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So it's kinda neat to see a number of people all talking about the problems that make social media untenable. Given that so many of us are in gemini & gopher spaces probably because we're frustrated with the commercial internet it's not really surprising. In this vein, I read a post by demifiend this morning


Their post


that has some interesting points about the problems with the fully public posting on social media and how these problems make it impossible to contain & control corrupting influences in our spaces. There's points I agree with and points I don't, but that's not really important. It got me thinking that I have a very different reason for why I think the fully public internet sucks: we start being objects, and not subjects.


What I mean is that, in my opinion, we've all gotten too acutely aware of how crowded the public internet is. It's difficult to write anything without thinking about how other people are going to see it, judge it, and what the probability is that someone is going to pick a fight over this or that wording.


I started and deleted this post several times, for example, because I was wondering about how this would be taken to even bring up. I started to do the typical thing that plagues me still whenever I try to use twitter: I sit here running through all the possibilities of how people could misinterpret words, pick fights, or decided that if I even reference someone else's writing then they'll dig through to find an opinion they dislike and hold it against me personally.


Utter asininity, I know, but it's a kind of foolishness the crowded internet encourages: seeing ourselves not through our own experiences but through the worst overlap of the perspectives of all the people we can imagine reading our words, interacting with our art, &c.


In this way, we start to lose the ability to experience ourselves as the subject of our experiences and more like our actions are the authorship of a character in a story & we must consider what the audience will think of the writing.


It's why, I think, everyone gets so strange and performance based on public social media. Demifiend laments people who won't ignore, say, JK Rowling but the problem is that I think from these people's perspective they're in a big crowd when a villain appears and they don't want to be seen as a coward among the masses of the resistance. Yes, I'm being intentionally dramatic because I think that's exactly what this is: drama, theater, storytelling.


This is incredibly unhealthy! We're not characters in a story and we should neither be considering our audience nor playing a part. This is exactly the kind of thing that Sartre would argue is inauthentic, bad faith, playing roles because they are roles to be played not because we're seizing freedom for ourselves.


Is there even a way to have public posting without this problem? Maybe. I feel like it didn't used to be this bad but I still don't understand what's changed, not entirely. Perhaps if we can understand how it got to now we can understand how it could be improved again.


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