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Social media sites are Superdomes
A look at how contrived and siloed online interaction is, and at online life outside of these containment zones.
A lot of people didn’t notice it, but looking back both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were aware in their 2007 interview that they were part of a dying breed of software companies. Contrary to popular belief, the companies that took mindshare from them in the form of FAANG et al are not software companies, but rather data companies. It’s pretty obvious by asking any software engineer on the ground – just a little prying will have them gushing like mozzarella about how bad their software is these days. They realised years ago that they don’t need good software to control people; they only need their data. Before Gates retired and Jobs died, when they were still involved in their companies, they understood this very well. Nobody since makes software like their companies did.
Social media sites are like Superdomes during Hurricane Katrina. They’re these unintentional veritable cities where people live in abject squalor, chaos is the order of the day, and the people supposedly in charge are either on the ground re-enacting the Stanford Prison Experiment, or they’re long gone on the last flight out and are nowhere to be seen. It’s painfully obvious to everyone that this is no way to live. But what is there to be done?
A lot of people held hope in Elon Musk buying out Twitter, for one thing. Perhaps he would clean house, and restore the legitimacy of management, perhaps not. It certainly wouldn’t help the state of Facebook, Instagram, or a whole host of other social media sites suffering from the exact same problems. Furthermore, as we are slowly discovering by now, political solutions are costly and fragile, and are most likely to be stopped by accidents of inertia and nature, since politics is designed to be dull to cut such things.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether that pans out. It’s likely true that Twitter intentionally under-represents the prevalance of bots. It’s also plausible that APTs have legions of bots, perhaps running on LLMs using ML technology, for the express purpose of contriving discourse and controlling the appearance of consensus opinion on the site.
To whatever extent these things are true or not, the truth will be revealed with a good lever. That’s right, I’m talking about technology. I’m talking about software.
Recall the dearth of bona fide software companies, and remember that the crux of control for these places is user data, not software. As far as data goes, these places are Superdomes – they only imprison people so long as they believe they cannot walk out and escape. You should know your body is not physically tethered to these sites!
With powerful enough software, you can personally consume such obscene amounts of data that it will socially overwhelm these places. It’s a simple matter of scale with how ignorant and impoverished you are on the sites – the vast majority of stuff is hidden from you either by an algorithm of engagement or by concerted censorship mechanisms. You can cut past all of this by not using their clients, and the greatest part is, there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do to stop you. You can literally ascend to a higher plane of engagement where you see so much more of the truth of what’s going on, and comment about whatever you please at whatever altitude you please.
When you have so much information at your fingertips, seeing the more complete truth of the state of things on the Web, sites like Twitter and Facebook will appear absolutely tiny and insignificant by comparison. They will appear in their true forms, as Superdomes that a bunch of impoverished people are imprisoned in by cowardly, greedy and irresponsible elites. This is not real life, but the Web: you can see endless multitudes at once. You just need to have extremely good software to do it.
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