Without social organizations, social technologies will eat us alive

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/26/without-social-organizations.html


First rocket off this planet, I’m on it.


Are you sure, cause I think Elon Musk wants on that one too. Maybe the 2nd.


Seems to me there’s a flawed analogy here. People in those times needed pastures, forests, etc. to live. There’s no shortage of people out there who will create engaging content simply because they want to. And only a very, very small number of them – through no small amount of good fortune – will ever attract any amount of attention. Would “equality” require people to change the channel and look at something they wouldn’t normally tune into because they were occupied with the same old thing they were used to?

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People in those times needed pastures, forests, etc. to live .

I don’t know–I think quite a few industrial jobs are now automated or outsourced. So creating stuff is pretty much the last domain of the human brain (until the singularity, anyway!). I know way too many artists, writers, developers, etc. who are doing everything they can to rise above the poverty line because this is all they CAN do.


And plenty of us have just given up, living with an emptiness that has to contend itself with creating only as a capitalist venture or as a hobby. Creating becomes consuming but without engagement or sharing. The only thing left to do by my thought is to give in and create anyway though, but it becomes a luxury only for the privileged. So most of us will have to split our time in a way that ultimately limits the ability to produce/work. It becomes a question of “Kill one child to feed the other or watch them both half-starve?” There’s no good answer because really there’s just almost no way to survive as an artist, and the “only the tough deserve it” attitude really leaves us with few options in terms of the art we get to have as well as the art we try to create.


I suppose that’s one grim future we’re heading towards, then: thousand of voices howling into the void, each growing increasingly shrill out of the need for any kind of attention, because obscurity is death. I sure hope there’s a better way.


Technology Platforms go beyond media creation. They are creeping into the activities we do need to live . Many people use Uber, a platform business, to make their living, and they have little control over how the company changes their pay or work requirements. Teachers use tech platforms to work as tutors or sell lesson plans. The way technology allows a Platform to emerge within a transactional business context is new, growing and beyond the perspective of current regulations.


Heading towards? I think we’ve been there for quite some time. Nothing has struck me about the toxic cesspool of social media so much as this obvious overwhelming shared anxiety… almost all of it stinks of a whole culture unable to find any pleasure in smallness or closeness, and ultimately unable to reconcile with death.

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It was my understanding that making a living that way was completely unsustainable.

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Good point, I ain’t sitting next to Mr. Asshat.


The Marxists and neo-Marxists and those who operate in their lineage will be surprised to learn that “social production” is an internet phenomenon. For example, the social epidemiologists will be somewhat mystified to learn that the social production of disease began with facebook.

Oh, and


No, plenty of people do Uber full-time. I know at least one laid-off school teacher that teaches Chinese students English on a tutoring platform full-time. Companies like these have incentives to make thoughtful people like you think that it’s common knowledge that these are “gigs” only. You literally and legally can do them as many hours as you can stay conscious and on the platform. Go for it- 72 hour Uber driving bender.

This is makes it more vivid too:


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Sure, but I was thinking of Uber specifically. I have no doubts you can “literally and legally Uber as many hours as you can stay conscious and on the platform”, but my understanding was that the wear and tear on one’s vehicle and other such ancillary expenses would not produce a living wage, even if keeping at it for 72 hours straight can be called “living”.

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It’s hard to quantify a living wage with expenses which are unique to each driver (I make my living doing it now). It’s not hard to see a power advantage within Uber’s zero information transparency on the rent we pay them to gain access to demand over their platform (they change pay rates without notice, hire more drivers without notice, can choose to reveal business opportunity to us or not); that is the medieval shit. Them calling us an Independent contractor, that is legally antiquated. They lord over you with the information disadvantage and platform control.

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With icky feelings about most of social media these days, I have found engaging one-on-one conversations with people around the world using Slowly (https://www.getslowly.com/). It’s a pen-pal app that mimics letter writing in some sense as you can only have one-to-one conversations and it takes longer to send and receive messages the further apart people are.

You don’t have to share names, birthyears, photos or the like if you don’t want to and there are simple ways to silently mute/ignore/block people as needed.

It feels a lot more human in a digital environment. You get that excitement of waking up to a new letter from someone in the morning.

“Will”? I’d say “are”.

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