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The puritanical pursuit of platform purity
Threads is out. And the natives are restless. 🍿
Threads is out. But I'm not joining. (I’ve not checked but I suspect I can’t because it’s not available to us in Asia yet — in the scheme of things, Meta doesn’t think we’re that important.)
Yes, this is due to the massive amount of data it collects from me if I ever do join. But I'm f**ked already anyway because I have an Instagram account. I actively ignore said Instagram unless friends (who almost always stubbornly refuse to leave platforms I hate) send me a cat reel.
And if you hadn’t gotten the hint, I really hate Instagram, and apparently, the influencers are glomping on Threads and nothing makes me more nauseous than celebrity culture and their sycophants.
Third point: I just have no bandwidth to add another social media network. Between Mastodon and Substack, I'm up to my ears keeping up with posts and comments. Are you kidding me? There's something called “sleep” I really want.
On Mastodon, the reaction to Threads can be summed up with this meme:
On Threads, the reaction has been: This is the new Twitter! It will take over the world!
On Twitter: Meh.
On Facebook, my friends don't even know they exist because they're posting about their marriages and babies.
If you ever dare to post something supportive of Threads on Mastodon, bless you child, you are brave!
If you ever dare to post that you've joined Threads and are enjoying it, you'll get tonnes of reply folks (usually guys) telling you that you're deluded and on the way of being a data machine for Big Tech and you should so quit now because they're evil and possibly baby killers.
Because on Mastodon, they are absolutely paranoid of Threads. So much so that the Mastodon management had to come out and placate people's fears about Meta attempting to Embrace, Extend and Extinguish Mastodon.
The fact that large platforms are adopting ActivityPub is not only validation of the movement towards decentralized social media, but a path forward for people locked into these platforms to switch to better providers.
Each time a new social media network appears, there will be a flurry of comments about why one should not pick said social media because (insert wrong ideological belief held by founders/developers/concept of app). And if you do you're probably a Nazi. Perhaps this is a purely Mastodon behaviour as I'm usually on Mastodon, but I see this perspective everywhere, but with a different spin, depending on the platform's political inclination.
When Lemmy, the Fediverse version of Reddit, first appeared, I saw posts on Mastodon urging people to not adopt it because didn't you know that the developers have an evil attitude towards human rights violations? So, use something else for the sake of humanity! If you don't care anyway you're a Nazi for sure.
Read the thread (hah!).
Also, don't use Twitter because you'll be at the Nazi bar drinking with Nazis.
And oh yeah, don't use Substack too, cos, Nazis*:
Read the post.
I call this the "puritanical pursuit of platform purity".
This is closely related to the "puritanical pursuit of product purity".
Meaning, thou shalt not consume nor use products or platforms that have the wrong ideologies.
If you go in this direction, be sure to eliminate Amazon, cloud services, email and hosting services too. And maybe that platform you use to get cat sitters for Mum.
Be sure to dive into these companies’ annual reports and scan the media for any sign of ill intent.
Of course, you will soon discover that what makes an ideology wrong is an expansive and probably never-ending list.
Which is why pursuing platform purity is also a futile exercise. Somewhere, someone tied to a platform would have done something that you don't agree with.
The people who create the platforms are human, so of course they'll do something shifty eventually.
The thing is, if we acknowledge that human beings are flawed and imperfect, why do we expect the platforms they build to be created and run with pure and good intentions?
In a capitalistic world? Come on!
And if platforms do convince you that indeed they are pure and good, they're probably hiding something.
And are probably Nazis.
What a conundrum?
So, if everyone is evil in some way, what should we do?
Stay off the Internet!
Though I think the world would be a better place if there were fewer people on the Internet.
Okay, now to write writerly stuff about this situation.
If you are a writer, artist or creative who depends on social media to spread your work and get commissions, what you do about this prickly situation?
I have a tip - pick the platform that suits your needs and personality.
Yeah, that's it!
As creatives, we need to approach platforms as tools. We only need to answer these questions:
Does my audience dwell on this platform?
Does this platform make it easy to reach them?
Do I enjoy using it?
But if it matters to you that a Nazi is now controlling it and you don't want to be seen supporting evil and want to leave, go ahead!
Do pick a platform that suits you, but don't guilt people into leaving a platform because your ideals may not be theirs. That’s a waste of your time and theirs.
As creatives, we should be pragmatic and practical when it comes to distributing our work. Using a platform that was built in good intentions is swell, but it probably doesn't exist in reality.
What do you think?
* The overuse of the word Nazi by people of the left persuasion to label things they don't agree with is an annoying habit, but that's a topic for another day. And please, don't @ me for why you have to label things Nazi because Nazism is rising in America/Europe, whatever. I live in a country where your entry into public universities is determined by your race and politicians hurl racist epithets during parliamentary sessions, but I don't label everything Nazi because that word needs to be respected for the heavy historical meaning it carries.
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