no truths. It simply means, as this year has made very clear, that we cannot agree on what those truths are, and when there is no consensus about the truth and no way to achieve it, chaos soon follows.”

How technology disrupted
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About Facebook anxiety

“there remain plenty of Facebook detractors. The Kernel shone a baleful light on “Facebook anxiety” comparing the experience of flicking through the curated feeds of friends to that of being an inmate of the infamous Panopticon:
Researchers linked a high number of Facebook friends with feeling burdened or stressed out by the site. our desire to lurk and unhealthily peer into the lives of those around us is built into the experience itself. … the site [is like] an 18th century “panopticon”—a type of prison that allowed inmates to be viewed by guards at all times. “We know what all the prisoners are showing us from their jail cells,””

Week 4 | import digest
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How Facebook Makes Us Dumber – confirmation bias is a huge issue on large social networks

“As Del Vicario and her coauthors put it, “users mostly tend to select and share content according to a specific narrative and to ignore the rest.” On Facebook, the result is the formation of a lot of “homogeneous, polarized clusters.” Within those clusters, new information moves quickly among friends (often in just a few hours).

The consequence is the “proliferation of biased narratives fomented by unsubstantiated rumors, mistrust, and paranoia.””

How Facebook Makes Us Dumber
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