I think this whole social media “letting everybody know what you really think” thing has really worked out great.
We are currently exiting the “Information Age” & entering the “Post-Information Age.”
“What is the Post-Information Age,” Val? Well, imma gonna tell you.
See, with the heyday of the Internet the doors of the metaphorical (metaphysical?) Library of Alexandria were wrenched open and Everything was more or less available to Everyone; books, films, ideas, articles, audio recordings, deepest darkest thoughts, etc. Included in this unprecedented more or less public (depending on your ethics, more or less free) offering was an impressive amount of esoteric texts as well as heartbreakingly illusion-busting formerly confidential information.
And this was all fine…and, given the Big Picture, necessary. But a bunch of people shit the bed for a bunch of different reasons & now we’re about to enter the Post-Information Age.
Some features of the Post-Information Age:
1) Social media breaking up from large “universal” pools of everyone to specialized walled gardens of individual ideologies & political persuasions.
2) The breakdown and transformation of the largest social media platforms from large universal pools for everyone to focused, highly controlled, one-sided entertainment/marketing/money-making concerns.
3) The jettisoning of a wide variety of fringe content of all different stripes off of major social media platforms. Removing not just the “usual suspects” but anything too unwieldy or outside the norm.
4) The final corporate co-opting of “approved” online celebrities (of the YouTube, Medium etc. variety); making it much harder for any voices outside that now-mainstreamed group to use said platforms to gain a wide audience.
5) The tweaking of major search engine algorithms (including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to effectively bury corporately unapproved voices. These will include not only the usual suspects (who, to be honest, did majorly shit the bed over the last 15 years & helped bring the Post-Information Age on), but any with a non-mainstream (“non-marketable”) opinion.
6) The crippling of the Internet Archive & other related sites/organizations that offer massive quantities of books & other information for free.
7) The increasing online “disappearance” of a significant number of official and unofficial digital texts; not only the usual suspects (and we all know what they are & they are largely asshole-texts written by assholes) but a lot of esoteric material in general. These are often texts that are out of print or were digital-only anyway, so it becomes massively harder to track them down in any format.
8) An unprecedented amount of old blogs/websites being cleared out & taken down by online platforms that had originally offered them for free. This is going to be stunning in its vastness & range.
9. The end of the idea of the “Archive” that will always be there; both in terms of physical & online archives. This is instead transformed into the notion of “dynamic” and “ephemeral” texts (usually of the digital variety…though so many physical books have been destroyed at this point, often in favor of digital scans that supposedly would render them “immortality”).
10. The rise of the personal “newsletter” as the main distributor of independent voices of all stripes; not just for the prickly usual suspects, but for independent voices in general. This will be, of course, largely digital in nature, though there will also be a surprising comeback of the paper version.
Now, this post serves to inform you of what I intuitively feel is going to happen by 2025. This post does not argue that offensive/destructive texts/opinions should be “protected.” This post does not attack the idea of a free market or the right of various corporate platforms to choose the types of content they wish to host. This post is not saying that certain usual suspects & bad actors haven’t purposely abused the idea of “freedom of speech” for their own grifty ends. And this post is not (at this time, at any rate) offering any “solutions” to this entire situation.
This post is merely saying: this is what is most likely going to happen & plan your shit accordingly. Because I’m trying to provide you here with information & ideas that might be helpful; or, if not exactly helpful, than at least mildly of passing interest.
Thank you for reading, and have a good day.