Submitted by Duion on
Recently I realized how genius the invention of social media is, it is probably one of the biggest cons to ever exist.
Let me make an analogy:
Imagine you go into a store that sells nothing, but over time the customers bring products into the store, that are then owned by the store and the customer then buys the products made from other customers, but does not pay the maker of the products for it, but the store owner and the customers are also owned by the store and the store can also sell the customers to other stores as he wants, additionally he can make up the rules what the customers are allowed to produce, bring in and buy or take out, sometimes the customers can even be made to maintain the store as well for free, or even pay the store for its great "service" it delivers, for just being there.
Such a store is totally insane and nobody would go into that, but that is pretty much what social media on the internet is and people love it.
I never undestood why people worship the owners of certain platforms on the internet so much. They justify it by that the platform is offering a "free service" to them and that the platform needs so much maintenance and admins etc, but in reality there is not so much efford and cost involved for the platform owner once the initial setup has been done. A well setup platform is almost maintenance free and even the maintenance can be outsourced to the customers, so they work for free to help maintain the platform. Sometimes the platform even manages to collect donations for that, so the cusomter pays the platform, for the right that the customers can work for it.
The real costs are processing power and traffic volume, but this is in the fraction of cents per customer. You also need a competent sysadmin, since mistakes in that area can destroy the whole platform at once. But once that hurdle is made and the customers are so many that the costs rise significantly, you have lots of opportunities to capitalize on them. My point is just that what the platforms offer is much less than most people imagine, some companies manage millions of customers through a handful of employees and the more competent the employees are, the more can be automated to be done by computers.
The genius behind that is hardly imagineable. It is like a farm where once you have trapped the farm animals/humans, you practically own them and everything they produce, so you can sell their products as you want and even the farm animals itself. Of course you cannot directly own human slaves, but you can sell those humans as customers in form of advertising or their data which then can be used to manipulate them into making them buy more of what they themselves have produced anyway.
Of course not all social media is like that, social media itself just means that the users can interact and contribute, but in the long run this gives power to the platform itself, which in almost all cases will be abused, to create human farms of various degrees of severity. Some human farms are almost not exploiting their farm animals and are satisfied with having the maintenance paid and sell clicks or ads, but some other farms try to capitalize on everything and even try to invent terms of service where everything the farm animal has created on the farm is owned by the farm.
Sometimes I feel like an idiot doing actual work to create content myself, when I see that other people are just running platforms and receive much more fame and money even though they are doing nothing, except farming other people for their content. Sure the initial step is pretty hard to create a good system and to trap people in it, but once that is achieved you receive constant income, since farm animals once trapped, hardly ever leave, because of some form of Stockholm Syndrome.
There also exist ineffective farms which hardly bring profit or operate at a loss constantly, but the incompetent operators are happy with their privileged status on the platform itself, like being an admin or so. Their main goal is to extort power over other people, regardless of the initial intention of the platform. It is similar to the charity organisations that at first do real charity, but in the long run all donations are "lost" in the "management" process aka corruption. The same seems to apply to internet organizations like social media platforms, that once they are up and running they stop to do any real work and stop producing anything and just take in the profits that others generate for them for free.
So if you really want to become successful, you cannot do real work yourself, since you cannot do more than you can do yourself, but have to make others do the work for you. Once you accumulate the work of others, you become more famous than you could be with your own work and then you will be worshipped even more by the farm animals which in turn makes you gain more farm animals that produce more for you, which then will repeat the cycle. Well this sounds easy in theory, but the problem in reality is, once you become a human farmer instead of a human slave worker, you enter a whole other area of the game, where you then compete with other human farmers and this competition is hard, since most farmland is already owned by someone who will not give it away.
However I don't really recommend becoming a human farmer, since exploiting others is immoral and additionally I think it creates products of inferior quality, since most people you can trap into such systems are incompetent to begin with and of not much use when it comes to producing quality and also a human farm limits of what can be done, especially in art it is important to have freedom of expression which is necessary to create quality art.
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