Social networks are roach motels

Originally published at: Social networks are roach motels | Boing Boing

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Social networks are roach motels

Why yes. I’d even go so far as to say they’re Kafkaesque.


Just kidding, I wouldn’t touch social media with a ten foot pole.

BTW: No, BB is not social media, just so’s yous know.




I feel the cost of leaving a social network is a feature: the thing is, it lets me simply abandon old social networks and let new ones grow from scratch. I don’t need to take my friends from BoingBoing over to the Reddit, or my fellow Ingress ENL agents from Telegram into WhatsApp. I would rather rebuild than take the time to weed out.

With Facebook, I doubt I would miss all too much if it went away. A lot of the stuff on there is ephemeral and vapid, so if it were to be deleted I would not shed a tear.

In other words, what I do in one clubhouse does not need to be moved into a new clubhouse.

I would argue that is exactly where social media went wrong.

When Facebook first came out, I was incredulous that my friends/family rushed to join and add everyone they’d ever known.

IRL, I don’t speak the same way to older relatives (back when I wasn’t in the oldest generation in my family) as I do to friends. I don’t tell the same stories to someone I went to school with – decades ago – as someone I’m currently close to.

The internet was supposed to allow for greater freedom of expression and collaboration, but instead it has flattened communication for most people.


The BoingBoing BBS is a place to socialise, which may cause confusion, but there is one key difference: it doesn’t have any sort of friend networking, not even rudimentary thingies like Slashdot’s fans and foes. There is no easy way to say, “oh, I’ll go be friends with everyone @fnordius is friends with!” or “oh, I see @papasan likes so and so, so I’ll follow so and so as well!” And I like it like that.

I like that Discourse-based BBSes are not out to suck attention, that they aren’t trying to get me to “engage” more.


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