Last edited: September 3, 2018
Individualized broadcast platforms, aka social networks, have exploded in both number and policy. The controlling bodies of these platforms police their users in many different ways, but all share at least two characteristics: The platform owns the content their users create, and the platform decides when and how it is displayed. While an enforced social order may have benefits, the platforms’ police powers have been abused for both capitalistic and authoritarian means. This has caused detriment to humankind.
Rehabilitation and future inoculation against harm by these broadcast platforms can only be achieved by individualized voices taking (reclaiming) greater broadcast power for themselves. Independent blogging, wherein creators wholly own their own content and its display, is one method by which this power can be clawed back and used for alternate purposes.
Technology And Its Possibilities
Technology is a buzzword - too commonly used to be restricted to any one narrow definition. Let us then offer our own: Technology is any thing which allows its creator to do something which the creator previously could not.
Humans are the most creative animals on the planet, and we have made much technology. One need only reflect on the life-saving miracles by antibiotics to see technology’s potential to vastly improve the quality of human life. Surely this is an admirable goal on its face.
There are many technologies which nobly and sustainably serve humankind.
Technology and Its Perversions
Technology is not intrinsically good. Ships designed specifically for slave-trading are surely morally egregious human creations. Many technologies fall somewhere on the spectrum between good and evil, including most broadcast platforms.
Technology which does not exist to serve the betterment of humankind should be discouraged.
Capitalism As A Perversion
Technology that exists within a capitalistic economy is particularly susceptible to abuse. Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of things (including technology) and the operation of those things for profit. While profitability and the betterment of humanity are not certainly not mutually exclusive, a capitalistic society values profitability over human betterment.
Thus is a creator often incentivized to yoke humans to a machine, rather than yoking a machine for human use. Creators better achieve their personal profit motive thereby. Since the Industrial Revolution in particular, humans too often exist as inputs for machines from which only a few derive more than minimal output.
Digital Sharecropping In The Information Age
Fast-forward to the rise of microblogging broadcast platforms. The majority of new human-produced intellectual property is now created on and owned by social networks. In the pursuit of ever-greater profitability, their broadcast-cum-police power has been increasingly abused, in some cases to tremendous detriment. Humans become users, and users are not seen as a society. Users are yoked to the profitability machine. Consequences damned, their creative output and mental attention are reduced to mere products to be sold to the highest bidder. The betterment of humankind is often shoved aside as a priority.
What can be done?
The Decentralized Nature Of The Internet
Within the seeds of the Internet lay the seeds of its own salvation. When the Internet was initially created, it was done as a peer-to-peer network of computers – the Internet was not designed to be controlled by any one computer. For better and sometimes worse, it was a decentralized set of connected computers. Any connected computer could host computing resources and make them available to the world. Eventually, some of these resources became webpages and the World Wide Web was born.
The Internet is one of the greatest communications revolutions in the history of humankind, and its greatest achievement is this decentralization of information.
As the Internet has grown and matured, its decentralized nature has come to represent a tug of war between its users and the capitalistic enterprises built upon them. The capitalistic businesses seek to increase profitability by owning ever more of the powerful “things” associated with the Internet. These things include computing resources and the user-generated data you find on broadcast platforms.
A push for greater decentralization is necessary.
Blogging As A Bulwark
Independent blogging enables humans to reclaim broadcast power for the betterment of humanity while still engendering the creation of information and content.
People are currently leaving the abusive social networks behind. Let us hope that more people embrace independent blogs as their next broadcast outlet.