Nothing is current anymore. The big social media platforms have all but killed free speech and art, instead turning meta-communication into one big money-making grift. No-one benefits, except for those multi-billionaires in charge. As a user and a once viable voice, I, and you have been made obsolete. You may disagree. That’s ok, you get to do that, but I doubt it will have escaped your notice how unpopular you may have become in recent years, with your follower numbers and likes on posts dwindling to near obscurity across all platforms. You might have even taken it quite personally, believing that it is you, in fact, whose talent has diminished. I’ve been victim of that too, except that it’s simply not true. It’s just what happens when we unwittingly enter into an abusive relationship with a sociopath – we learn to believe that we are always in the wrong through negative reinforcement. In this case, the sociopath is big business. And I mean all big business, not just social media.
I was talking about exactly this when I was actively blogging and trying to sell my wares between 2012-15. I noticed the shift in the model then, except no-one believed me. Not that it mattered. However, the vanity model is an actual thing that all social media platforms and app developers now subscribe to, i.e. pay us a monthly subscription to use a service that will ensure your work never reaches the light of day owing to our ‘fair’ lottery system that stops anyone coveting the limelight and wishing to get a foot up, while we get rich off of your efforts for essentially boosting your ego but doing absolutely nothing in return. Sites like Etsy, for example, are quite transparent about their practices and will tell you that they are not an active promotional site anymore, and that if you wish to make genuine sales you should not rely on their services alone. Amazon does the same but is less honest about it. We, as the users have become the product. We are what all of these sites are peddling. And like idiots, we take the bait while bashing our heads against this very large and hard digital facade wondering all the while why our numbers keep diminishing and why our work never gets seen. Our exposure is being kept to a very purposeful minimum. The more we crave exposure, the more money we are encouraged to have to pay in order to have that, except to no real avail. Classic carrot and stick tactics. Scratch social media, it’s actually the business model that has been in play since forever. Like I said, in reality though, it’s just a grift. How else do you sell a product no-one needs? You lie, of course.
Social media these days is a mug’s game, and we should probably all quit in mass protest. This kind of social manipulation is exactly why revolutions happen. Oppression is driven by dictatorships which take many forms, although the model is always the same, i.e. we abuse the hell out of you. You suffer until you break and tell us to stop. It’s just business.
I stopped writing some years back and took up painting instead. I’d always said I would take up painting full-time. A few people do at least appreciate a good painting. Less can be said about a well written article or book these days. People don’t really read anymore, except those of us who love language. There are a few of us still left, now that the faddists have turned their attentions to Instatok and the like. Reminds me of a cat chasing a torch light – that’s right, youngsters, before laser-pointers there were good old fashioned torches to torment your cat with, and before that folk probably just kicked their cats. Everyone has the attention span of a goldfish these days. Maybe this is the natural mammalian default. As someone with ADHD I can tell you that having a short attention span can be both lethal and liberating.
Though, as a social model short attention spans mean that products will have a very short shelf-life. High consumerism versus sustainability. Not good for people, other creatures or the planet on face value. Perhaps in the wider context, that matters little. I doubt our planet will care all too much if we make ourselves extinct.
What to do about it all?
It’s likely already too late. Hug a tree. Farm Diatoms. Do something useful. Pray.