I’ve talked about this in the past and I know that I am not the target audience for social media, but there simply are no social media sites out there that do what I want them to do. Social media is, almost by definition, shallow. It’s meant to appeal to the short-attention-span crowd. It is designed to transmit short, stupid messages, memes and other incoherent nonsense. It’s hollow, trivial expressionism, like waving to your neighbor, except to a much wider audience that has as little interest in getting to know you as you do getting to know them. I weep for this generation.
I don’t want any of that.
What I want is the ability to have a conversation. I want to be able to debate in great detail. None of the current social media allows this.
What I’d have to see in a site to make it worthwhile:
- Threaded conversations that allow you to easily follow the action
- A WYSIWYG editor, complete with the ability to extensively quote, add pictures and graphs, etc.
- Intelligent, rational people to debate with.
Yeah, that last one is the hardest to find, I know, but what’s the point of debating over and over with idiots? That’s why I’ve stopped debating in any real fashion over the last couple of months because finding someone worth debating is even harder than finding somewhere that you can actually debate them.
Honestly, while I’m convinced that forums are the best of the bad options, even most forum software fails in most regards. A lot of it doesn’t even allow you to quote the message that you’re responding to! Of all of the forum software that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot, the only one that remotely impresses me is the most recent version of vBulletin, most specifically v4.2.1, with a lot of add-ons. It’s spiffy. It tells you if someone has responded to one of your posts and takes you right to it, it allows multi-quoting, it allows numerous pictures, etc. It doesn’t guarantee that there’s anyone worth debating with though.
Now I’m sure scientists and other rational thinkers use the Internet and I’m sure they have intellectual discussions online. Presumably a lot of it is through e-mail, at least that’s what I’d do, but there has to be somewhere that they can gather collectively to have interesting discussions. Where is that place? I’m sure it’s got to be a private network to keep the riff-raff out and that’s a bit depressing as well.
I don’t know. Just thinking about this makes me weep for humanity.