Friday, August 3, 2018

the crushing equalizing of modern social mediums

Mike Monteiro writing on dealing with his depression and social media:
Like a ton of people, I have to deal with it [...] One of the warning signs for me is when I can’t tell the difference between a big problem and a small problem. My brain stops prioritizing. Every problem comes at me at exactly the same size. This is depression taking away a major coping mechanism. And that’s exactly what was happening on Twitter. Every outrage was becoming the exact same size. Whether it was a US president declaring war on a foreign nation, or an actor not wearing the proper shade of a designated color to an awards ceremony. On Twitter those problems become exactly the same size. They receive the same amount of outrage. They’re presented identically. They’re just as big as one another. Twitter works like a giant depressed brain. It can’t tell right from wrong, and it can’t tell big from small. It needs help.
I was struck with the parallels to this criticism of Facebook:
The problem, says Lanier, is that there is nothing special about humans in this information system. Every data point is treated equally, irrespective of how humans experience it. “Jew haters” is just as much an ad category as “Moms who jog.” It’s all data. If Group A has a bigger presence on Facebook than Group B, so be it, even if Group A is trying to demean or organize violence against the Bs. Of course, the reality is that humans are all different, and cannot be reduced to data.
Or as it also says, "To Facebook, the world is not made up of individuals, but of connections between them."

Tremendous problems. I'm not sure what a way of addressing the problem of scale (this is a minor thing, this a large thing) or morality would look like without being censorship. If there's any piece of UX that could help this.

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