That being said, the colonization of the human body is a step too far for me. I will use a smartphone, I might even use Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat one day if they ever embraced more human-centered ethical design. But I will never, ever, ever allow a company to intervene between my physical senses and the physical world. That's the line I personally choose to draw, hopefully many others will draw it with me.
So no headphones in general? what about vision-correcting glasses? I'm very confused by this line you're drawing.
Eyeglasses, headphones, "dumb" hearing aids, all a-ok. Replacing vision or audio by a mysterious cloud product are over the line.
I'd argue that even smartphones and social networks distort the fabric of our perception, operating on dopamine feedback loops, sense-making, norms, and interpersonal relationships. These things are all deeply entangled anyway (if one goes full Luddite, but all one's friends have not, one is still captured heavily by tech in practice).
For those of who care, we have to draw whatever bright lines we can, no matter how arbitrary; for me, it's simply about having a clear line for what is private, and what is public (including anything living on cloud/FAANG, I treat as de-facto public). I want to have an intentionality with what I send over the wire, as opposed to sharing everything with the world as path-of-least-resistance.
I can see why you might think this line is a little restrictive and arbitrary. Collectively we've already gotten used to running so much software that we have little to no oversight over, so this seems like such a small thing.
You're posting on an on-line forum.
Social adds the graph, etc. We don't have a "social graph", or friends and followers on HN (except implicitly).
We had online forums for a full decade (more if you count Usenet/BBS/mailing lists) before we had "social media".
HN is social media. Maybe niche, but still part of the wad.
We have personas and profiles and comment on stories. Pretty social.
- Your "friends" are known and tracked
- The content you view is determined by your browsing history, ad tracking and that of your "friends"
- The composition of the audience that's voting is poorly informed and susceptible to non-critical thinking (YMMV)
On both of them:
- Stories are posted to maximize your outrage/other emotional response
- Content of stories rarely matches the titles
Social interaction and even a like button is not the problem. What the like button does is the problem.
I've found more acquaintances and friends (and even more) on various online forums and chats than on what people call "social networks" those days.
"Social" is about interpersonal communications. Ads and tracking are - arguably - irrelevant implementation details, not some inherent property of "social networking". User engagement is (and good communities always have it), but artificially trying to boost with ethically questionable profiling technologies and various dark patterns isn't.
Else, "European, male, dark eyes, had a small black moustache below his nose, was admired by millions in his prime, had artistic aspirations, had distinctive bodily and facial mannerisms" -- am I describing Charlie Chaplin or someone more ominous?
...beyond the similarities themselves, that is.
> It's the differences that count to distinguish things
By definition. But then again, if I'm comparing the impact of two dictators, it's probably not helpful to point out that they had different hair colors.
I think what you're really saying is that in a particular context, some properties are relevant, and others aren't. There's no point in pointing out that irrelevant properties are shared, but equally there's no point in pointing out irrelevant properties that are different.
In other words, people just have to be clear about what they're talking about.
Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter measure success by things like user engagement and time spent on the platform - and their design principles are optimized to max out those measurements. That's how they create more value for advertisers and make billions of dollars.
This site is a social experiment in creating civil online discussion. Facebook and co. are a social experiment in hacking human behavior to create compulsive users who consume advertising with (measurable, trackable, hackable) enthusiasm.
I don't think HN would get much buzz for an IPO. :)
From your analysis, it almost sounds like HN is more social than the behavior-hacking money machines. The big companies might own the most commonly used social media, but that hardly means their model is the only one.
I too will not welcome our amoral surveillance overlords onto or into my body. I hope that is a clear enough statement for people to understand.
Excellent point! You have gotten to the core of the issue. Mediated social interaction is not more social. It's just a way to harvest data. Mere "connection", in the language of FB who aims to "connect the world", doesn't equal better and more fulfilling communication.
I don’t think usenet was social media
You aren't missing out on what you don't know about. You are enjoying life without it.