Happy Freakin’ Friday!
This is my weekly missive to you with a subject that I’m thinking about – and believe you might want to think about as well. Today that subject is social media. More specifically, the decay social media is causing in our culture. It is creating permanent mental damage to young people (and some old), and destroying our faith in leaders, institutions, and our fellow humans.
As an author, I was able to use social media to dramatically promote my work to a wider audience. It allowed me to connect with my tribe and also keep a pulse on what was happening in the pop culture zeitgeist. But as most of you know, I left social media about six months ago. As the levels of toxicity, virtue signaling, and polarization increased, it became a losing proposition for me. I had no desire to win a medal in the Moron Olympics.
Frankly, it’s astonishing – almost beyond plausible belief really – how strongly social media has diminished the human condition. It would appear that there are now literally tens of millions of people so manipulated by computer algorithms, they are no longer able to make rational decisions for their own good. In essence, they need a conservator to stop them from their downward spiral of self-destructive behavior. They’re demolishing their relationships, sabotaging their careers, and extinguishing their happiness day-by-day, as they’re radicalized deeper down the rabbit hole of one toxic, polarizing viewpoint or another. They distrust everyone and everything and are susceptible to conspiracy theories so outlandish a second grader should see through them. Ultimately, they become reliable “useful idiots” to the politicians, movements, or marketers looking to manipulate them.
Each platform has devolved into their unique stew of mediocrity…
Tik-Tok: This is the app for people who are simply bored AF. They are frantic for mindless diversion to escape their lives of loud desperation.
Facebook: This OG of the social media space has morphed into the platform for the maudlin, melodramatic, manipulative, professional victim crowd. “Please pray for me. I just found out that the daughter of the guy who mows my neighbor’s lawn has leukemia.” “If you read all the way to the end and cut and paste this on your profile, I’ll know you love me…”
Parler/Truth Social: The platforms for people who hate reality and want to create a make believe alternative.
Instagram: The place where you show off your fancy restaurant meal, vacation pix, and your new BMW. (Not to mention your new breast implants and pouty lips.) This is the place to create the façade that your life is better than your neighbor’s.
Clubhouse: Is that still a thing?
Twitter: This is the political posture platform where the Trumpster mouth breathers go to own the libs, and the libs go to label everyone that disagrees with them as racist, homophobic, or Nazi. It's the apex predator on the food chain for virtue signalers. "I wear two face masks even when I'm driving alone in my car, in order to protect you and the other grandma killers."
It’s a pretty bleak landscape. Yet having said all that, I must admit I’ve struggled to replace some of the fun, enlightenment, and positive aspects that social media can offer. I’ve increased my podcast, blog, and newsletter subscriptions, but there are still many information inputs that haven’t been replaced. I miss the updates from fellow Sci-Fi enthusiasts about the books, movies, and tv series we love. Biting political satire by comedians. The reminders when it’s finale night for Idol, a new episode of we crashed is loaded on Apple TV, or there's a new flick from Iko Uwais and Lewis Tan. And shockingly, the intelligent discourse or debates on politics, technology, and science that can only happen because of the unintentional interactions on social media.
So I’m dipping the toenail from my little toe back in the water…
The platform I’ve always found the most rewarding is Twitter. Yes, there’s still lots of shit posting, virtue signaling, and snarky put downs. But it’s also the best gauge on what’s happening: What memes are running wild in the world, what pop culture is obsessing over, and breaking news at least 20 minutes before the news outlets broadcast it. If you’re a baseball nerd like me, it’s the only place online you will know the instant trades take place, contracts are signed, and get analysis on pitchers, hitters, and even umpire scorecards.
It’s also the only platform you can find intelligent people saying intelligent things, even if they’re sometimes saying them just to let you know they’re intelligent. Finally, it’s the only platform that you can eavesdrop on the conversations and analyze the thinking of people like Marc Andreesen, Alexey Navalny, Jacqueline Novogratz, Ray Kurzweil, Vitalik Buterin, Naval Ravikant, Katheryn Haun, Anthony Pompliano, Lucy Guo, Yuval Noah Harari, Bill Gurley, Balaji Srinivasan, Lex Fridman, Nassim Taleb, Steve Jurvetson, Josh Wolfe, Scott Belsky, Tobi Lutke, Paul Graham, John Collison, Patrick Collison, Shane Parrish, Jack Dorsey, S.E. Cupp, Jeff Bezos, Van Jones, Peter Pham, Ari Fleisher, Garry Kasparov, Chris Sacca, Kevin Rose, Andrew Sullivan, Jason Calacanis, Tim Berners-Lee, Cathie Wood, Peter Thiel, Ed Yong, Richard Dawkins, Amanda Carpenter, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Sam Harris, Ben Horowitz, and some guy named Elon. (Just to name a few.)
If we’re being totally honest here, even the dead people on Twitter have more intellectually stimulating conversations than the living peeps on other platforms. Make sure to check out @ProfFeynman @brucelee @dick_nixon @GonzoVice and @TheStoicEmperor
Which is all to say, I’m back on Twitter. But none of the others. (They will still be used to post my newest blogs, podcasts, and announcements.) I created a small but fierce list of accounts I follow, which allows me to get the great stuff I crave, but hopefully insulate me from the shit posts. And the other reason I’m back, is because I have things to say…
So when you want to bask in the glory of my magnificent tweets, chat me up, @ me, or cancel me – you can find me at https://twitter.com/Randy_Gage
Thought of the Day: Don't live in the past with anger. Don't live in the future with fear. Live in the moment with awe.
P.S. As you probably noticed by now, due to requests by many email-impaired readers, starting with this issue, we’re going to also start posting this newsletter on my blog each week.
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