Bonum Certa Men Certa

Anecdotal Signs That Social Control Media (as a Concept) is Waning and Losing Popularity

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Feb 13, 2024,
updated Feb 13, 2024

Seinfeld: What's the deal with few companies controlling billions of people's communications?

AT risk of sounding repetitive, and only days after this commentary about Reddit's woes (Conde Nast wants it to become a public problem by offloading it to "the market"), let's revisit the matter from a more 'holistic' perspective.

I joined Social Control Media well before it was known as such ("social media"); in the early days I was in USENET (newsgroups) and then came along Digg.com (around the dawn of the Reddit era; Reddit was a lot smaller at the time). I was ranked among the "top 20" users in Digg (this was nearly 2 decades ago) and then everything was swept away by Facebook and Twitter, which grew a lot faster than Reddit. That was well before Mastodon and years before Identi.ca/StatusNet (now GNU social).

Forget all the revisionism and distortions of history regarding Social Control Media. I know how it happened because I spent a lot of my adult life there. I saw the ups and downs; I've had my share (a great deal) of criticism.

Years ago the leader in Social Control Media (Instagram included), Facebook, finally admitted it was losing users faster than it gained any. Threads has largely failed (you barely hear of it anymore) and Twitter, now known as "X", is seeing an exodus, including mass quittings by government officials/departments, who in turn see the decline in userbase and sometimes quit Facebook too.

Recently I noticed that even Mastodon/Pleroma became a lot less active. This 'fediverse' (a term coined in the StatusNet era) came much later and only temporarily enjoyed resistance from Twitter users in 2017 and then again in 2022. As for Diaspora? You'd struggle to see or hear anything from/about it in 2024.

It seems very fair to say Social Control Media is waning. TikTok qualifies more as a video sharing platform, akin to YouTube now that it has longer video form (YouTube - like GitHub - has 'Social Control Media-like' aspects).

In turn, YouTube and GitHub cannot make money (as in profit) and both have mass layoffs. What sustained them, like in the case of TikTok (ByteDance laid off there too, only weeks ago!), is government support or subsidies, which aimed to secure propagandistic bias (censorship, promoting of what goes "viral" to scandalise political "enemies").

Expect GitHub et al to continue shrinking as the US and Chinese economies weaken, making it a lot harder to justify ongoing losses and corporate subsidies.

As the old saying or cliché goes, "the writings are on the wall..."

If you are still playing the "social media" game... then you're playing yesterday's game. You're wasting your time. Many people nowadays regret that everything they ever had to say online was entered into Twitter, Facebook, Reddit etc. instead of personal sites or blogs. A lot of information online will be lost forever, except maybe the Wayback Machine (if the Internet Archive can endure the lawsuits) or so-called 'language models' that ingest a ton of text for plagiarism's sake/nefarious purposes (repeated without attribution, without context, and without any sense of understanding, hence lacking accuracy). We predict that in the coming years if not months Google will delete many "old" or "not popular enough" YouTube videos. It's an avalanche or a mass extinction event, unparalleled in the history of the Web or the Net in general. People won't be getting back to newsgroups (Google is detaching itself from them after 2 decades of "embrace and extend" via "Groups", formerly Deja News), they will probably just drift further away into the abyss of online misinformation, wherein governments and oligarchies determine what goes "viral" and what goes "offline" (censored).

The future of the Net isn't bright. Make what you can of it... while it lasts.

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