Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Facebook reinforces the idea that most Internet activity should be whitelisted or circumscribed by groups with their own little tribal hierachies

As Mike Isaac wrote in the Business page of the New York Times today, Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook will shift from a public town hall to a platform that emphasizes group activities and relatively closed circles of friends, rather like the email listservers and forums of the Web 1.0 world, perhaps. The detailed story is here
An immediate reaction of mine would be, Google+ tried to sell even more concentricity than Facebook and it exists no longer for individuals.

Facebook wants to encourage ephemeral posts, which disappear in a day or two, like Snapchat.
It’s unclear if the “town hall” mode will continue work for those who want to use it that way. It sounds sensible that the “pages” might work that way still, even if the friending timelines don’t.

Right now, I’m able to purchase views of ads for my books on my page and they are getting respectable traffic. But I cannot post issue-oriented posts unless I have third party advertisers authenticate me. Facebook has suggested allowing third party advertisers access to create content and sell on my page. That is to say, for example, that the September 2018 post on power grid security should be selling Faraday cage bags,  To me, that seems pushy and tacky.

But Facebook has a point.  People should not resent being asked to “sell” more aggressively or recruit others, despite the cultural resistance now to spam and robocalls and political candidates knocking doors, because that is the way they world needs to work, to have everybody play ball rather than watch and comment from the distance on a one-way Town Square.

Facebook imagines that people who belong to “groups” could raise money for causes and non-profits by virtue of their social sway within the groups.  I don’t like to do things that way, in public.  That undermines the objectivity of speech and emphasizes social position in a group, where others take gor granted they can count on you.

That’s how the Left wants everything to work – everybody belongs to groups and faces their own potential vulnerability (or privilege) from group prejudices and owns up to them, because that kind of paradigm, however combative, tends to work out better for people in marginalized groups. There may be some practical merit to this worldview. 
My own intention is to join groups only related to work I am doing on my own.  Right now these might include music composition and performance, finishing and publishing a novel (finally) and networking on independent film because I do have a screenplay (based on the three DADT books).  I do most of my giving privately through a process with a bank,  I would not normally go along with the “solidarity” of a group on a social media site and support all their causes only because of an online social structure. Public giving would normally require I already have a personal connection to the problem outside of social media.  Likewise, I would not join groups to raise money for political candidates, at least not now. 

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