Thursday, May 17, 2018

Misuse of social media; the "too much information" problem, along with social stratification and unearned privilege


Today I have a potpourri, and I’ll lead off with Suzanne Field’s editorial (pardon, op-ed) in the Washington Times about “too much information”.    That leads to another bombshell Guardian-msn story about info spam, from Chris Wylie, who now accuses Steve Bannon of trying to “suppress voters.  And I’ll give David Hogg credit for suggesting how I could put my own white privilege to work, for his cause. (Hogg can't be president for seventeen more years.) 
  
Yes, I made a second career choice of pumping out TMI (“too much information”) largely for free, for two decades, to let people find it. I let the algorithms use it as they liked.
  

And we’re finding the narrow idea of personal responsibility, that served libertarian arguments so well in the late 90s when I put out my first book, collapse.
  
Yes, I get pestered and pimped by people who challenge me as to why I did what I did.  But other career choices (like selling anyone else’s product) would have presented its own problems.  But that’s part of the problem.  People-centered employment and career choices have been somewhat compromised by the chain effects of hyperindividualism.  Nobody wants to be tracked or get cold calls or door-to-door now.


  
I did want to pass a few words to the wise on some specific recent problems. One of these was a stream of sudden Facebook Friend requests late last week, mostly from females.  Facebook has changed its referral algorithms with “friend of friend” logic (remember Saddam Hussein?)  I suspect this was a bot.  I got lots of stupid flirtatious messages.  No, I don’t like superficial flirting or unwelcome approaches.  (They will happen in discos when I am “watching” or “scoping”).  You can see a couple of examples in the pics here. 


  
There was a case in late 2015 where someone I think I have a legitimate connection to (music) blocked ne on Twitter (nothing like that has happened since, as far as I know). I discussed it on a post here Dec. 4, 2015.  I can see now, by comparison, how one or two tweet replies I sent could have been misconstrued, although there was a bigger context I thought he should have gotten (“lifelong process piece”)’ none of that is there in simple flirting.
  
There is a bigger question about how I can break away from TMI to help other people.  I can say at the outset that generally, a cause needs to be “mine”, and something my own life had something do with, to be effective;  hit or miss volunteering (as on Thanksgiving, or even once-a-month Community Assistance) is not very effective on its own terms.  I was moderately effective as an AIDS buddy in the mid 1980s in Dallas because this was part of my life, and I had, in my own mind, participated in amplifying the problem.  I can’t say the same thing about, say, Puerto Rico. 

I feel put off by being prodded by Facebook to add non-profit campaigns to my page.  They have to be mine first.  Likewise, I generally don't respond to "Take Action" calls from non-profits to call politicians about narrow issues.  I will write politicians by email for bigger issues and go into detial when something is more than crying wolf about one constituency.  For example, the hype about network neutrality sounded like Chicken Little;  but the damage done to free speech by the FOSTA-Backpage-Section 230 issue seems more serious, as are the implications of foreign manipulation of US social media ("the cretins"). 

Generally, I won't waste "speech capital" on one narrow issue.  I won't be recruited to in turn raise money or bring others into a one-sided campaign if I believe both sides have validity, and it is "somebody else's" problem that I am personally distant from.  I would work in a dedicated manner on the EMP threat issue but not on bathroom bills.  

But there is a difference in incentive to political activism as opposed to directly assisting others. 
      
The refugee and particularly asylum seeker issue was closer to my court, because I was living in an arguably oversized and inherited (read unearned) house.  That issue broke open (for the LGBT community) in the summer of 2016 (well before the election) partly because of the efforts of “liberal” mainline churches as well as the gay press and community itself.  Yet, outside of the bureaucracy set up for refugees which could not help asylum seekers, it was difficult to get activists to pin down what they were asking for.  It sounds like more sacrifice and risk taking and shoe sharing on my part, with unpredictable outcomes.  So we get back to tribalism, and the need to belong to groups.
  
So here I am, in a condo, having unloaded the house.  That’s what I did about it so far.
  
We have an environment where the spontaneous self-published user generated content that I have leveraged for the past two decades cut be, at least partially, shut down in time over downstream liability concerns that have increased with respect especially to sex trafficking and foreign political manipulation of the illiterate.  Indeed, it is partly the idea that some people are not “good enough” to be care about that foreign powers were able to leverage.
  
So we could find the future environment more coercive, as with the idea of expected community engagement.  Then things become a matter of personal purpose, not just performance.  It’s not wrong to want to politicize addressing privilege.  As above, David Hogg has a point.

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