Facebook is Other People




  • Near-universal internet access means that there are immiserated, lonely people spending many hours a day online. The breakdown in the social fabric, climbing "prime-age" unemployment and high rates of addiction and mental illness manifest themselves in our mutually-constructed online spaces. There is a misery that wants to make itself known--to inflict itself on the world--that social media enables. We are reaping what we've sown; the interconnectedness enabled by the internet and the gains from open communication/cooperation cannot succeed while so many are left behind.
  • At the door of every contented, happy man somebody should stand with a little hammer, constantly tapping, to remind him that unhappy people exist, that however happy he may be, sooner or later life will show him its claws, some calamity will befall him—illness, poverty, loss—and nobody will hear or see, just as he doesn’t hear or see others now.
  • In larger societies, mediated by formal institutions like the church, the state, academia, or broadcast media, people have to advance through one of those institutions, spending years learning and performing normative behavior, to be granted informational authority.
  • It has become acceptable — even celebrated — for elites of every stripe to gain status within their communities by “dunking on” stupid things done and said by the outgroup. We constantly re-affirm, to the recommendation algorithm and to the content aggregators gaming it for money, that this is why we’re on social media.
  • The democratization of online communication has demonstrated the hypocrisy of this view. There was always a moral imperative to be more caring and inclusive; it is now a political necessity. We all hate Facebook, and Facebook (the corporation) is, admittedly, terrible. But to a large extent, we hate Facebook because Facebook is other people.
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📖 Open document (Hedgedoc) at https://doc.anagora.org/facebook-is-other-people
📖 Open document (Etherpad) at https://stoa.anagora.org/p/facebook-is-other-people
📹 Video conferencing space (Jitsi Meet) at https://meet.jit.si/facebook-is-other-people