My Blog Week: April 24 to April 30

A black cat, nicknamed Nortie, who serves as Torsade's site ambassador.

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Cartoon of elderly people seated

Cartoon of the Week: Sharp As a Tack

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Word on the Week

 

 

Clip Art of GlobeHappy Talk

 

 

 

 

 

It seemed right to me this week, with spring weather so pleasant (in Southeastern Ohio) not to spend time looking at Twitter. I was off for four days, and I have to say, it’s a mind-freeing experience. I like Twitter (I think I do), so it would be nice to have found some aspect of it to miss. 

And truthfully, it has good points. I like the jokes, I like the cute cat and other cute animal videos, I like the faithful efforts of many to keep calling out propagandist evils, and calling for justice where it’s lacking (accountability for the January insurrection, voter rights). I like the nice people on Gardening Twitter. I will probably keep on visiting, unless the new Twitter goes badly askew.

But it’s worth considering, in this context, what went wrong with the utopian visions of social media? Can it ever be a place where people all over the world have friendly conversations, growing a sense of fellowship (in time, we hope, to save the planet)?

I would say the trouble began with the choice to give individual stats, numbers that effectively rate each user’s popularity. Whether the exploitative nature of this was calculated, or whether the intentions were innocent, it served as an open door, one spotted readily enough by bad actors. Why not, if the algorithm boosts the audience for a well-followed individual, “place” a desired person, then provide a following? Your agent’s statements could become the pushing of an agenda…a handy thing when you have an agenda to push.

Conversation is simply people chatting together. It hardly requires the entry fee of a set of dominant numbers. One of social media’s scourges is that an artificial etiquette grew out of follower counts. Follows being currency in this system, the notion rose that following ought to solicit follows, that the normal hello/goodbye of casual contact could be a victimization. “Going wrong by being normal” describes quite of a lot of the division campaign, in which the accused are too late to avoid offending, and too offensive (as the troll-fueled indignation has it) to be forgiven.

Hence, an atmosphere that drives pressuring behaviors and generates anxieties.

Anxieties also drive scrolling. Worrying, naysaying posts make the user want to find something to counteract the discomfort. If a headline from a news outlet said: The world is closer than ever to nuclear war, your inclination would be to scroll on… You might come to another story, titled: Why Russia will never use the bomb, and feel mild relief. It’s advantageous when revenues are counted in terms of users “seeing ads” to have this environment of drama and hectoring.

 

Next time, some thoughts on what a good social platform might feel like.

 

 

 

 

 

This was a truncated week of posts. I’ve been busy in the garden. Here’s a pic of one of my projects:

 


 

 

On Tuesday, a poetry reissue from the Eight series. On Wednesday, a new “Fellyans”, and the arrival of a messenger from the Queen. On Thursday, another Catastrophe, with Jean Hess’s disdain for a busy politician.
Images on my posts sometimes have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.

 

 

 


 

 

 

My Blog Week: April 24 to April 30

 

 

agreement (poem)
April 26

 

Fellyans (part four)
April 27

 

Catastrophe (part twenty-two)
April 28

 

 

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