The logical end of social media is tribalism based not on bloodlines or geography but on opinion and politics. It feels inevitable.
It could abolish the economy. It could crush the democracy.
It could trample on the constitution and bill of rights.
30 years ago I was fascinated by the internet and what it could bring. I hoped for a new age of enlightenment. I studied and dreamed.
20 years ago I was in the middle of it, working at a dotcom advertising agency, helping building the groundwork for the 21st century.
About 10 years ago I decided I didn’t want to keep playing this game with my personal profile. I’m not on Facebook, Instagram, or most of the other platforms, especially not as my legal name.
I’ve been online all day and most nights for 20+ years now, so I figured if my actual named profile was posting things about all of my interests both work and privately, well, my privacy had no way of surviving. Anyone in the future could search and learn every single thing about me without ever meeting me.
This was unsettling, so even though I continued to use services I had to, I try to use aliases and anonymous services when possible, and still have never had a Facebook account.
For the last 10 years I’ve been watching Facebook, Instagram, Google, Xbox, even Apple gobble up every single datapoint they can about their users. They get plenty from me even after efforts to minimize it.
So where’s it all going?
Analytics. Refined data at our fingertips.
All to be an informed consumer, right? How much will you pay for that information?
This is big data + the cloud + commercial interests + human vanity and fear. This is our future.
Who just posted a comment? Who just read my post? Who are they? What do they like? What do they own? — We’re here already, especially if you are in advertising or know how to dig.
Next step – I want to buy something. Show me the stores nearby. Now filter to the stores locally owned. Or only certain types of neighborhoods. Or with ownership of a certain ethnicity.
Next step — [after filter to local owned] – none found. OK show corporate stores nearby that donate to a certain political cause or party.
Next step — I need a contractor. Search by political affiliation and ethnicity.
This is why people don’t put their Facebook name on Craigslist.
The logical end of this tech, once the remaining weak privacy and fairness laws are obliterated, is total knowledge of all affiliations, history, and likes and dislikes of every single person and corporate entity you encounter in your day.
Unless we are all batshit crazy before then and never make it….