Divide and Calculate

There is more profit in a divided people.

When we are divided, we do not share our things or our time and therefore we need to consume more. 

Today, more than ever, that comes alive in the content we consume. 

Little content that we take in each day is free. The content is paid for with our attention as advertisers seek to make their mark. 

Whether it is the Facebook algorithm promoting debate/hate to the top of your feed or a TV network playing the risks of a cranky old man who gets people riled up, it is all about the ad revenue. 

Often the content that gets us coming back for more is dramatic and angst filled. Good news stories appear, from time to time, but do they get the “lonely” among us coming back for reply-after-reply as the debate continues late into the night? I doubt it. However, when some injustice has occurred (real, fiction or a mixture) our passion comes out and the debate comes alive. 

I have a hypothesis that this new found outlet for our passion seems to be contributing to our inability to intermingle in our real community. 

I have observed that we seem to crave community yet at the same time I have observed we seem to have changed over time such that we find fault in others so rapidly that we are unable to fully participate when we do find community. 

I don’t have a solution that would be acceptable to social media (aka the new advertising industry) but as always I hope that we can navigate away from the current path we are on.

I am curious, if thinkers like Jane Jacobs were still around, and could rewrite her book Dark Age Ahead, I wonder what she would say about the state of our communities today and ahead. 

“Some who are fortunate enough to have communities still do fight to keep them, but they have seldom prevailed. While people possess a community, they usually understand that they can’t afford to lose it; but after it is lost, gradually even the memory of what was lost is lost.”

Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead

Thinking ahead I often look to the past and I find myself doing this with our social media problem as well. Where were these people in the past who now so easily fling insults, concocted facts and rumors on social media? Were they just the people who sat in coffee shops and bars spreading rumors? Were they just as effective then? I have a hard time believing that they would have been as bold in the past as they are now sitting behind a keyboard.

How do you feel about the idea that our validated identity should be tied to all of our comments on the internet? No anonymity when it came to sharing comments and opinions. We would still of course need official mechanisms for complaints where privacy/anonymity would be insured.

How do you feel about the idea that your identity should be public if you want to stand in the town square and shout out to everyone?

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