I have lost my voice (in a place where my voice wasn’t mine)

Have I lost my voice by removing myself from social media? And if so, does it matter? What is ‘my voice’ on social media, anyway?

In thinking about the decision to leave, most streams of reasoning resolve to a simple question: what kind of intermediaries do I want brokering my knowledge, communication, and interaction with other humans?

Social media platforms are publishers. I post content to them. Their algorithms decide where and when and to whom the content is delivered. Such operations are precisely the purview of publishers: distribute ‘content’ to ‘consumers.’

Except social media publishes the content of their contributors with no monetary remuneration. Instead, they pontificate platitudes and self-praise for amplifying ‘the people’s voice,’ which, in turn, retrenches their self-appointed role as gatekeepers of the public sphere. Social media manages, controls, and exploits my voice for its revenue model. It does not give me a voice at all; I give my voice to it. Is it really ‘my voice’ if someone else decides who gets to hear it?

So yes, I have effectively ‘lost my voice’ on social media, but my voice on social media was free labour for a non-transparent, self-interested publisher. It is not a ‘partnership’ upon which I want to build my dependency.

9 Replies to “I have lost my voice (in a place where my voice wasn’t mine)”

  1. It’s tough. I’ve felt the fear that removing myself from social media (rather than using it to syndicate content from my site) will render anything I’m saying into a void. I’ve also been surprised at how few of my Facebook friends (and family) have signed up to receive my updates as an email digest when I leave Facebook. However I think it’s an important step I still want to take, regardless.

  2. James

    I hope this message finds you well.

    I completely understand your decision to ditch SM. I’m not there yet, although I have deleted LinkedIn where I had nearly 5000 connections by dint of the unending self-promotion, inane messaging and the need to be constantly seen.

    I’m really enjoying your posts and where I can, I’ll do my best to comment.

    I’m sure you’ve read the work of Cal Newport but if not, you might be interested in what he’s got to say about the distraction of SM.

    Best wishes
    Julian

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