Twitter: A bird went in search of a cage.
The world's richest man has brought a social media app for $45 billion, a number far beyond the imagination of us ordinary people. Communication which was earlier in the public domain through the post and state media has now gone into the centralized hands of a global few, where our inner desires, thoughts, and opinions are analyzed and monetized. We do have a herring of having free communication and global reach with these tools, but at what cost? Social media has increased polarization and is modeled to increase addiction and interaction where our attention is the fodder for a new capitalistic machine whose implications no one understands yet. Things we are scared to share even with our therapists are hidden in databases, fuelling our inclination to buy and buy more. To be disconnected is to be poor, our social fabric is hidden in black-box algorithms, another hidden variable to the mysteries of life.
It is to wonder if our collective data has value in the billions and can be mined for profit, why is it that we the people do not get any incentives for that? Sure, money can be made through these social interactions but at the cost of one's mental health and degrading freedoms. A proponent of free speech, this billionaire has forgotten the vileness that Donald Trump's Twitter feed launched in the last decade. We the people are powerless against these juggernauts as our governments are feeble enablers in the toxic transactions that control the very words we use. A handful of companies decide on what we read and what we see, in effect controlling who we are and what we feel. The internet came with a promise of unbridled freedom but now we are yoked to the whims of the powerful. Now ancient regimes of the Stasi are replaced by the overseeing panopticon, a devil veiled in a cloak of invisibility. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he does not exist”, modern-day Keyser Soze's are celebrated as heroes, and the propaganda campaigns for future ghettoes are lined with the pocket linen of the haloed billionaires. The critical agencies of what makes us people have now been outsourced to our super-tribal leaders, is this how we imagine future societies to be? Questions can be asked but our depersonalized selves are complex data points in a feverish social order. Researchers from another time will write biographies from our carefully compiled data, perhaps showing that beyond profit, we've been the same people as our ancestors brimming with vanity and little wisdom under the veneer of modernity and prosperity.
Perhaps it's okay to walk naked and shit with the door open when there is nowhere to hide there is nothing to hide. Relax, this won't hurt until it does but it won't matter anymore.