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.

The Blockchain

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!