Monday, November 1, 2021

"Probably too busy watching television to notice"

Chris Stirewalt:
.... When Facebook and Twitter made it possible for a young black man to get elected president after serving less than one term in the Senate, it was evidence of technology for progress. When the same technology enabled an old, white reality-show host to become president without any experience at all, it was evidence of corporate wrongdoing. Facebook and Twitter had to do more to restrict what could be said and who could say it. In short, they had to start acting like the “corporate media” that was once reviled for its gatekeeping and high barriers to entry.

That realization came alongside the dawning knowledge that social media wasn’t so much about people-powered content as it was in the power to hypnotize people. Just like with television, these new advertising platforms weren’t selling #content. They were selling us and our attention. Listening to lawmakers express shock that Facebook tries to keep people endlessly glued to its feeds for as long as possible makes one wonder if they’ve ever considered, say, primetime cable news, Below Deck, or Dr. Pimple Popper.

We should have known that we would have ended up here, given the human tendencies toward avarice and self-indulgence. It should not have been a surprise that people would get rich from Americans yet again “narcotized by technological diversions.” But we were probably too busy watching television to notice.
A Series of Boob Tubes: We should have seen the downsides of social media years ago.

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