The social media landscape, in its current reiteration, feels like it has derailed from its initial purpose, intention, and scope.
What was the intended purpose for social media from a user perspective?
Was it meant to be a public forum, for free speech, to connect, share, collaborate, educate, inform, locate old friends, keep in touch with family/friends, make business contacts, provide feedback to businesses, and voice our concerns? To also connect networks and groups of people – with shared interests, dreams, and goals? Social media are used for assorted purposes by a diversity of users. Since the launch of social media networks, how these sharing platforms have been utilized has drastically evolved and expanded.
Have we co-created a monster and hand fed it our desires, shopping habits, behaviors, interests, friendships, love lives, deepest secrets, and the inner-workings of our minds? Are we effectively sprinkling the breadcrumbs to our demise? Where are we headed if we continue this commodified course with us being the product?
What has social media really become?
Some say it’s partly a sludgy cesspool buffet of trolls, saturated with advertising, sponsored, boosted, and paid messages, untrustworthy news agencies, clutter, distraction, rampant censorship, low integrity, no accountability, disappearance of core values, time-consuming, a huge privacy breach, and the precise tracking of our lives. Yet we’re not easily able to retrieve our information, comments, and history. And somehow we feel the need to continue sliding back to the hamster wheel under the illusion we are making progress?
Social media networks, like mainstream media outlets, sold us to their funders and sponsors, while they prostituted and paraded our personal information to the government, private corporations, and blatantly breached our privacy. But people stay. Not only do they stay, they become more entrenched, consumed, addicted, and don’t seem bothered or care. Why?
We know they are censoring, lying, suppressing the truth, spying, big brother monitoring, converting us – their product into dollars, pulling us into their system with their enticing web. We traded our privacy for technology, access to millions of users, convenience, digital community, and have fallen prey to their consumer-driven games to keep us there, like cattle or mice with amnesia who cannot escape the maze or cornfield. We are stuck within a gigantic advertisement and social experiment, our heads spinning from the overload of information, clutter, messaging, and distractions. This has sprawled out of control. But. we. return.
Since their launch year, social media networks have expanded and each platform offers their unique imprint and offerings to varying demographics. The launch of LinkedIn (2003), MySpace (2004), FaceBook (2004), YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006), Pinterest (2009), and Instagram (2010), birthed a technologically based cutting-edge format for connecting, engaging, and sharing visual and written content to the masses aside from traditional mass media outlets. There are redeeming qualities about each of the popular platforms and they serve different needs and purposes. Yes, there are benefits and gems amongst the sludge and crud or social media would have dried up long ago. Let’s not discount the merits of social media and the viral nature and power social media have.
But what really keeps you returning despite the negative issues or pain points you experience? What inspires you to continue to connect on those platforms? Is it simply an addiction, habitual behavior, or does it offer something more fulfilling? Is it similar to being in a dysfunctional relationship where some feel it’s more convenient to just stay?
Is it really worth it to trade convenience, chronic connection, and instant access for your time, freedom, and privacy?
Why did you originally join social media or other content sharing networks? Is it possible for us to get back to the root and the foundation of why we wanted to connect in the first place? Let’s use our past and current experiences of social media, both positive, negative and neutral, to inform and leverage our motivations to move ahead and develop a revolutionary path. Together.
- What do you desire in an online space?
- What is it that you really want in a platform?
- What would you like to co-create?
- What keeps you returning to the social networks you currently access? (Is it the people? The technology, capabilities, and bells and whistles? User interface?)
- What feature sets are essential?
- What would you like to be able to do better? More efficiently?
- What would you like to be able to do that doesn’t exist yet?
- What is not working that you would like a solution to?
- What issues of concern do you wish you had a solution for?
- If you’re a truth-teller, activist, advocate, alternative practitioner or educator, artist, and content developer, what is missing across social media for your needs and “nice to haves”?
- What is the benefit and reason to stay on current mainstream social media networks?
- Is privacy and the selling of your information a concern? (The data harvesting, the tracking, spying, reviewing and logging of your messages, phone calls, and what you post and comment on.)
- How alarmed or concerned about censorship (deletion, removal, banning of content) and the silencing of dissenting opinions are you? What effect does censorship have on content you’re interested in?
- Do you have security concerns over managing and preserving your data, content, photos, visuals, video, and other media?
What do you envision for a new platform?
We are at the precipice, dangling at the edge; the timing is ripe for an original, innovative social media platform utility. One that is decentralized, and truly free from the chokehold of content control, censorship, and data harvesting. One that is not beholden to mainstream corporate interests, and where it runs on its own independent technological network — built using blockchain. A free standing, self-governing, social media landscape game changer. Designed for the people with unlimited applications, but most importantly created with integrity and purpose at its core. Created to provide a voice, a platform for authentic expression, a fully integrated and multi-purpose utility – loaded with an array of features and astounding capabilities. Designed to empower its users to rise up, create, collaborate, organize, and take action.
Will you take the leap into the pond of possibilities? Where we invite conversation, collaboration, the curation of information, communication, free speech, accountability, and respectful discourse – in a decentralized platform. A utility where you won’t be arbitrarily censored based on ownership or agenda, where your information will not be sold, where you can customize your account to include what you prefer to view, and where you can be apart of guiding the platform development process.
Join us to grow something new.
Let’s grow something different and transform the current media landscape into a beneficial partnership.
Shall we be innovative together?
Sphir is coming soon and we’re energized for you to be a part of this unprecedented time in history to change the breadth and depth of social media.
To sign up for period updates pre-launch, visit Sphir and innovate with us!
~ Melissa A. Curtin