An interesting idea: what if using social media didn’t leave you buck-naked and exposed?
What would “internet realists” want from their media streams? The opposite of what we have now. Today, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are designed to make users easy to contact. That was the novelty of social media — we could get in touch with people in new and previously unimaginable ways.
It also meant, by default, that any government or advertiser could do the same. Mr. Scalzi thinks we should turn the whole system on its head with “an intense emphasis on the value of curation.” It would be up to you to curate what you want to see. Your online profiles would begin with everything and everyone blocked by default.
Think of it as a more robust, comprehensive version of privacy settings, where news and entertainment would reach you only after you opted into them. This would be the first line of defense against viral falsehoods, as well as mobs of strangers or bots attacking someone they disagree with.
Right now, the system is set up so bad social media can sell your information if they want. That’s all they’re in it for, is monetizing you. I would be so there for a site where you weren’t public by default, where you could control what bits and pieces of your life that you want to share, and where the hosting service didn’t assume that they owned everything you published.
Of course, you’d need a different model for funding it, unless it was nationalized somehow.
Here’s another idea that appeals:
Trying to keep up with this torrent, media companies have used algorithms to stop the spread of abusive or misleading information. But so far, they haven’t helped much. Instead of deploying algorithms to curate content at superhuman speeds, what if future public platforms simply set limits on how quickly content circulates?
It would be a much different media experience. “Maybe you’ll submit something and it won’t show up the next minute,” Ms. Noble said. “That might be positive. Maybe we’ll upload things and come back in a week and see if it’s there.”
Yes, throttling would be good, as long as it were fairly applied. I could imagine a system at Freethoughtblogs, for instance, where all the bloggers would submit their posts to a system-wide queue, and the software would post for you when a slot opened up say, once an hour, and publishing would be prioritized for who entered the queue first and for people who hadn’t posted in a while. It might also lead to longer and more substantial posts from us kneejerk fire-hose wielders if we knew our stuff was likely to be delayed to give less prolific bloggers the next available publication slot.
Not going to happen, though. Blogs here are independent and autonomous, so that’s a scheme that probably wouldn’t be favored. We’d also have to implement it, which would take considerable tinkering with the guts of WordPress.