In what ways do online spaces co-opt personal expression?

In a sense, digital social platforms homogenize personal individuality as much as they amplify and incentivize it.

One of the most interesting contradictions of the ‘digital revolution’ is how big tech endlessly promise better tools to express our creativity, individuality, and unique voice in the world…

…as we are happily baited into using platforms and devices that funnel an increasing scope of our human experience into the homogenizing, universalizing portfolio of a ‘user.’

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Rehumanizing Twitter?

I tried an experiment on Twitter last week:

Set @tweetbot filter to remove links, media, retweets, quotes, and auto-posting clients [i.e. IFTTT, Buffer, Hootsuite] from timeline. Feels like old @Twitter — human again.

By ‘human’ I mean: all that remains is conversation; people talking to each other…not so much selling, promoting, positioning stuff.

Zapping the automaton, self-promotive stuff, and graphic eye candy out of the feed does a lot to refocus attention on human interaction.

“It’s frustrating watching yet another promising platform disintegrate on its own doing,” @EliotLandrum said.

Which made me think, “Twitter’s redemption might be that it still allows the deep customization of the experience through third party apps… But I don’t think it can attract new users to the same highly relational space that it originally spawned when it was only text and people.”

The end of user growth spells deep problems for platform sustainability.

The problem with social media right now? It is no longer principally designed for socializing, but for commercializing.

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