This article about Facebook’s history of weighing reactions differently overly time culminating in uniformity for all reactions except for the “like” and the “care” reaction was published in October this year, 2021 – https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/emoji-reactions-cute-addition-facebook-became-headache-rcna3747
I’ve hated the concept of social media while being a grudging yet more-than-active participant in it for years now. And what gnaws on me day in and day out is the fact that this is all very dystopian and unnatural – the concept of assigning points to every little thing we say. every thought we have that we choose to put out there. This is not normal and definitely can’t be healthy. We weigh things in real life in relative terms already. Now for years, we’ve started getting conditioned to weigh every statement we make as well, wanting each to perform better than the last.
If Facebook was being shitty assigning multiple points to Emojis vs 1 for likes etc, Twitter is no better – the only difference is here we’re in a pre-reactions world letting everyone else’s judgement measure if Each thought of ours was “Good” or not, if it resonated with them enough to “Retweet” or not. And for some inexplicable reason, Retweets (that are not endorsements) have become extremely appealing to us, perhaps giving us reason to revel privately that somehow we are not alone in having this thought. This is obviously not leaving Instagram out by any means. Each photo we put out receives meaningless “likes” from friends and families who, for all we know, are double tapping out of nothing more than habit. And we know this. And YET, there’s a hit of dopamine that we crave and go back for to check the number of likes we’ve recieved on the egotistic photos we posted.
While all this is disgusting, it probably shouldn’t surprise us. The concept of attention-seeking isn’t new. As Humans, it’s almost primal that most of us seek attention for the things we do. It’s how a baby starts off, receiving attention for the absolutely most mundane things he/she does – standing, walking, reading for the first time – all of which are praised heavily by the doting family, if we were lucky to have one. And we should count ourselves lucky for having it. Cut to school when we participate in events that make us “stand out” – extempores, debates, quizzes, races. Followed by events at work that “award” you for outperforming everyone else in your salaried role in that quarter or the year – the entire society is designed to make you want to stand out, simply because you already are, one among many. So so many.
Then it would seem that really, all the technological giants have done really is exploit this desire we have for attention and make it work For them. And make no mistake, it really is for Them.
I cannot offer a solution here. Being a part of the problem and being afflicted by it still, I cannot proffer one.
All I can do it write pieces about it with my thoughts on the topic over and over till I hammer it home for myself and never visit my “profiles” again.
And hopefully, just…live.
Needless to say, none of the posts in this series will ever be posted on any form of social media – Not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and not even Whatsapp.