February 2, 2021•430 words
I had an epiphany today. Why are we giving social media our content for free? Some sites like YouTube give you a small piece of the pie but by and large the lions share still goes to them. It is almost becoming a digital reality show, complete with staged drama. Especially on Twitter.
In effect, social media makes money because we are willing to share our lives, and created content with them. Not only that, but we are also giving them a perpetual license to use that content as they see fit. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snap and numerous other social media sites are monetizing our content. They then use this content to draw more people in and gain even more content. This content ecosystem then contributes to the tracking of their user base for better Ad targeting.
Sure, there is the hope of becoming an "influencer". Becoming an influencer is more the exception than the rule. I would estimate that no more that 1%-2% of social media users actually become influencers. Given the size of the collective user base that is also probably a gross overestimation on my part. It's like chasing the dragon, social media edition.
Back to my original point though. Why do we do this? We are literally handing over the keys to our lives to a third party and saying sure you can have my life. All for the privilege of using their platform and having our every moved tracked. I also think it goes deeper than that. It is our need for acceptance and validation. Every time someone clicks that like button we get an endorphin hit. They like me, they really like me. That is what our brains tell us.
The problem with this is the crash that happens. We now need another hit so we generate more content to chase the validation. It's like drugs. Except the only money changing hands is between the advertisers and the dealer. We are the ones manufacturing the drugs and also getting high on our own supply. Let's stop doing it. I realize that I am saying this while literally posting content to listed but at least they aren't monetizing it.