Hello whoever happens to be reading this! Welcome to my first little write-up to get things started here.
I’m sure if you’re browsing Gemini, it’s likely you have some problems with how the current Web works. Maybe you have some underlying problems with the technology of the Web, or maybe the culture surrounding it, especially social media. I’m absolutely nowhere near smart enough to fall into the former category, I’m more of the lattercamp.
The current Web is a very alienating place. No matter where you are or how you browse it, there’s always some sort of tension accompanying you, never letting up. That’s because the Web isn’t made for you or me, or at least not the real you or me. The Web in its current form is made for the you that is a consumer. You’re bombarded with advertisements, with little pieces of UX made to grab your attention and send you somewhere useless and unrelated, with pages not catered to a good reading experience. As Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power said, “you’re something even more degrading [than the product]: an input for the real product” (Biddle, 2019). We’ve been commodified to such a degree that we’ve been dissected down to mere inputs. That’s who we are on the Web, a series of inputs, not a real person who wants to write or read the work of others, to establish a community that they can truly engage with as their completely real selves.
Of course, I realize that there are exceptions. Plenty of people in the FLOSS Movement have understood this and designed their sites or programs to not reduce people to such a degree and they deserve praise for all their hard work. However, most of the Web is alienating and doesn’t allow for actually engaging with its content or the people behind that content.
Social media is a big one. The Web is a big network of commodified people interacting with each other, reproducing this commodification with the more we post because we don’t post ourselves, we post carefully crafted represenatations of our commodified selves. “The fetish of representation replaces our human relationships” (Empty Hands, 2020). Hell you could even say that’s what happening right now with this post, who knows? Regardless, it’s an important understanding of how people interact with each other on the Web as a result of their commodification. Understanding can lead to change.
Biddle, S. (2019, February 02). “A Fundamentally Illegitimate Choice”: Shoshana Zuboff on the Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from Intercept Article
Empty Hands. (2020, April 04). Why Social Media Feels So Bad: Alienation in the Time of Coronavirus. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from Empty Hands History