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Thursday January 07, 2021 |Notes

Social is trending private

The events that unfolded yesterday at the Capitol building were the result of years of turmoil, provocation, and a change in culture. Technlogy has evolved quickly over the last two decads, and humans have not yet caught up to the speed of change. It wasn't long ago that social media was thought simply a time waster, rather than something worthy of serious consequences. I still recall the first time I was "poked" on Facebook back in my junior back in 2003.

Social media has grown immensely in large part due to the fabled "network effects" that so many tech leaders crave. Of course, it's much easier for network effects to take hold when nearly everyone is potential user and social media companies have been quick to point out the benefits of everyone being connected.

Those 'connections' only go so far and when a network loses any sort of specialness, much of the value is gone. The major social media platforms are now at this point. It brings to mind a great saying from one of my favorite philosophers, Yogi Berra (despite the uniform he wore), 'It's so crowded, nobody goes there anymore.' Today's social media platforms are more obligations than enjoyable experiences, at least compared to the original promise.

Social media has attempted to bring everyone together by constantly beating the drum of the benefits of connectedness. Meanwhile, it's quite apparent platforms rely upon controversy and bad news. It's no different than newspapers or any other form of media, albeit on a different scale and it generally shouldn't be surprising. It also shouldn't be surprising that the evolution will be to move apart, rather than try to do away with the controversy.

Twitter, Facebook, and countless other platforms have reaped the rewards, and often sown the seeds that lead to the storming of the American Capitol building yesterday. The actions to ban/suspend the Orange Man are far too little and quite clearly are self serving as a way to show force with just 2 weeks left of this term. Social media is a problem in the current leading iterations lead by Facebook and Twitter. This is not the same as saying all social media is bad. There is a future for social and it is smaller, more focused, and premium.

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