For example, it may be harder to live by the value of honesty on Instagram, if honest posts get fewer likes. Similarly, a courageous statement on Twitter could lead to harassing replies. On every platform, a person who wants to be attentive to their friends can find themselves in a state of frazzled distraction.
As users, we end up acting and socializing in ways we don’t believe in, and later regret. We act against our values: by procrastinating from work, by avoiding our feelings, by pandering to other people’s opinions, by participating in a hateful mob reacting to the news, and so on.
This is one of the hidden costs of social software. Let’s call it the cost of values-misaligned systems.
Any social environment can be misaligned with our values, but social software makes this misalignment much worse.
That's part of our national spirit. We tend to favor people who go out on their own, who strike out and defy convention. We're not a culture ... that celebrates conformity, or rule-following, or that kind of sacrifice — and there are cultures that are like that.
I think, though, that many of us have a little bit of Mrs. Richardson inside us — I know that I do. And one of the parts of the book that I hope will spark some conversation is sort of looking carefully at ourselves and recognizing the ways in which we might be conformist, or we might be rigidly holding onto things that we need to be flexible about.