What Social Media Ought To Be

What if you don’t want any of this?

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:

  1. Threaded conversations that allow you to easily follow the action
  2. A WYSIWYG editor, complete with the ability to extensively quote, add pictures and graphs, etc.
  3. 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.

2 thoughts on “What Social Media Ought To Be”

  1. Of the three things you'd like to see, the first two are technological enhancements that some company could someday bring to the table. The third is the tricky one. I know quite a few intelligent, rational people but they either do not use social media at all or they use it for the relatively mindless things you mention (e.g., staying in touch with friends and family). Hell, I know an absolutely brilliant guy with a Ph.D. and a scary aptitude for statistics who insists on posting photos of nearly every meal he eats on his Facebook account! While I have no interest in viewing these photos, it is clear that he finds it entertaining to share them. And that is what he uses social media for – entertainment.

    In all fairness, I don't find myself trying to use social media for debate either. I have little interest in debate. If I am seeking intelligent, rational discussion, I am going to do it face-to-face and in person. It is difficult to imagine any technological advances to current social media platforms that would change that.

    My recent post The One New Thing About 'New Atheism'

    1. The problem is that social media seems to be the only place people spend time these days. You can't have any interesting discussions unless you go where the people are, but the people aren't interested in having any interesting discussions, especially when it comes to the religious. I haven't found anyone face-to-face that's been any better than people online, they're still irrational, illogical, delusional people. Bill Nye didn't find anyone rational when he debated Ken Ham. No matter how many face-to-face debates or discussions (I tend to use the two words virtually indistinguishably because it's just exchanging information) you see videos of on YouTube, none of those theists are intelligent or rational. None of them. I just have more opportunities to engage more different kinds of people online than I ever would in person and sometimes it's a cost/benefit matter than anything else, plus I spend a vast amount of time in front of a keyboard, where I simply do not have the time to go jetting across the country in hopes of finding someone with half a clue to talk to.

      It's just sad that the Internet is getting dumber and dumber and there's less valuable things worth doing there.

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