Society has eroded into nothing. I probably sound like an old man as I say this.
While that might be true, I’ve watched it change and in my opinion for the worse, but objectively it’s been reduced to a wasteland.
In some town there used to be an area where everyone would meet on weekend nights, kind of like how kids used to hang out in the parking lots of burger spots, but on a large scale. In the old times people use to ask their neighbors for a cup of sugar (literally or otherwise), because people knew their neighbors, they were invested. It’s tribal to extent. We all do better if we all chip in. But this hasn’t been the case for ages and I’ll try to explain how everything went down. It’s by no means an exhaustive explanation, but I think it touches on the big change inducing events.
When the internet became commercialized there were two major groups of people (outside of business) on the internet: kids talking to their friends and
nerds. Kids would run AOL / AIM for hours and chat with their friends. It was like a party and you’d even wait for people to show up. Nerds
occupied the rest of the space. They were most excited, being inquisitive in nature, but they also built the damn thing. ALL of the early internets
(yes with an s) were to serve one purpose: to share information. If memory serves it was first the government, then schools, then Digital Equipment Corporation.
They all had the same goal of knowledge sharing in mind.
The nerds were quick to act and created all sorts of content. Some of it was expressive, some of it was informational, but it was all exciting to them.
And it was in a great place. A platform for all to share anything and everything. These same nerds are of a different breed than the common folk though.
They wanted to create or learn something, where the average person wanted to consume. So as we went from Geocities, to AOL, to MySpace the landscape shifted more and more away from information to showing off your top 8 friends for everyone else to see. MySpace became a posturing platform. Who’s profile were you on? And so began the decline.
After the internet became commercialized and commoditized, the evolution to hot or not became Facebook. Originally designed as a way to share information about Stanford students, it soon became a stalking platform and data collection goldmine. And later a MLM haven for stay at home moms and home to conspiracy theory nuts. In any case, the new social media king was born. And it. blew. up.
It created these echo chambers. Fringe groups that could create a community and bounce their insane ideas off each other. Over-sharing ran rampant and Facebook sucked it all up. Every last bit. And so began the age of privacy invasion and data collection. People stopped being the consumers and started to become the consumed.
But since it was basically unmoderated and it encouraged these echo chambers, the great division started. They left and the right weren’t just enemies they could now yell at each other, emboldening their ideas.
Part of the success of platforms was because they were able to be accessed by everyone, anywhere, any time. We no longer had to pick up a phone to call. We stopped waiting for calls and started seeking conversation. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing at first, but it made people stop paying attention to their surroundings, because they could consume curated lists of… trash. It was like a real time drama and people were hooked. Instead of caring for the people around they looked online. Instead of using the internet for information about important things, we all got to learn what Tammy was wearing to school.
With internet going from being for nerds to a must have for everyone and smart phones taking over Instagram boomed. Fake. Pictures. Everywhere. They
weren’t photoshopped per-say, but filters did the heavy lifting for users. Click there, swipe there, bam! Perfect skin… maybe too perfect. It
absolutely preyed on insecurities. It was all about portraying the prefect life. Look where I went! Look what I ate! Look at me! Look at me!
Look at me! But lets not forget: it was fake.
Aww, why does she look so happy? How come they have perfect skin? Why aren’t my teeth that white? Because it’s fake. This negative feedback loop devoured young adults like AIDS. It couldn’t be stopped. So OF COURSE people became stand offish. You can’t see me in real life… I don’t have my filters on.
Online dating was a thing for awhile, mostly run by the Match Group. They still buy all the platforms up and make them pay to play. But unlike traditional
platforms it didn’t make you fill out a 19 page questionnaire and you didn’t have to read profiles. Hot? Swipe for yes. Not? Swipe for no. Spam swipe
over and over. This made the platform so much more approachable and popular. And since there is something like 1 woman to every 30 males the power dynamics
went way off kilter. An ogreish woman with a hunchback and a hairy mole on her chin became the only person who would swipe yes on an average looking guy.
All the average looking women then were given free reign over all of the attractive men.
In summary, we went from a place where the internet was about learning and exploration to a place where people are obsessed with seeing the next fake adventure someone “went on”. We went from communicating with each other in real life to hiding behind filters online. We went from people meeting in the park to pouring over our phones and walking right past human interaction. And we went from dating friends of friends to being reduced to awful pickup lines and a few photos to be judged in the blink of an eye and discarded with a swipe.
In hindsight, the internet should have been left to the nerds and for business. Not that we could control that, but as soon as normies learned how to internet, the temptation to appear to have a perfect life was just too strong for most. They can’t afford plastic surgery, but Instagram is free.