Engagement, Influencer, Cyberbully, Blogosphere, Online Dating, Social Networking, Micro-Blogging, User-Generated Content. Why is it that most of the terms we use in order to talk about The Internet sound as if they were coined by a fifty-year-old copy editor who still uses a flip phone? Because they probably were? The quality of the language itself—sterile, self-serious, and old—is the polar opposite of what it’s attempting to describe.
"The logic of the profile is that life should be captured, preserved, and put behind glass. It asks us to be collectors of our lives, to create a museum of our self. Moments are chunked off, put in a grid, quantified, and ranked. Permanent social media are based on such profiles, with each being more or less constraining and grid-like. Rethinking permanence means rethinking this kind of social media profile, and it introduces the possibility of a profile not as a collection preserved behind glass but something more living, fluid, and always changing."
It’s important to remember, too, that Facebook rolled out first at Harvard, and then at other Ivy League and otherwise prestigious schools before it opened to state colleges and, later, high schools; exclusivity was clearly a tactic in the early development stage, and this led to its image as a high-class, elite platform.
I don't see the intimacy gradient designed into digital spaces because they're optimized for different purposes. They're optimized to get as many people on and if you look at the history of social networks, we used to call them social networks and now we call them social media. Because there's a business model tied to advertising that requires that people stay on the platform as long as possible, even when you're done with meaningful exchanges with the people you know and the sources you want to follow.
Technology has solved old economic problems by giving us new psychological problems. The Internet has not just open-sourced information; it has also open-sourced insecurity, self-doubt, and shame. (p. 60)
But I think a broader definition of the attention economy is kind of like — as I personally experience it — I exist in space with a heightened anxiety and sensitivity all the time, even when I’m not literally engaging with any of these apps. And that then contributes to the way I am using them and how often I’m using them.
I think that’s a phenomenon that has led to attention fragmentation, because to have a train of thought, it has to be continuous and relatively uninterrupted. But it’s constantly being interrupted by this idea that there might be something new you need to know.
“The villain here is not necessarily the internet, or even the idea of social media,” she writes. “It is the invasive logic of commercial social media, and its financial incentive to keep us in a profitable state of anxiety, envy, and distraction.”