Me-tooism Two

More than a decade ago, I posted about how online discourse structures favored argumentation over agreement. Replying with “me too” was frowned upon, and bare re-blogging of others’ posts would have been seen as pointless, tedious, or crass. News aggregators existed, but that was not what blogs and forums generally did.

That was web 1.0. Web 2.0 has been the past decade.

Technology has strongly supported a swing in the other direction. Sharing others’ content, maybe with an added sentence, is the norm in social media. It’s what you do on Tumblr, Twitter, or Pinterest. “Me too” and “+1” have been replaced with “like and share.” (The social media werewolf: lycanshare.) We still have virulent disagreement. I don’t know if the volume there has gotten louder to break through the happy bubble.

That is the other aspect of enabling healthy me-tooism. I don’t really have thoughts on social media bubbles here. I can’t imagine they are any worse than offline bubbles. People have always selected their environments and information sources. I don’t know how much research would support that it got worse, versus people online are more or more broadly informed. Even the most insular bubble will have people hate-blogging differing ideas.

Harnessing me-tooism has been great for the internet. Upvoting is a great improvement over most previous moderation systems! Upvoting also has its problems with brigading and sockpuppetry, but I again cannot say those are any worse than what came before. All tools can be abused, but not all tools can be used productively. The floor is perhaps as low as it was before, but the ceiling is higher. That’s progress, and you can always walk away from cesspools.

The rise of social media has in part come at the detriment of blogs. Some people just adapted their blogs over to social media or intermix the two productively. Obviously, I am fond of longer form writing than Twitter allows. I see people post 28-part screeds on Twitter, and I immediately assume they cannot be people of good judgment if they thought Twitter was the right place to post a 1000-word essay.

So yeah, technology and society have made significant inroads on this problem since I wrote that back in 2007. Good job, technology and society! +1 and <3

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “Me-tooism Two”

  1. I see the longer Twitter chains as a way to reach the poster’s Twitter audience instead of their blog audience. It’s surprisingly hard sometimes to get people to click through to a blog post. I’m certainly a purveyor of verbose text as well, and I love a good meaty post, but sometimes people just don’t want to leave their Twitter playground.

    …yes, it’s odd, but I don’t judge too harshly as a result.

  2. Especially in light of the last election cycle, I think what we have seen is that more people choose to be openly on the extremes, both left and right, vs the tradition of most being (or pretending to be) in the middle. Trump is far-right (or at least pretends to be as those are the easiest votes to get regardless of what you actually do, he is a life-long Dem after all), and in the past someone acting that extreme would not have found a large-enough base. Now he has it, though perhaps this was just a blip, as elections after Trump have gone the other way (a rapist Rep losing in the south vs a Dem was a shocker after all), and voter disinterest played as large a role in the result as the actual message.

    But the catering to the extreme can be seen all over. In the past at least CNN/Fox tried to appear somewhat near the middle. Today when you read both sites, you might as well be reading about two different planets. And while it can be fun to laugh at the whole situation sometimes (especially if you are in the upper income brackets currently benefiting and can put aside that the general direction of the country is going down), the truth is a large number of people believe all of it. If you are a politician with a moral code as low as Trump, you tap into this on both sides and divide just enough to get elected, regardless of ‘why’ you got elected (in this case, the rise and acceptance of neo-nazi feelings and ideas, along with the more ‘normal’ Rep promises to help the blue-collar south while actually just helping the top 1% at their expense.)

    I think (hope?) its a bubble, and that sooner rather than later, it pops and we return to a world where extremes, on both sides, are actually that, and most people can come to agreements somewhere in the middle.

    1. Seems more like people are having trouble putting rational thought together, and a single button that sort of aligns with their thinking is “progress”. While I can appreciate the ego-boosting “+1” of a post, unless someone responds there’s no real actual benefit to the message. We are so focused on consuming, we have no time to digest, or create. Just locusts looking for the next thing we might miss out on. Who doesn’t have an aunt/uncle/friend that has shared some ridiculous story that can be proven false just by the number of typos, let alone a factual assessment?

      I sure do hope it’s a bubble. Because the rest of the world is going to continue to progress while the US continues its infighting.

Comments are closed.