It’s time for us to rise to the occasion of our own humanity. We are not perfect, by any means. But we are not alone. We are Team Human.
As I’ve opted out of Facebook, what I’ve noticed is, first of all, that I don’t feel ragingly angry. I don’t know who went on vacation where, unless I talk to them via text message, and I don’t care. I don’t care about political articles that are specifically designed to infuriate me. I don’t care about people I went to college with ten years ago. My world is neater and quieter.
At the same time, I miss more and more events targeted at my daughter’s age level that we could have attended. I miss small observations that my friends wouldn’t make over text that they do via Facebook posts that I no longer discuss with them. I miss parenting conversations that are extremely relevant to my local school district. I miss birthdays that I should have written down in my paper calendar, but didn’t. I miss discussions the Jewish community at large, which I am connected to digitally instead of physically, is having. By opting out of performing emotional labor on Facebook and going into my own sort of media hibernation, I miss the steady background hum of “having my finger on the pulse” as it relates to me and my family.
We are all connected to the spigot, even if we want to opt out. Social media contains all of our news, our family’s baby pictures, extensions of our lives in one exhausting digital stream. One glaring example that comes to mind is Facebook specifically.
Although I’ve written extensively about how important it is to get off the platform as soon as you are humanly able, for the sake of our collective mental health, I find myself not being able to take my own advice.
Not because I’m addicted, but because Facebook, for better or worse, is still the platform where social events are planned. Where parent groups exchange information. Where family pictures are shared and discussed. To willingly walk away from Facebook and all of its needy notifications is to experience both immense relief and complete ostracism.
This reminds me of Venkatesh Rao’s pushback on Waldenponding. I wonder if one strategy is managing your feeds through a form of social media jujitsu or simply writing the web we want as captured by the #ProSocialWeb movement.
We all struggle with what to write. The tyranny of the blank screen can drive many into the welcoming arms of social silos. Yet the simplest way to support a #ProSocialWeb is to Post Positive
Be a good person. Say nice things. Document the good you and others do. The lesson we learned in preschool can still teach us much.
How do we build #prosocialweb?
One domain at a time.
Do not define success as building for the masses. That got us in this mess.
All the tools exist just using W3C web standards. We do not need to invent the wheel.
Webmentions for example can connect us
The idea of the #prosocialweb assumes that our small social worlds matter.
Few decision-makers have lived the Best of The Web. What if those of us who have were able to make it visible? To counter the Company Store mythology of capital data solutions that’s gone viral among our leadership strata?
If our contemporary information ecosystem has taught us anything, it should be that that humans are VERY vulnerable to social contagion. All the systems we’ve accepted are neither natural nor inevitable.
And the system I am positioned to make a difference in – at the coordinating level – is networks…so the web and this idea of the #prosocialweb is where I’ll take the subversive hope that underpinned #Antigonish2, for now. To try to counter misinformation, yes. But also to try to push for change, and for a more pro-social and humane digital space through three key ideas: complexity, cooperation, and contribution.
Who are we when we’re online? And how can we engage in digital spaces in ways that don’t undermine the mandates, practices, and ethos of higher education? The keynote explores the underpinnings of our emergent information ecosystem. Digital and open spaces are being weaponized, while pervasive surveillance and predatory practices are normalized. Trolling and bots are regular features of social landscapes, and people are often hesitant to engage online in fighting the echo chamber. Concepts of what it means to know are increasingly generated outside the academy, in Silicon Valley AI frameworks.
What does this mean for higher ed, and for the future of knowledge in a data society? This keynote, from Virginia Tech’s Digital Literacy Symposium, explores ideas grounded in adult education, critical pedagogy histories, and contemporary open practices—including participatory digital literacies and the pro-social web—that may be ways we can ALL help bring the web back from the brink.
I am not sure what the ‘answer’ to the current situation is. I like your hopeful suggestion. For me it is about participating on my own terms, whether this be via webmentions or in a shared space that allows for more ownership, such as a social media space using Edublogs. I am not sure if this is the positive participation you are thinking about. I am mindful that this may not be for everyone, but it at least moves to something other.