Vox’s Carlos Maza had a great piece called “Why every social media site is a dumpster fire.” He hit all the usual notes- Russian trolls, misogynists, and conspiracy theorists.
But he also hit on something bigger- the social media dumpster fire is not an accident or something that got out of control. What we have now is an intentional, man-made disaster. The fire was set on purpose and investors poured on the gasoline. As Maza says,
The problem with these social media sites isn’t that a few bad apples are ruining the fun. It’s that they’re designed to reward bad apples.
Even Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook says, “It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
Parker is probably giving himself too much credit as an evil genius, but it’s obvious that when Facebook exploded, he and his colleagues were more than happy to fuel the conflagration.
Breaking Up With Social Media
We certainly weren’t the first to warn people that its time to turn off social media. If you watched HBO’s new documentary Swiped, the film made the case that the gamification of social apps is breaking human relations. It’s a terrifying a portrait of a generation addicted to social apps.
We all know social media is manipulating us. Let’s stop taking this stuff seriously. It’s not real. If something makes you angry, wait and read next-day’s take. Don’t react with a smiley face or frowny face. Think about stuff. Can you even remember what social media outrage fest was consuming all of your mental energy last week? Human nature can be nasty and ugly, but we don’t have to let the social media platforms profit from it.
Here’s a little comic inspired by NGE.
I started this one over two years ago, trying to draw it on a Microsoft Surface. I got frustrated and stopped, and ended up picking it up way later to finish on an iPad. It’s based on an even older idea that I developed with my friend Geoff.
if you don't have a time machine, eventually steal one from someone who does then go back in time and give it to yourself in this very moment. come on. you should KNOW this by now.
This is a beautiful little two page spread, laid out in eight panel grids. It’s stories like this that makes me continue reading this publication - the occasional sight of just wonderfully made comics thrown among the crazy other content.
(Heavy Metal issue #171, November 1997 - Pages 74&75 No Man’s Land by Loustal)
This is one of my favorite stories in Heavy Metal, partly because that lower lefthand panel is here in my town. I was receiving HM via a subscription at the time of publication, and when I recognized the streetcorner, I was amazed, because like the fairly accurate caption says, this is a pretty tiny town. Here’s a picture taken today:
In the painting a dress shop that was located in that building to the left was put instead in the Bell Block building. The dress shop was quite creepy, usually closed, an elderly woman with dyed black hair sitting in the dark interior, with 30+ year-old dresses in the windows.
1. Hi! I’m so embarrassed to even be writing you, but it’s not like I can ask my mom, right? Even my best friends don’t seem to understand what I’m going through (because, yeah, their eggs are still shooting out like clockwork). So there’s this guy. I really, really want to impress him (he’s a high ranking government official). So we’re in a meeting, right? Just “sovereign immunity” this and “injunction” that. And then my period starts out of nowhere! So I pretend to get a text and run out of the room, screaming, “My kids’ school just burned down!” Should I have picked something that wasn’t independently verifiable? Will I be fired?
2. This one is even more personal, but there’s this guy I have a huge crush on. I’ve been married to him for, like, forever. He keeps wanting to go to second base, but I’m afraid. I’m not sure exactly why, but I think it might be because the extra estrogen my body is creating to fight the end of my child-bearing years makes going to second base about as much fun as a mammogram. What if he decides to replace me with someone whose body isn’t in the middle of a full revolt against the dying of the light?
3. I’m back, again. Just like the acne. So, anyway, every morning at 5:30 my eyes pop open. And then everyone is all, Why does Mom get up so early? Why was Mom baking whole grain spelt muffins at 6 in the morning? Why does Mom go to the grocery store before dawn? Why doesn’t anyone understand me anymore?!?
4. So I was hiding in a hotel bathroom watching the Great British Breaking Show on the iPad at 6 AM while my family slumbered peacefully (see question 3), and I dropped the iPad into the sink and shattered the screen! Will my kids ever trust me with a tablet again? How can I make them understand that I can be responsible if they won’t ever let me prove it to them?
5. I am so hot. Oh, wait, now I’m cold… Nope, hot again. I understand that is not actually a question.
HOW TO CRY
1. Drink water
2. Make water come out of your eyes