Thanks for sharing, Ari. I think you raise a really good point here. Why are we doing all of this?
I think we face a real crisis of purpose in the modern world. We’ve been trading time for money for a long time in the form of work, but it was pretty clear that the commodification started at 9 and ended at 5. Then you got to go home and be yourself again.
But now, we’re commoditizing so much more of ourselves. More and more workers report an expectation that they answer calls and emails outside of work hours. We’re selling chunks of our private life for likes and views, if not for dollars. And we’re giving our attention away to advertisers for the cost of some momentary distraction.
I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with social media. I think most platforms are morally neutral. But I’m not sure that we’re at a place emotionally and culturally that being exposed to the tools are the best thing for us. It’s why we limit driving and drinking to certain age groups. We’re not sure that everyone can use them responsibly before that.
I find social media exposure to be a lot like donuts. I really love donuts. I could probably eat donuts every single day. But I know that donuts would then be the death of me. They’d go from an occasionally fun thing to ruining my life.
If someone has an established sense of self, clear purpose and something they want to share with the world, social media is awesome. But getting there is crazy hard.
If someone is trying to get rich quick on social, it’s going to be a roller coaster to hell. People love to look at car crashes, and a lot of these social starts seem to be in the business of creating bigger and gorier car crashes in the competition for attention. It feels a lot like snake oil salesmen of a bygone age. Give me some money and attention now, but I don’t care about your well being tomorrow.
I really hope we figure out a way to more healthily consume and participate in online communities, because right now, it’s pretty dang depressing.