Gaining traction–getting attention–on the internet is an opaque process for the most part. If, like me, you aren’t doing a frequent deep dive into how your content is getting served to the public then you probably have very little idea why something you post does or does not get clicks. To try and game social media algorithms is to play against masters of obfuscating data trails. Certain enormous retailers are equally secretive about how they intervene in the relationship between buyer and seller. To the liars fall the spoils, we must say in this situation, because the retailers and media corporations both hold the majority of the power and make a substantial amount of the money.
The joke to me is that the harder I try and use the interlaced nature of the internet, the worse my reach is. This blog for example: if I embed a video, if I use the scheduler, if I use the auto-repost function, my content goes unseen. Not just zero likes but zero views. This is, in a word, bullshit. We built the internet to be interconnected. Isn’t that what it’s a short form of, interconnected network? It’s like we built highway interchanges then put brick walls across them. What’s the point of the internet if every node on it savagely protects itself from all other nodes?
I didn’t know what this post was about when I started writing. Only that I wanted to test my theory above. I needed a post, and now I think what it’s about is to say that:
The point of the internet is not to make the shareholders of social media corporations rich. It’s to connect across a network.
Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Much rarer in practice.
A week ago I joined a Discord server hosted by one of my favorite authors (It’s invite only so don’t even ask, IYKYK.) It is one of the finest instances of people being quality on the internet: the encouragement from other members, the positivity everyone exudes, the ethical durability of the group rules, all at a time when I was kind of starved for human interaction. It is however a very select group. Small numbers seem important when maintaining the quality of social groups. I will be curious to see this group evolve, and I’m glad that I joined in the first days.
All relationships begin with unknowing. To get to know a person is to train your brain, to construct a reality within it that contains that other person. I’m maybe not sufficiently afraid of strangers, which is a gift of my race and social class, though statistics leave no one unharmed. But I like strangers, new people, potential. I like reaching out, even if now and then I get my fingers bitten. Haven’t lost one yet.