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Sean Walker

Better social media

Current social media services suck. Too much noise, too much social pressure to conform, too much. If I’ve learned anything from indie hacking, it’s that scale is not always a good goal to have. By scale I mean infinite scale, global scale, galactic scale. It never turns out well, if you make something for everyone, you make something for no one. That’s precisely what social media is, a no-man’s land of pot shots, overt racism, against people from all walks of life, and extremists views from all sides. Not to mention bots left and right, up and down, normally rational people turned into raving lunatics for a few likes.

You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Look, I know it’s not all bad, there’s a lot of great stuff happening on these networks, but the loud minority seems to have their way and the algorithms seem to reward them. Measured, calm collected, logical discourse just doesn’t turn heads like videos of people getting killed or people yelling labels at each other. To me, everything looks like a nail, because I’m a hammer. I’m always trying to find the one true way to solve problems and I understand that free markets don’t work in all cases but in this case, it would work.

The first problem I see on social networks is that no one has paid a dime to join, so the inherent value of the service is $0. You’ll treat it like so. Ever pick up something for free at a junk yard or off the side of the road? Yeah you don’t value that thing like you value something you paid $5,000 for, or better yet something you made yourself that took weeks of time, energy and money. Social networks should not be free to join. There needs to be a dollar amount slapped on there to give it value so people will think twice before making bots or saying whatever hurtful nonsense comes to their heads first. Even if you charge $1 per year like whatsapp, there needs to be something to give it value.

The second problem is the almighty algorithm. The brainchild of bored software engineers, algorithms or less colloquially, machine learning, needs to stop. This never ending spiral of you watching one video on sharks and suddenly your “feed” is filled with shark videos? That’s not intelligence, it’s not even artificial, it’s just code and data. Watch a video about hate or about how flat the earth is or about how trump is going to save us all, or about how antifa is coming to destroy your town Suddenly you’re inundated with videos that start to turn your brain into mush. The earth may actually be flat, has the establishment been lying to me this whole time?!

What’s funny about slapping a price of admission on it is that this would cut down on the amount of accounts, which would cut down on the amount of bots, the amount of conspiracy, scum and villainy. More so than ditching the algorithm, although both of those would lead to a one two punch that would put an end to the whole situation.

My rant is done but the next time you open twitter, facebook, instagram, snapchat or tik tok just remember to think critically and don’t take everything you see at face value. Don’t join a tribe, make your own.