According to the Pew Research Center, social media stifles conversation, and we believe it’s the profiles and permanency that are the problem. Everyone has become so concerned with their online image that they don’t share their real ideas and opinions; they share what they think will bring them an additional like or follower.
It’s as if we all run our own personal PR firm with the same motto: look cool and act edgy enough to keep your followers intrigued, but, above all: never offend anyone. So, like career politicians, we stand silently on the roadside of thought, wondering which way to go until we have clear sight of the biggest bandwagon. Then, like good little sheeple, we jump on, cheer loudly and pat each other on the back for being there. Aren’t we all so forward thinking?
With real conversation restricted by our unwillingness to speak out, what little original thought there is becomes drown out by the filler. Combine sharing capability with the addiction to the “neurochemical hit of a Facebook like,” and we have to fill the void with something; something like click-bait crap, selfies, and photos of food. It’s sad what it’s come to.
It’s sad, but it makes sense. After all, the Identified Internet is an unnatural venue for a real discussion. Conversations, especially those of the heated variety, should not exist online, out of context unto eternity. Real conversations are supposed to be short-lived learning experiences, where our opinions adapt and change as new information is brought to light. It’s supposed to be okay to go in thinking one way and come out thinking another. But, it is easy to let go of an initial opinion when what you said was just words; it’s a lot harder when it’s permanently stamped online with a picture of your face next to it.
Altogether, the message has come to fit the medium, but the medium has peaked. That’s why we’re building a new one. BuzzIt will not have profiles, people will be able to post to their location anonymously, and a user’s old content will never be on display. All of this is meant to encourage conversation in the moment by freeing the content from the sender. Without an attached profile, every idea and opinion can be judged on its own merits, and not by who said it, what they’ve said in the past or who they’re friends with. Keeping posts time limited and location-based means that everything shared can be interpreted in the same context in which it was written; what’s happening right there in that moment.
This freedom, this meritocracy of contextual content, will make conversation so much better. Imagine how refreshing it will be to see real ideas again. Imagine how much more interesting things will become when people have broken free from their online image ball-and-chain, when they can think openly, take risks, and be willing to learn and make mistakes.
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