By Tim Denning
Do you disco?
Her french accent transported me to another world. “Of course I do.” We went to the local disco on a Saturday night back in 2004. I shook the DJ’s hand to look cool. She didn’t care.
We went to the back room to get a drink and chill. A friend of hers pulled out a 3-megapixel camera. “You two look cute. Picture?”
Without time to respond her friend took a picture of us. I liked pictures. They’re memories my brain would forget due to mental illness. I asked her to email me the picture. I expected a simple response. The loud music muffled her answer.
“I’ll put it on The Facebook.”
I had no idea what she was talking about. I don’t want my face to feature in a book of faces. I just want the damn photo. That night I got home and sent her a text message. She sent me a link to ‘The Facebook.’ I went through a painful sign up process, all for one silly picture.
Turns out she went to Harvard University and was part of a Zuckerberg experiment that would later reshape our lives forever.
Show me the money
Traditional social media platforms get our content and personal information for free. They then use it to sell ads to businesses. We get $0 in return. In 2004 social media was a novelty. We were drunk with joy to be on an app with our friends. The novelty died a long time ago.
TikTok is a great example. A friend of mine set up an account a few months back. His second or third video got hundreds of thousands of views and his post got carpet-bombed with likes.
I said to him “What’s the point, mate?”
Quickly it hit him. Who cares. People are literally giving away their youth to an algorithm. If the platform dies tomorrow they walk away with nothing.
Vanity metrics don’t put tacos in our mouths. Millennials are drowning in college debt. We need money, not likes. Nobody expects to be paid millions for a selfie, but geez a 100% take-rate is way too greedy. We don’t buy it. The broken social media business model is now exposed.
The 0.5% follower lie
Talk to any well-respected content creator. They’ll tell you the organic reach of posts now is beyond a joke. You may as well stand on a soapbox at a New York subway and show your content to strangers. I calculated my organic reach on Facebook and Instagram. It’s 0.5%.
Social media taught us to care about followers. But the truth is the follower feature ruins our relationship. We have to get through the Berlin War that’s put between us. That digital wall will fall. Just you wait.
The dream we’re sold is followers. The reach is zero, though, because the spots have been reserved for ads and platform agendas. We get it. But we ain’t playing the game anymore. Quit the follower lie. It’s now a practical joke, a booby prize.
Over-engineered, over-polished content is the new Hollywood
Give me a badly taken photo that’s out of focus any day of the week.
Traditional social media has made everyone a Leonardo DiCaprio or a Kim Kardashian. Weirdos are walking around with mounted, shockproof, camera kits. The lighting rig used to be reserved for James Cameron film sets. Now everyone has a light to shine on their face, like angels from heaven.
I scroll traditional social media and think “who are these people?” Where are the beer guts? Give me a gym photo without yoga pants. Show me content that doesn’t have subliminal product placements scattered throughout.
It’s too much. Social media tried to make us perfect. The truth is we’re imperfect and don’t want to dress up like prom queens to get likes.
We want to hide
Social media creates career risk. If your new boss at Joe Shmoe company doesn’t like your Twitter feed full of political rants then you could be rejected. You won’t be told of course … that’s discrimination. Your messages and emails will simply be ignored.
Social media taught us to be hashtag authentic. That meant using our real name. I see a shift though. Millennials want to hide their name. It started on Twitter. People changed their names to a number instead of their full names. They even changed their name to match their Fortnite username.
Why? Do they hate the name their parents gave them? Nope.
Cancel culture. Political correctness.
We’ve had a gutful. We’re not allowed to make a mistake anymore. Every word we say is tracked by fact-checkers. It’s either agree or disagree, instead of my motto, which is “make people think.”
So millennials are saying “screw you. I’m now anonymous. How you like that?” No more hashtag authentic. Julia Lipton from Awesome People Ventures (yes, that’s the name) came up with a new term: forking your identity. It means your identity diverges into two instead of one.
All of these groups are undervalued in the workplace: women, people 50+, people without experience, and people from lesser-known places. Being an anonymous JPEG animal has more upside than their in-real-life identity.
These people forked their identities and started over based on pure merit. With an anonymous account, they built a brand solely on their contributions. Identity is fungible on the internet. — Julia Lipton
Anonymous online identities prevent cancel culture and bring back freedom of speech. We’ve had enough.
We’re tired of censorship
It’s well-known, according to Wall Street Journal stats, that for the last eighteen months if you publish a video on Youtube with the word coronirona or a certain president, it will be blocked.
What pisses millennials off is a lack of transparency when it comes to moderation. Obviously there are rules and you can’t put up a video from Saturday night of yourself stroking a cucumber. But shadowbans are a pain in the ass. Limiting reach of content without disclosure is beyond frustrating.
It’s done in the guise of “protecting us.” But why does Zucks get to decide what is right, what is wrong, and what is misinformation?
Moderation should be decided by the users, not a bunch of bros in a breakout room snacking on Mars Bars. Blockchain fixes this. Future social media apps will have a clear moderation policy. If you don’t like the policy then you can simply lift and shift your content to another platform. Simple.
Traditional social media is a dictatorship. Millennials want social media to be a democracy, without the nanny police to tell us we must say poo instead of sh*t. Millennials occasionally swear. Get over it.
We don’t trust your algorithm anymore
It’s supposed to understand us and our interests. It really represents your interests. Don’t worry, millennials went all 1996 on your ass. We just bookmark our favorite creators, join their email lists, and discover new content in Discord groups. Not ya algo, mate. Problem solved.
Notifications destroyed our rumpy pumpy time
We’re tired of getting tonnes of notifications on our phone from your apps so we can see fake urgency and increase the time we spend on your platform so your investors will give you Series Y funding.
Notifications ruin our most intimate moments when we’re trying to connect with the ones we love. Thankfully, companies like Apple have come to our rescue. They allow us to block all your trackers and easily turn off your notifications. The Brave Web browser also showed us your nasties. You don’t need to know what I had for dinner. Ever.
Mega influencers are a snoozefest
Traditional social media is clogged up with influencers who have millions followers. All they have to do is take a photo of themselves brushing their teeth and their like odometer explodes.
The content is crap. Seriously. A 5-year-old could make it. But the platforms are skewed towards these huge egos who are in love with themselves.
We want depth from people we follow.
That’s why micro content creators are making a comeback. Their focus is helpful content based on niche topics, not funding their next butt implants. We don’t want fame and brand deals. We just want to reach people and have a genuine, no bullsh*t, no selfie conversation. Is that too much to ask?
Random digital exile
As humans we’re tired of random bans.
In the normal world if you break the law you go to court to plead your case. You’re innocent until proven guilty. Why is it different with traditional social media apps? Why can Zucks ban you for life and not tell you why? Was it my pink flamingo shirt? Tell me.
Punishment in the digital world should be the same as in the physical world. A fair hearing. A chance to be heard. Empathy, perhaps.
There’s one giant sign we’re bored out of our brains
Have you noticed on many social media apps that people are changing their profile pics to a pixelated JPEG of a monkey or some other zoo animal?
If you were waiting for a sign millennials were tired of social media, this is it. These JPEGs are part of the NFT craze. Traditional social media thinks it’s a fad. It’s not. NFTs show you how bored we are with likes, influencers, and algorithms.
NFTs are a quiet protest.
NFTs tell you that we’re so bored of your social media apps driven by ads that we’d rather replace our profile photo with a bored ape smoking a cigar than put up a real photo of ourselves. That should be all you need to know.
Please don’t change a thing traditional social media apps. We’ve already given up. It’s too late. Daily activity will continue to decline. Your bonuses are going to zero. Tell the advertisers. Fold up the ping pong tables.
We found a new friend: Web 3.0. See ya in there with our barcode usernames and ape profile photos.
Lots of love, millennials.
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