I just finished the newest episode of the Ezra Klein Show with Jaron Lanier. Jaron spends a good portion of the episode talking about how the systems we've built into the internet, and social media specifically, have really had a negative effect on civil discourse.
One question Ezra brought up really struck me:
If you were building, or you were redesigning a social network that would call forth our better selves... what do you think would be the parameters of that? What rules would you set such that it would urge us to be a better version of ourselves, not a worse version?
Their discussion really resonated with me. Jaron mentioned that he thinks that the algorithmic nature of today's social media and the algorithms used in advertising are both large causes of a lot of the strife we see online. He argues that how we measure engagement (clicks, posts, activity, etc) allows the most impassioned people (and often the most hateful) to drive the conversation.
I've been thinking a lot about what makes good social media recently because of Pine. I think that a new generation of social media will revolve around the principles that users have control over what they see, that they own the content they post, and that no one person or company controls all the ways they see the world. I think that, combined, these changes make social media better for us all.
It's a really good episode; highly recommended.