Hello! It's Sneak! I was thinking about an article that metahacker
linked, this one about designing sites addictively
. And it's made me get on board with Mac and Biff's idea about changing how we interact with the Internet!
Namely: we will be deleting our Facebook, and drastically cutting down our tumblr time (if not ending it entirely).
But my reasons for it aren't the same as theirs. Biff just doesn't like the Internet in general, and Mac noticed that it wasn't making us happy. Rogan has said he finds internet stuff increasingly overwhelming, and I think I know why: the newer generation of social media sites are designed for constant interaction.
We grew up in an older Internet time, where you weren't expected to be online every day. You could take a break for a week, and quickly catch up, no problem! Forums, DeviantArt, Livejournal, all of these sites are (or were) not intended to be used multiple times a day, every day. (Unless you're a HARDCORE user.) The sites were also designed for specific things: to make posts, or put up art. They weren't expected to be everything for everyone, and while DeviantArt had forums and chatrooms, you could do perfectly fine without them. (And I don't think the chatrooms were there when we first joined.)
However, as time has gone on and more folks are on the Internet more often, these sites have changed their design philosophy. Instead of being made for folks to interact maybe a few times a week, they're now made to be posted on multiple times a day for long stretches. They're also more generalized. For instance, Facebook was originally intended for folks applying for college, or in college; now it's used to organize offline events and work engagements, catch up with people from your past, and have heated political arguments. It has groups, events, chats, games, individual pages, all with very questionable security and ethics, and they sell the information for profit.
I don't think it's paranoid to say that a site like Facebook designs itself to be as omnipresent as possible so they can get as much information (and therefore as much profit) as they can from their users! But I can say that it makes the site not a lot of fun to be on, for us anyway. Even the nicest site in the world would get overwhelming and tiresome when you're encouraged to be there all the time! And by trying to be everything for everyone, their designs tend to fall apart, because they're trying to do so many things at the same time. So it becomes awfully byzantine (in the case of Facebook) or just plain incoherent and broken (like tumblr)!
Arguments and conflict happen on every website. But when a site is designed to be used all the time, the rate of interaction as high as possible, then it means that instead of seeing conflict maybe once a month, you see it all the time, and that's its own kind of draining! On the whole, I think that we are just not able to keep up with sites like that, and that it's bad for our health to try.
In other words, it's time to refocus our online energy to websites that are designed for fewer, more specific interactions! Therefore, I personally vote in agreement for deleting our Facebook, continuing our low/no tumblr usage, and refocusing our attention on sites like Dreamwidth.