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.