An Alternative to the Weaponized & Commoditized Social Web
Originally published on my Patreon in 2018
What happens when the internet becomes a magnifying glass of the worst parts of our society— rather than an amplifier of all that’s good about being human? How did we come to this crossroads in our technological journey as a society and what path will we, as a collective, choose to travel with this humanity shifting technology?
When did the internet become a weapon of the authoritarians and oligarchs keeping the sheep in line?
The exact catalyst is open for debate, but I noticed the shift when F*ckbook began monetizing people’s contributions to their platform by transforming their interactions into a vehicle to amplify the user’s need to consume goods and services.
The commons got crowded. Big brother tapped in and bots, nefarious actors and nation states weaponized our compulsive social media behaviors and need for dopamine. Those in power took platforms of connection and turned them into places of warfare and surveillance.
And the masses willingly let themselves be surveiled and manipulated for convenience and the lust to satisfy that ever-present dopamine dependency.
Image by me, taken at the border crossing in Ramallah
That’s when it all went to shit. And now we’re living with the ramifications of that weaponization. We’ve allowed a reality show douche bag and failing business man to harness the power of our narcissism to put himself in the ultimate power position to redistribute as much wealth as possible to his oligarchs and wipe out the beautiful parts of our country and our world in the process.
Thanks Zuckerberg, Brin, and Page. Appreciate that one. You don’t hold all the blame, we emboldened you and allowed ourselves to become your products, but you sure do hold a fair share of it!
I get it, I’m just as guilty as the next gal. I keep a perpetual homing device in my pocket, tracking my every move, so I can find directions when I’m lost and get lots of adorable baby photos from family and friends.
And yes, I could rant all day about the many nuances of the points above. But this is nothing new, right? What’s the use of talking about a problem if you don’t have a solution? I believe there may be one possible solution.
What the blockchain offers is an alternative. Alternative economies. Alternative communities. Alternative social networks. There’s no gatekeeper. No middle man. No centralization. No algorithm quantifying and judging my every click.
Bitcoin. That’s all most people think of when they hear cryptocurrencies. But this technology is so much more than Bitcoin, so much more than one alternative currency.
Once you get past the lambo douche canoes, the spam bots, and the whales pumping and dumping, you can find pockets of the population seeking another way of interacting on the web.
The blockchain provides a new framework that’s “trustless” and allows us to build everything from software applications, communication platforms, social networks and yes, alternative currencies. If we had the willpower as a country, we could even change our voting system to a blockchain framework that would be almost impossible to manipulate.
And the beauty of the blockchain is that this interaction is totally transparent. With a platform like @steemit , there’s absolutely no ownership of your content besides you-- the publisher. Your content is attached to the blockchain using your wallet address and it’s there forever.
There’s no algorithm overlords, no one scraping data to keep you in the consumer circus, no one surveilling your work and censoring your thoughts. That’s it. Once you push to the blockchain, there’s no turning back. No editing--no removal and no altering ownership.
Done and done. And people are connecting again through content. In a way that’s totally transparent and community supported. And they’re earning crypto for their efforts. The community is supporting itself through authentic and transparent interactions. Yes, please!!
Such a concept could bring down the behemoth platforms from Silicon Valley who fail to recognize the negative aspects of what they’ve built-- and fail to take any responsibility for their platforms and the horrendous impacts on the very fabrics of society as we know it.
And who knows, maybe right now IS the dystopian collapse so many authors have speculated upon for decades. Maybe it is our own narcissism and failure to take responsibility— for our words, algorithms and actions-- that brings it all crashing down.
Maybe. Highly probable. But here’s the thing.
Humanity will find a way. People will find a way to create, to connect and to thrive. For all its faults, the internet has provided a connection to community that reaches beyond geography and economics. People will use the beautiful elements of technology to create something better-- something powerful. Something free from censorship, oligarchs and narcissistic Silicon Valley billionaires.
Communities will always find a way. And the blockchain might just provide the necessary tools to build something from the ashes of the corporate backed internet.
To learn more about decentralization and possibly catch a glimpse of the impacts of this technology, read this article. A couple times.
As always…if you dig this conversation…let me know by jumping into the comments below! Let’s change the conversation!