Nothing Lasts Forever— Not Even On The Internet.

from NYTs

Social media is broken. It has poisoned the way we communicate with each other and undermined the democratic process. Many of us just want to get away from it, but we can’t imagine a world without it. Though we talk about reforming and regulating it, “fixing” it, those of us who grew up on the internet know there’s no such thing as a social network that lasts forever. Facebook and Twitter are slowly imploding. And before they’re finally dead, we need to think about what the future will be like after social media so we can prepare for what comes next.

I don’t mean brainstorming new apps that could replace outdated ones, the way Facebook did Myspace. I mean what will replace social media the way the internet replaced television, transforming our entire culture?

To find out what comes next, I went on a quest. I was looking for a deeper future than the latest gadget cycle, so I spoke to experts in media history, tech designers, science fiction writers and activists for social justice. I even talked to an entity that is not a person at all.

Collectively, they gave me a glimpse of a future where the greatest tragedy is not the loss of our privacy. It is the loss of an open public sphere. There are many paths beyond the social media hellscape, and all of them begin with reimagining what it means to build public spaces where people seek common ground.

More here.

, , , , ,

29 Responses to Nothing Lasts Forever— Not Even On The Internet.

  1. Corinne Roonan December 3, 2019 at 3:27 pm #

    The title of this really made me laugh, but the kind of laugh where you think “that is so preposterous… but wait.” The thought of the internet ending as a whole is almost insane to think about. It is probably just as insane as the thought of the internet existing was to those people who lived when the internet was introduced to society. While this focuses on the downfall of certain social media platforms and the difference of where social media is heading, the idea still stands.
    What will the next social media platform look like? Is it going to be a version of the same type of thing that we have now? It is hard to think of an entirely new social media platform, and that is the horrifying part about it. Anything new to exist on top of the social media platforms we have currently have the potential not only to continue to infringe upon personal rights to privacy, but on the rights of speech and the ability to have a difference of opinion.
    What happens when there is no room for a difference of opinion? That is an easy question to answer. All you have to do is look around at the current political climate we live in. There is no room for difference of opinion because everyone is so focused on “cancel-culture,” or the idea that it is okay to completely cut someone off if they do or say something that does not agree with your own opinion or set of beliefs. While that, in itself, is an incredibly outrageous idea to me, it is how people function in society now. So, it makes sense that any future social media platform is going to continue with that trend, only continuing to perpetuate that idea.
    That is what is really horrifying about the way the internet and social media is progressing. No longer is the internet a place where ideas and expression are possible, it is a place where ideas and expression are possible if your ideas fit the standard of ideas among the main population of online users.

  2. Stephen Hoffman December 3, 2019 at 3:37 pm #

    This article was a very interesting read, and one that led to a significant amount of reflection about what the landscape of social media looks like and the ways that it impacts our everyday life. We are truly more reliant on social media for contact than ever before. We now use social media more than any generation, and the ways that it is woven into our society is appalling to stop and consider. Companies have paid positions for individuals to manage their social media accounts, responsible for the marketing through Facebook or outreach on Twitter. More people get their news from Twitter than the newspaper, and use the site as a message board for all of their ideas (good and bad). Political speech has transformed itself into becoming available at the tips of our fingers, as American leaders use Twitter extensively to reach out to their constituents. The level to which we are reliant on social media is concerning, and American’s inabilities to perceive this as dangerous or a slippery slope only adds to the potential issues.

    One portion that I disagree with the contentions made by Newitz is the idea of permanent replaceability, or that these social media platforms are destined to phase themselves out after their cycle of success in the markets. When we look purely off of history, solely viewing what has happened in the past, her hypothesis would predict this same outcome. Just as Myspace and Friendster were replaced by Facebook, which has since been replaced by Instagram and Twitter, one would think that the newest social media platforms would later be replaced by something new and different. However, I think it is important to consider the way that these specific platforms are interwoven into our society. We now have people paid to be on Instagram, with titles like “Instagram Influencer” or other variations. People can become Twitter famous with 140 characters, allowing them to have their 15 minutes of fame before a new viral tweet replaces theirs. These values are more than just platforms, they are a part of society that may be harder to replace than we think. Companies have tried introducing new platforms, but we continue to flock to the Instagrams and Twitters of the internet to fill this desire. While her points are logical and reasonable, Newitz seems to take on an almost doomsday perspective on the issues, which I tend to disagree with (besides those concerning political usage of Twitter and social media-these we have absolutely reached doomsday with).

  3. Jackson Beltrandi December 3, 2019 at 11:17 pm #

    Ah. The classing saying about the internet, is that it lasts forever. Wait, what? Ever since I was in middle school, I have been taught that the internet is dangerous an to be smart about what you put on there, because it is held onto forever. However, this author, Annalee Newitz, wants to focus on the inevitability of change in social media. I completely agree with her opening remarks. She says, “(social media) has poisoned the way we communicate with each other and undermined the democratic process. Many of us just want to get away from it, but we can’t imagine a world without it.” This statement resonates with me well because lately I have been tracking my time spent on social media, and trying to reduce it. I have been practicing this because I have noticed how poor my social skills are. The more comfortable we get saying lol, lmao, or hahaha over text the less and less we can interact in effective communication. If you look at my text messages, you will se correct grammar and punctuation. While it may be kind of weird to talk like that over a phone nowadays, I don’t want to lose sight of the important skills I was taught as a youngster. I have always cared about how many likes I’ve gotten on my posts, but recently I have just given up against it. Now, if I take a picture with my friends I’ll post it and if the people I truly care about react to the post, I’m happy. I think this is important when we talk about mental health as well. Many of those who suffer from depression get it from not feeling included due to things such as Snapchat stories of people hanging out. Although social media is a good tool to stay in touch with people we care about, it is something that doesn’t last forever and should not cause any loss of sleep.

  4. Kevin Orcutt December 4, 2019 at 10:20 am #

    I think this is a well written opinion piece with multiple sources supporting her claim of the matter of what is happening in our society today in regard to the ever expanding market of technology and social media. What she tries to shed light on is the dark side of social media which needed to be done and posted in a big paper like the New York Times. She tries to uncover what may be next in store for us past social media and the way we communicate today while exposing current social media platforms. One thing she touched upon to expose companies was the topic we have been talking about in class for a while. This is the fact that big companies like Facebook on social media are requiring personal data to use their websites that are not really needed. This data is then not heavily protected, and we are at the mercy of this when companies have data breaches and our information is leaked to the world. She also brings up the topic how she thinks social media is going to implode on itself soon. I completely agree with this for a couple of reasons. The first is that people are getting more conscious of the fact that these companies are not worried about our information getting leaked and less people want to be exposed to this. Another reason is that people are getting tired of social media. Social media has become a negative place where it is not just interacting with your friends when you aren’t physically with them anymore. It has become a place of random garbage that is posted all the time and filling our minds with useless things rather than filling it with knowledge. Social media has almost made this recent generation into zombies because they do not stop using their phones to check what is going on in all of their friends’ lives constantly, which genuinely has no use to their personally life. I personally have cut back hours a day of useless surfing through social media and is a start to mostly cutting it out. I think that more people have to get on this trend so that social media companies are more aware that they are not the ruling body and cannot control us. The people are the ruling body in this exchange, but we just give the social media companies all the power when we sign up and give multiple rights away. Her suggestion at the end of the essay is that she suggest a slow media and truly private media between groups of people that you choose. Currently there are billions of pieces of media uploaded a day and by reducing that, it reduced the negativity and an open, unsafe place. Also, having something truly private, with no monitoring, would allow people to feel safe with their friends and voicing opinions that are only shared between them because they think alike and not with the rest of the world.

  5. Samantha Russo December 4, 2019 at 1:10 pm #

    Social media impacts every aspect of our lives. It’s hard to imagine it ever going away. Just this past week alone according to my “Screen Time” on my iPhone, I used Twitter for a time of 9 hours and 36 minutes and all social media for 15 hours and 7 minutes. I’ve picked up my phone a total of 502 times in just three days. People can easily get news on social media, like Twitter or Facebook, without ever having to turn on the television or read a paper. Presidential campaigns are being fully run on social media and hire people to run their accounts. In my campaign management class last semester, my shared role was running the Twitter account for our fictional candidate. We barely touched screen time on the television, rather spending our “money” on all things social media. We have become a country who fully relies on social media and our apps to communicate and get our news.
    I agree with the author that social media is going to implode soon. People are becoming more self aware of what kind of information the sites are taking from us and how we have no protection when it comes to being online. While there are so many positive things to social media, like staying in contact with family and friends who have moved away and seeing the latest breaking political news, there are also so many downsides that are going to cause people to become possibly stop using data. Someone I know had to stop using Facebook because her mental health, which was already bad, became even worse when she saw what her family was leaving her out of. Another important thing is that our data isn’t protected and these big companies don’t care about the average user. It doesn’t make sense for people to continue using these sites when it can cause serious problems when it comes to mental health or just your privacy. I know it’ll take a while for people to cut down on social media use (as I type this, I have Twitter running on another tab) but I think it’s where this country will eventually begin to head. Like the title says, nothing lasts forever – not even on the internet, and eventually people will realize this and drop it for their own sake.

  6. Samuel Kihuguru December 4, 2019 at 9:06 pm #

    I was simply blown away by this article – an opinion by New York Times describing what the future of social media means for us decades into the future! Social media has become an increasingly imploding factor in the way we live our lives. I was born in the age of the internet, but I remember what it felt like to first start up my Facebook profile. At the time, my understanding of the giant social media platform was in its ability to create for me a digital presence. I was able to define who I was and create an identity supported by the people, hobbies and culture that I was attached to. But as this media outlet has developed over the years, we identify the risks that come with an unregulated pool of information, such as the rise of fake identities, abusive or toxic content and news-replaced conspiracy theories.

    Mr. John Sclaz poses an interesting suggestion for what the future should hold for data regulation on these platforms – curation where your online profiles would begin with everything and everyone blocked by default. Not only would this shift the power of content privacy back into the hands of the user, who would only receive news and entertainment if they directly opted into them, but data-selling companies like Facebook and Google would be restricted from violating its consumers’ rights to privacy without consent. What I found most striking, however was Ms. Safiya Noble’s research on how media algorithms have been found guilty of amplifying human biases about everything from race to politics. In describing the concept of slow media and the possibility of curation by setting limits on how quickly content circulates, one can visualize the benefits that would come from quashing dangerous conspiracy theories before they lead to harassment or making sure that they have permission to post pictures of someone else (mitigation the hells of Instagram tagging!).

    But I wonder who should be deemed curator…media content sieving comes at the preference of a certain group, often failing to reflect the interests of an entire consumer base. As the old saying goes, “What is one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” What should happen is not a full curation of content by human moderators who could find it different to deem what is unsuitable or not in an age where freedom of speech has become a hot contemporary moral issue. But instead a way to distinguish distribution platforms for accredited news stories from the common vlogger’s conspiracy tweet.

    We are not denying the blogger from sharing a piece of his opinion on the free market media, but we must differentiate what our society, laws and institutions deem close to the truth versus the make-believes.

  7. Victoria Balka December 5, 2019 at 12:47 pm #

    Today, many people cannot imagine a world where they would not be able to use their favorite social media apps whenever they want to. This article was shocking to read because based off the way people are living today, it is hard to imagine a world where social media is not how we know it. Most people cannot go very long without posting or sharing something on social media and people are increasingly spending more time on it instead of doing other things. While it is not certain what will come to replace social media in the future, the idea of slow media was extremely interesting. I liked the idea of there being a period of time between you creating the post and it being posted. This feature will have many benefits because it will help users rethink what they are posting and be able to stop it from posting before people can see it. It will also be helpful because it would likely lead to people posting less since often people are posting what they are currently doing to show off. If there is a waiting period between posts showing up, it will also protect people’s safety in real life since people would not know everyone’s location as easily.
    While it seems like more people are aware of the dangers of social media and how it can impact them, I feel that some of the platforms will fall faster than others. I believe that the social media platforms that younger people are using will fall faster than the ones older people tend to use because younger people tend to be more educated on these dangers. Because of social media, people are interacting less in person and this can lead to other dangers since their posts can be read by strangers online but, in person you can choose and fully know who you are interacting and what you are sharing with that person. While it is hard to picture a world without social media as we know it today, it will eventually fall leading to the next big thing which would hopefully protect users private information more than today’s social media.

  8. Alyssa Lackland December 6, 2019 at 11:37 am #

    This article was terrifying but also super interesting. I understand Newitz is saying because millenials are definitely becoming pessimistic in their views on social media. As we have discussed endlessly in class, the internet and social media are an invasion of privacy, where all of the companies who reside online have access to our personal information in one way or another. Because people are becoming more aware of this every day, the pessimism is certainly increasing. Hence, I agree that the next generation of children who are born (who have parents that also grew up with full internet access and social media) will grow up with the mindset that social media is an invasion of privacy, and they shouldn’t trust just anybody on the internet. Mr. Scalzi’s idea to turn the whole system on its head with “an intense emphasis on the value of curation” then seems like a good idea. He says “your online profiles would begin with everything and everyone blocked by default” which fits the mindset that nobody can be trusted on the internet. While this idea may protect a lot of internet users privacy, it also poses the question of what online businesses would do. The world we are living in is in a transition phase– where every business seems to be implementing an online component. If businesses can no longer connect with consumers via online platforms, how will they conduct business? This question can also be applied to the part of the article where Newitz discusses eliminating social media all together in the near future. I personally don’t see this happening because social media is like a drug, and everybody who grew up using it is addicted to it; I’ll admit it, I’m definitely addicted to it. Social media provides instant gratification to everybody in one way or another, whether that be getting attention through posting a pretty picture or having fun “gaming” with your friends on Xbox live. So, while people are beginning to talk about social media with a negative connotation, they are still addicted to it. The real question is, what form will social media take on in the near future and how businesses will find a way to infiltrate it’s borders?

  9. Daniel J Cambronero December 6, 2019 at 11:44 am #

    All the commenters are right about one thing—social media is imploding. Many of the dire predictions about our future are predicated on this brief passing moment in internet history. And if we know anything, it’s that the internet changes all the time and so quickly we can barely keep track. Where did I leave my pager?

    And I would suggest that whatever comes out of the disputes between countries (President Trump is currently threatening French wines with tariffs because their online regulation is biased against Google, Facebook, and so on) and within countries over the power of the internet (like the Russiagate probes) will be tailored to address some of this. Europe already makes demands on their internet servers we do not. In Congress they talk about that all the time.

    Capitalism has given these entities unimaginable power, but the same was true of the railroads in the early 20th century. Now they’re a docile part of the economy. Things change. Sometimes for the better. Everything we point out about untrammeled fake news and misleading internet info helps people to learn how guarded they need to be about what they read on the web. People used to believe double exposures on a camera plate were pictures of ghosts.

  10. Mia Ferrante December 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm #

    Social Media has had a profound impact on many lives across the world. Our lives become increasingly more public, as we all share information on a variety of networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. This transition hit us like a truck, I remember when I was a kid there was no such thing as Facebook, and the internet was a place to find information. First, it was people spending time on Friendster, Myspace, and then eventually Facebook came along. Now, it’s rare to find a person who does not have a social media or networking profile. There are both pros and cons to social media. Some positive effects include becoming more informed about current events, research, interaction, and job search. Negative impacts of social media include cyberbullying, isolation, productivity levels, and privacy. Annalee Newitz poses a very good question in the article, “what will replace social media the way the internet replaced television, transforming our entire culture?” This got me thinking. Social media blew up within the last 10 years, so it is sure to change soon within our generation’s lifetime. I think the most important aspect of technology that will change is the user’s privacy. Today, more and more data about each of us is being generated faster and faster from more and more devices, and we can’t keep up. This is partially due to the amount of personal information those on social media give out, and partially due to hackers. The conventional wisdom is that the easiest way to stop social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from tracking and profiling you is simply by deleting your social media accounts. However, social media has had such an impact on the world today that it is hard to imagine a world without it. For this reason, I do not think social media is going anywhere. If anything, it will only evolve into something much greater which is scary to think about. Like Newitz, I am curious to see what the next big thing after the internet and social media is, and how it will continue to change each generation to come.

  11. Ryan Geschickter December 6, 2019 at 6:35 pm #

    After reading this article, one can totally make the assumption that social media plays a large role in our lives each and every day. Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat take a large chunk of our time away from our families and friends. There is some responsibility that comes with every post that we carry out in various sorts of social media. For a while everyone always said that we should always think before we texted or posted anything to make sure that we are being sincere due to the fact that jobs companies look at our social media profiles. These companies do this because they want to see what type of client they are getting and how they would be an asset to their company. It’s crazy that now we can put our name into the google search bar and get pictures of us or descriptions about us from different sources. While this is a terrific tool in the business standards one can feel that this method is a method of privacy invasion, very similar of what we did in our past TID assignments. But as time has gone on, these companies have in a way given up due to the immense amount of data that it receives consistently. In addition, we see that people are concerned with the constant surveillance by the internet and social media outlets. These social media platforms (i.e Facebook, Twitter) consistently monitor what we look at on other sites and advertise it through their individual site or app. To combat this constant surveillance, the only real solution is to just get rid of or delete their social media profile in general. Social media continues to be more ever growing and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of slowing down. Social media is both a blessing and also a hurtful tool, but we can always hope that it will be used for positive purposes only.

  12. Alexander Nowik December 6, 2019 at 7:45 pm #

    I found a lot of this article to be at the very least thought provoking. The part I found the most interesting however, was the idea of “slow media.” I think one of the biggest problems with social media is the idea that anything posted gets the user almost instant gratification. The idea that a website would take intentionally more time to review any information before it is spread sounds interesting. And I guess it comes down to whether or not companies like Facebook have the responsibility to control spread of (pardon the expression) fake news. If we are in a society in which people believe everything they read on an internet forum, then do the moderators of that forum have the responsibility to restrict that content, and how does free speech factor into that argument? A part that made me laugh in this was the AI spitting out – “You may not transmit a child virus, via Bluetooth, Group Connection Beans/Sweets, or bee Collision Marketing Eradia virus with your Student or Student Solutions Phone.” This part gave me just a glimmer of hope and lightness in the face of the dark future of AI and the internet.

  13. Julia Garlock January 18, 2020 at 3:58 am #

    This article caught my attention, growing up everyone is always told be careful what you say or post because once it’s on the internet it’s there forever. After reading the article, I realized that that’s not what it was about at all. The article was written to express the unknown. This was not about how things last forever on the internet, but rather how the internet won’t last forever and eventually something is going to replace it. The question is what will replace it? Eventually everything gets outdated, but change happens over a period of time and usually we don’t see it coming.
    We are never going to have a definite answer on how the internet will get outdated or replaced until it actually happens. We have all grown up with this lifestyle where we always have access to the internet, we are always updating our social media accounts, and we are always on our phones. It is brought to our attention all the time, like it is something bad about our generation. Is it really bad though? That times are changing the world is modernizing with technology, or the fact that technology has become apart of everyday life. Why is this always brought to our attention is the real question. We are constantly told that we don’t know how to socialize, our people skills our poor, and that our manners are dwindling. What not everyone can see is that social media is where some people feel most confident, where they feel like they can be heard, or voice their opinions. The sad part about all of this is that just as much judgement is received on social media as what is received everyday in life. Yet people are still too scared to voice their opinions and hide behind a screen. What happens when the internet is gone? How will some people continue voicing their opinions? With times advancing people will have to progress too, but that’s not always in our best interest because to face the facts not everything is improving.
    Internet was a period of globalization and advancement in technology. It has been made into a platform unique from any before with, different apps and pages that do many people have access to. Without it there is really no future look at what we will do, how things will change again or how people will have to change again. We don’t know what is going to happen, all we can do is hope things continue to improve. While at the same time people improve and better themselves at the same time.
    A final thought I had is why do people need to be protected from social media apps like facebook? From tenth grade on I can remember watching conspiracy theories on iphones listening through facebook, explaining the relevant ads to products spoken about with phones and computers present. With this advantage of information it seems to me that people would be much better of being careful about personal information and keeping it away from technology period including these social media apps. People only become victims of social media if they allow themselves to. In my opinion because the internet is the main way for all different types of people to communicate evolution away from it seems unlikely in the near future.

  14. Steven Kang January 23, 2020 at 10:54 pm #

    I knew after just looking at the title that I had to read this article. In nearly any technology course or any lesson on internet safety, the teacher will say something along the lines of, “be careful what you post on the internet because that will be on there forever.” Nonetheless, Newitz brings up many significant points about the role of social media in our lives. Her opening remark about how social media has, “poisoned the way we communicate with each other and undermined the democratic process. Many of us just want to get away from it, but we can’t imagine a world without it” (Newitz) is completely relevant in our society today. Giant social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter dominates many of our interactions today. It is completely expected when we live in the golden age of digital information.
    I honestly can’t imagine another platform or genre even coming close to the impact of social media, never mind replacing it, so I was interested in Newitz’s “quest”. The first thing that interested me was the idea of social media being more willing to “bow down” to the government authority. Newitz proposes, “Is it possible to create a form of digital communication that promotes consensus-building and civil debate, rather than divisiveness and conspiracy theories?” (Newitz). Social media is great in that we can interact with each other so easily, but what about the information we spread to each other. Social media can be seen as lost souls guiding lost souls, which describes its main flaw. Newitz even touches on this topic when she talks about the original intentions of Facebook and Twitter. Their original plan of a public square turns to, “1970s network television, where one person at a time addresses the masses” (Newitz).
    As person that does not use any public social media like twitter or Instagram, I know it leaves me in the dust. I have always believed that managing social media was too tedious, but it feels much more worse knowing that I need it for my future. After reading this article, I’m curious to see where social media takes us and its role in our society.

  15. Trevor Olivas January 24, 2020 at 11:37 am #

    Nothing truly lasts forever in the world. Technology and the internet have become a greater part of our life in recent years. It has become easier to communicate with people in our society through social media but simultaneously, companies also have the ability to communicate with us more. In our society, the question of what role the internet will play in future generations is a looming question. The biggest issue users face is the regulation of information shown to them and the management of private data. While big companies are currently being pressured by the public to stop the collection of private data for business purposes, the truth is that we won’t see any improvement. We can see potential improvements by using a method such as slow media and by developing a new digital communication platform that can act as a regulated and safe environment.
    Interestingly, I agree with most of what the article is proposing. An internet experience in which everything starts off blocked seems like an idea that should already exist. This would allow users to completely personalize their internet experience. People will then continue to think more about the information they are consuming and sharing. However, a potential con in this method is the limitations it may place upon people. I feel like this feature would only go to further produce a society of limited mindsets where they are only focused on what we want to see instead of other important areas such as the news and politics.
    Additionally, the rules of these 3-dimensional environments mentioned by Ms. Kendall seem to be quite unreasonable. These rules were put into place to combat fake people in order to make the chat room as secure as possible. Various issues arise by basing your online validity or credit on meeting face to face. First of all, it seems to make the use of reality like VR pointless as one would basically be required to spend my time offline to prove who I say I am. By then, it would seem as though spending time in the real world with someone you already know would be a way better idea. The concept of meeting up in the real world with an anonymous stranger is very dangerous. The company running the experience would have to either be informed of where they are going or have designated spots to meet in order for users to feel some sense of security. Overall, this requirement seems useless as some people simply want to enjoy the experience and talk instead of having to go through the process of meeting in person and additional other steps.

  16. Tim Foo Siam January 24, 2020 at 12:50 pm #

    After reading the title of the article, the content that followed was not what I expected. I inferred that the article would be about social media posts and something contradicting the fact that a post you make on the internet is never really gone. Instead I was led down the rabbit hole that is Newitz research on the future of society after social media.
    In my opinion, the results that Newitz received from asking the A.I. about the future seems silly. I don’t believe we will be using things like “detachable drones” and “Group Connection Beans”. Just saying those phrases out loud confuses me. However, we are making such large advancements in technology and research that it would not surprise me if something of the sorts were to occur. If we do approach this new era after social media where we are using beans to talk with our friends and other people around the world, it may mean that our society will no longer have our noses glued to our cellular devices.
    In my opinion, the fact that we are worrying about the world post-social media is scary. It shows that we are too attached to social media. Social media has such a large presence in our everyday lives that it is scary. App developers form their apps in a way that it appeals to the users because it reminds them of other social medias. An example being Venmo, an app that allows you to transfer money to friends. Venmo has incorporated a component to their app that allows you to attach a comment to a payment you make, and all of your contacts who use Venmo will be able to see what you say. Social media is even encroaching into things that are as simple as online payments, and I feel that it is unnecessary.
    People are too worried about how many likes or retweets that they get on social media. I think that it is crazy that people are able to make a living solely off of making posts on Instagram. I feel that if someone were to tell us ten years ago that making money off of sharing pictures of yourself with a caption to the internet could pay for your house, we would all laugh. But now it is reality.
    I am somewhat fearful for what will happen after social media, but I hope that it will be something that will help people be less glued to our phones. Our youth has become so addicted to staring at screens all day that it has become difficult to find someone who isn’t.
    I hope that the “real-life spaces” that Newitz discusses in the article can become a reality. It is something that has worked well in the past, but our current generation has never really experienced. Talking with another person face-to-face is becoming less common and it has taken a toll on our youth as well. It has handicapped our public speaking skills and prevented us from reaching our true potentials. We can only wait and see for where technology will take us.

  17. Kyle Spivak January 24, 2020 at 2:11 pm #

    The article itself is interesting, in the sense that (in my opinion) it is almost a contradiction. The writer states that nothing last can forever, however, we have been taught and told that everything that is posted and shared on the internet DOES in fact, last forever. We all have a digital footprint, one that which cannot be completely erased. Even if Facebook or Twitter disappear the data is still there. The data will forever be there; Facebook, Google, Apple, etc. all have keep servers with backlogs of our search histories, our posts – which again, establishes and creates our digital image/footprint. Wherein that Social Media itself does not last forever, I do agree with. The way the platform exists in its current state is toxic (as noted in the article). There are no concrete checks and balances for checking what is true and what is considered fake, clearly evident within the 2016 Election when Russian News Outlets posted and shared fake articles that were then shared by the masses.
    Social Media, and the way the internet works today is due for a change – and in that case, I guess it will not last forever. The way we as a society view the internet as a news source needs to change, and we need to adapt. Journalism itself as been infatuated with getting the “best scoop” in the fastest way possible, which helps the spread of misinformation. Not to mention, “influencers” on Social Media, more often than not, are not doing any influential work.

  18. Matthew Pavlik January 24, 2020 at 6:27 pm #

    How do people protect each other from themselves? Or, better yet, how do people protect each other from themselves while keeping away from the temptations provided online by corporations in the form of Social Media? This article proposes corporate paternalism, highlighting the “dangers” of Social Media without digging too deeply into the fact that its biggest danger is the people on it. Logically, a corporation would not change a major source of their revenue (ad-based data mining) unless there was either a government or social pressure to do so, and the article’s assertion that there would be “a rich market for companies that design apps or devices to help people curate the content and people in their social networks” is less believable than a company choosing to lose profits out of respect for the interests of whom it provides service to.

    At first, the article opens with a straw-man argument; Social Media is broken, people do not want it, yet they can not get away from it. In other words, the author does not like it, will not stop using it, and feels that other people are in the same boat. Fair enough, but how does she propose to deal with it? Other than using buzz words (“undermined the Democratic process”), she looks to the past to try and see the future of both Social Media and the Internet. Going on, the author even recognizes one, if not the most, pressing issue with these platforms: the companies that own and run them do it for profit, harvesting data and selling it with no regard for ethics. So, now that the problem has been identified, how do the people handle it? Well, the next phase of the article is pure hyperbole.

    With every two paragraphs starting by quoting a different person, this author ends up compiling a laundry list of complaints, observations, and theories to back up her ultimate point; Social Media will end, but she has no idea what’s next. Instead, she fantasizes about the possibilities, from curated content and slow media to a digital city (think Virtual Reality Chat applications but mainstream). While the author undertakes a huge task in trying to compile a sense for the future, she simply misses the mark of inspiring a change in this ecosystem she (correctly) deems as corrupt and wrong. Furthermore, she claims that it can be fixed from the beginning to the end of the article, culminating in a look back at human history and democracy, yet she does not provide an answer to the dilemma.

    Honestly, this article reads almost childishly. Not to get too pessimistic, but it is hard to read it as anything other than her saying, “I do not like this and these people agree, so here are some suggestions that are neither plausible nor achievable within the near future, if at all.” Of course, that is the beauty of this opinion piece, and one of the few things about it that I appreciated; by being about the future of the internet, the author really could have written anything. If she wrote that Social Media would become similar to a VR MMORPG (which she actually did suggest), I could not contest that because I have seen just as much of the future as everyone else. Moreover, by using phrasing such as “unintended consequences” and by including much of what was said by a science fiction author, she attempts to bring us into this sort of Sci-Fi future caused by the replacement of Social Media, leading me to read this article less and less seriously until the end, “We may need to slow down, but we’ve created democracies out of chaos before. We can do it again.”

  19. Austin Minogue January 24, 2020 at 7:49 pm #

    Today there are a lot of opinions about social media technologies and how they are being used. Some people will think that they are the greatest invention ever, which they are in some sense but have many drawbacks. As the article discusses social media today is forever changing as there are many new technologies that are readily available to replace platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. It is the issues of privacy however that cause some of the biggest concerns with platforms such as these and the future of them. People spent multiple hours per day on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many other sites all of which collect your personal data. Which then allows them to profit by selling it to other companies. Which according to their user agreement each and every user has agreed to. This can be something that can be very scary in the eyes of many as nothing in their life is private and can be used by anyone that is willing to pay for the data. Therefore, the article refers to the internet as broken because it is simply put a scheme to drive up profits and is a platform for personal information. In the interview of Ericka Hall, she described the internet as “I absolutely believe that you can design interfaces that create more safe spaces to interact, in the same way we know how to design streets that are safer.” With that she said that the main problem with the internet and all these apps are the profit driven companies of Silicon Valley that feed off people’s information and data. The internet can be an amazing place that is great for everyone but without a change in the way business regarding the internet is done there will be no progress. Which limits the user experience of social media platforms as well as inhibiting the future of new social media platforms.

  20. Cameron Nuessle January 24, 2020 at 7:57 pm #

    Since social media has come about, we have began to grow closer to relying on it in our daily lives and this has become sort of a vice in our daily lives distracting us from the more important aspects such has family and friends. These networking sites have brought us together on a platform for communication but have made humans grow away from one another in reality like we have never seen before. The contradictory statement I question the most is that ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ but it is taught that whatever personal information that we provide on the internet can affect us in the future and can have long lasting ramifications prohibiting us from a career or educational opportunity. On the internet today, we have limited privacy and that is being exposed by companies daily in order to advertise to us and they are basically creating a profile for our interests. We take that as a bad thing but as mentioned in the article, if we lose all public spaces that limits the growth of humanity by taking away the voice of everyone in society and the opportunity for difference in thought. No matter what the next generational platform is, there will always be consequences that we did not expect. Not every app is designed to make the world a better place. Twitter and other social platforms feed off of debate and gain revenue by indifferences. Although nothing lasts forever, I believe apps like Facebook and Twitter will be here for a significant amount of time because there is lots of opportunity for companies to make money by advertising, promoting, and so on. Facebook was on the decline in around 2014 and has gained a significant amount of new people because of the ability to connect with other people at light fast speeds. This has increased advertising and given people less privacy. The one downfall of these platforms is how it is easy to alter the scheme of things. These platforms are prone to bots and hackers, and a platform reducing this would be popular. The ability to manage your profile is considerably easy and get free access to breaking news is another convincing aspect to stay on the platforms and has given people less privacy. This gives companies the ability to look through your thoughts and information like never before. The thought of bringing about slow media would not work in my opinion because people use platforms because they are quick and easy to manage, slowing down this process would make it less appealing and wont be as popular. The need for a private platform is at an all time high and an app protecting societies privacy. I agree with the part of the article that explains the idea for a new platform which gives us the ability to set preference of what we see regarding ads, and stuff that interests us the most because that will benefit our wants and needs the most

  21. John LaFrance January 24, 2020 at 8:29 pm #

    Social media and online privacy is an extremely hot topic today. There are countless debates about how we share information and how companies use that information to make money. Also, there is no doubt that conflict arises on social media. There are intense arguments and the spreading of false information. The author of this article, Annalee Newitz seems to believe that it’s time to move past social media and create something new to dominate our free time and online communication. While I agree that there are many issues with social media, I think that it is here to stay.

    Newitz brings up some very valid points about how social media companies like Facebook can use our private information to make money from advertisers. She talks about the Chinese company, WeChat and how their users in China do not expect any data privacy. She says that Facebook, “might take on WeChat’s values in the name of competition” (Newitz). Additionally, Newitz describes how social media companies are not regulated by humans, but rather algorithms that decide what is “okay” to post. She brings up the idea of having human moderators behind these companies. Overall, Newitz comes across as if she is entirely against the concept of social media itself. She notices valid problems with the platform (like privacy), but offers some solutions that are just not practical (human moderators).

    In my opinion, the answer to much of the problems of social media, including “fake news” and online conflict, is about education. Children must be educated about the dangers of social media from a young age. It is getting more and more popular and children are joining at very young ages. They must be taught about how the information on these platforms can be posted by anyone and may not necessarily reflect reality. After all, that is what makes many of these platforms like YouTube and Twitter so popular. Teaching our children to be educated and informed about the dangers of social media can fix some of these issues regarding the spread of misinformation.

    However, I do believe action needs to be taken against corporations that may be using private data in unethical ways. We have seen multiple companies, specifically Facebook and Amazon questioned about how they collect and use the data of their users. Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress about Facebook’s use of customer data was widely covered by the media. If it is true that our private data is at risk, it is a serious problem, which may warrant some of the more radical solutions that Newitz may want to see.

    From her conversations with everyone from technology experts to science fiction writers, Newitz develops an opinion about how the future of online communication must be different. I believe that she has a very pessimistic view of social media. Social media is here to stay and it is only getting more popular. Some of its issues can be solved with education, while other issues may require legal actions against corporations.

  22. Robert Farawell January 24, 2020 at 8:38 pm #

    Social Media is both one of the greatest and worst inventions humanity has ever created. It allows us to communicate with billions of people around the world without having to leave the comfort of our homes, yet it has also allowed the our private data to be in the hands of various entities that we would prefer didn’t have it. This situation can’t last forever, inevitably people will either push for the government to change how these websites conduct business or they will abandon these websites for better ones. The question that arises from these conclusions is what new form of media should arrive after the death of Facebook and Twitter.

    One of the oddest proposals brought up in this article is the ideal of the public broadcasting website. I find it hard to believe that an “anti-YouTube” could exist, this is mainly due to the existence of the website http://www.Patreon.com. Patreon is a crowdfunding website that allows users to pay a weekly donation to a creator of their choice. A creator can be anyone on the website that is providing a service on or off the website, this can be anyone from artists to journalist to non-profits to YouTubers (term for people who professionally create videos on YouTube). Patreon allows for YouTubers to have an alternative source of income to ad driven YouTube. Thus, Patreon makes the creation of an “anti-YouTube” irrelevant because it already does what a public broadcasting website can do, but with a much wider variety of services to support, and as a result a much wider customer base to provide funds for the website.

    One the largest problems this article has is that it believes that most people will want to have a slow curated internet social media. Now I will say that there is a market for “slow media”, but many people will find this format boring. For many social media are place where you share memes and interact with the latest craze in internet culture. “Slow media” would kill this aspect of the internet entirely if there to no alternatives to it. Viral memes and videos will be a thing of the past, as everyone would be separated into their own little groups separated from each other. That said memes will not be entirely a thing of the past, rather each social media clique will have its own in group memes that will be share among themselves.

  23. Alexander Silverstein January 24, 2020 at 8:57 pm #

    In Annalee Newitz’s “ A Better Internet is Waiting For Us”, the first sentence could not be more accurate, “ Social Media is broken. It has poisoned the way we communicate with each other and undermined the democracitc process. Ever since learning about social media, I was not a fan of it. I did not like the idea of sharing private information or my opinions on the internet. However, I gave in when I created a twitter account in October 2015 to keep up to date with the wild race for the republican nomination. Throughout the course of the 2016 general election, politics on twitter become a cesspool. Everytime I opened the app, there would so many toxic arguments between people. People were so rude to others over the internet when they don’t even know each other in real life.

    Social Media has definitely undermined the democractic process. According to Wired’s article “ How Russian Facebook Ads Divided and Targeted US Voters Before the 2016 Election, Russian ads targeted, “ voters in Wisconsin with gun ads about 72 percent more often than the national average. She also found that white voters received 87 percent of all immigration ads. This article shows that Russian groups deliberately targeting swing states during the 2016 election in key swing states to undermine the democractic process so the candidate they preferred of Donald J Trump would be elected President of the United States.

    Newitz continues the article by stating, “ Facebook and Twitter are slowly imploding. And before they’re finally dead, we need to think about what the future will be like after social media so we can prepare for what comes next”. I disagree with this statement because I do not see social media ending. For the past decade, people have grown up and accustomed to living in a social media society where everything is public and people are able to share their entire lives through an app. Even if social media did end, I think something would be created that is very similar to it because people in society love social media and everything that it brings good or bad.

    Overall, as social media becomes bigger and bigger in society, it is up to the companies who own these sites to regulate it and keep it in an environment that does not destroy society forever.

  24. Casandra Medina January 24, 2020 at 9:19 pm #

    Though the social media would not be around for a long time, the internet will ALWAYS be around. Felt the need to address that because the title of this article gives a tad bit of misleading. From a consumer point of view, I think the way that social media is expected to turn into seems amazing. Giving the privacy back to the “regular” people is like a dream come true but, I do not believe that the world will ever go back to giving complete privacy. The way I see it as long as we have a government with the amount of secrecy we will never have true privacy nor true freedom (but that is another discussion for another day). The thought of “curating” social media is nice but it will never happen because of the profit that will be loosed. As mentioned in the article if we take the road of complete privacy and curating social media, hundreds if not thousand of companies will lose their main source of advertisement resulting in the drop in revenue. Since social media is run by corrupt governments and corporate America I see this idea of private social media being shut down quickly.

    The only probable solution for getting complete privacy is by boycotting social media and technology all together. But, again, it is nearly impossible because of how much we as humans rely on social media and technology. We are addicts. No matter how much we may complain we can not stop even if we wanted to because we have developed such a need for likes and views and validation all together. People will do anything to feel that they mean something, especially since now you are able to make a living off of it. I think that the first step towards complete privacy is to stop feeding into the addiction. This is not a generational problem as most boomers would claim, it is an addiction that is fueled by Hollywood and our government.

    In regard to Hollywood I am a STRONG believer that it is COMPLETELY controlled and used by the U.S. government for the U.S. government. Through Hollywood the U.S. has been able to create an army of selfie and duck-faced addicts! The way I see it, social media is more addictive than any drug that the government can produce. The government has made social media so relevant that even if you wanted to go “off the grid” you could not. Your school is online. Your job is online. Your entire life is online so how could you live off the grid? Through the use of the Kardashians, youtube influencers, and Instagram “baddies” the government (and hollywood) has convinced us that THIS is what we need. That our validation must come from complete strangers and with unrealistic/unachievable lifestyles.

    So back to privacy, we will never go back to the days of complete privacy because how will the government control us then?

  25. Pablo G. January 31, 2020 at 5:21 pm #

    I found this article very interesting even though, I disagree on some of the points explained. We live in an era of YouTubers, Instagramers and more user-generated content, where the impact of social media is reflected when we find consumers sharing and exchanging opinions between them and / or with brands, or giving likes, or posting comments on their favorite brand.
    The arrival of social media has changed the way of advertising. Word of mouth recommendations have been replaced by comments posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, influencing buying behavior. Social media has such a big value for companies today because in order to attract people they will post adds on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more because they know it will be more effective than using traditional methods (tv, radio etc.). In addition, the majority of customers first go to the social media of a company, before looking for information on its website. They seek positive and negative comments from customers, recommendations to make use of a product.
    Also, I disagree with the contentions made by Newitz is the idea of permanent replaceability, or that these social media platforms are destined to phase themselves out after their cycle of success in the markets. Social media has become a part of ourselves. We are addicted to see what is going on every five minutes in our phone. It’s a fact that we cannot live without social media because a big part of us lives in it whether is in Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. and I’m sure that new apps will replace the ones we currently have, if these ones phase themselves out after their cycle of success in the markets. I don’t see people living without social media at all.
    Finally, I would like to talk about the limited privacy we have thanks to these platforms. Many times, our personal data is used by third parties and becomes a currency for transactions on illegal occasions. The risks of sharing personal data can be countless. In fact, these are risks that comes with every social media. When a person shares with another person a fact that only she/he knows increases the risks. Imagine when that same data (photography, comment or personal information) is shared with hundreds of thousands or millions of people. Some people will say that the information that is usually disclosed on social media is irrelevant or that it does not add value to anyone regarding privacy, but they are really making a mistake.
    The information we publish on social media tells a lot about us, and can be used to define, for example, personality profiles, political affinities, contacts, location, etc.
    Furthermore, this allows not only to make sociological profiles of groups or people but, also provide useful information to deduce, for example, passwords that we use in the accounts we have associated.

  26. Matthew N February 7, 2020 at 6:15 pm #

    This post caught my attention because saying “Nothing Lasts Forever – Not Even On The Internet” was an interesting choice. You usually grow up with your parents or even friends telling you “Youtube is forever” because most people are on social media sites for more than just for fun.
    In some areas I disagree with the fact that social media is slowly fading. Social media has become an outlet for a variety of people, and in some cases, it is some people’s jobs. Lots of companies use social media as free advertisement for promotion of their brands. Since many people rely on social media to get their news or updates, using the advertisement methods on social media can and will help companies grow. Some big companies will often expand their marketing team to a social media content team that will reach their goal objective on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.. Most of the time people visit company’s Facebook pages to read reviews there instead of a third party website. Being in the social media generation, I feel that it is easier to spread the word on different brands and share your experiences with them. Again, I disagree with the idea that social media might be fading away very soon because I don’t think companies will give up the free advertisement opportunities that each website can present itself. It would be too costly for the business and lack of exposure can draw them out themselves.
    However, there are some concerns with the growing population that social media has to be careful of. The biggest issue social media faces and will face for as long as it is around, is the invasion of privacy. Not just for looking people up on occasion to see if you find your friend from high school, but the privacy of data collection can be dangerous for yourself and others. Even with the user agreements that each platform makes you read and acknowledge before signing up, there is no guarantee your privacy will be protected, as those sites will sell the data to make a profit. Whether it be for target advertisement or very inconsistent polling, the privacy of social media can be a major factor into whether it stays around for a while. Less and less people are now having trust issues with governmental interference or simple hacks into your accounts, and risking your life.
    Even though the internet has become a hazard for profit share ability, there are some that believe the internet is in good hands. Erika Hall explained, “I absolutely believe that you can design interfaces that create more safe spaces to interact, in the same way we know how to design streets that are safer.” Unfortunately, I don’t think profit first companies like Silicon Valley will be agreeing with this statement. The internet should be used as a platform for safety to all and all that use it, especially the ones on social media.

  27. Maria Brock February 7, 2020 at 8:58 pm #

    Immediately this article was a standout for me, the title itself makes the reader do a mental double-take. For years our generation has been taught to be careful and wary about what they post or share because once it’s on the internet it’s out there forever. Growing up with this mindset people now believe their social media platforms are just as important, if not more important, then who we are as human beings in the real world. Social media though once intended to be a helpful and quick way to connect with others has morphed into a distorted view of how we view ourselves and the world. Social media causes more harm than good, and according to this article will one day be irrelevant.

    A powerful point made by the author was that in the future the world will be full of “internet pessimists” and “internet realists.” I personally believe that the age of internet skepticism is already upon us. Even in today’s world, we find it hard to believe what we see on the internet; everything is fabricated and enhanced. Every time I open social media, see an advertisement or read an article, I ask myself if it is reliable. Can I trust this source, or person, or company? In an age of online shopping, I fear purchasing items because how am I positive they will be delivered? How do I know that the site won’t just take my money and my information? The same can be said about social media, how do I know that my “friends” are the only ones who can see my posts. Just because my account is private, is it truly private? It’s shocking to me how easy it is to find people online, a quick google search and a few links later I can know everything about a person, including where they live and who they live with.

    It’s crazy to think that not even twenty years ago most people did not have personal access to the internet. Most companies did not have a website let alone a vast online platform. In a section of the article, the author discusses how quickly media changes, how every system if eventually replaced. Going all the way back from social clubs to newspapers, to the radio then television, to the internet and now smartphones forms of media are constantly changing. It is only a matter of time before the internet, especially social media, is replaced with the next up and coming technological advancement. As we have progressed as a society, we have lost our sense of Genuity. Therefore, I believe that the author is correct in his assumption on what the future holds for social media.

  28. laura c February 10, 2020 at 12:29 am #

    When I first read the title of this article, I was quickly tempted to click on it and read it. Honestly, I am in disbelief that someone in this day and time truly believes that the internet can just fade away. For most people, first thing they do when they wake up is check their phone, check any new notifications, any news, etc. This generation doesn’t even watch the news on TV and a newspaper… what is that? Personally, I find out all current events from Twitter or Instagram because the internet is that much quicker with it. When the news first broke about Kobe Bryant (may him and the rest of the people on the helicopter R.I.P) social media found out about it first than any news station. People live on social media and rely on the internet too much. It’s sad but it is the truth.
    Now, let’s discuss companies and their ads. This article was claiming something about how people can pay to avoid seeing advertisements, which is 100% true but not in all cases. Companies used to pay to advertise their products on billboards and magazines but now companies pay Instagram models to feature their products on their profiles. Yes, I said Instagram models because now a day people actually get paid to have a lot of followers and be “pretty.” It’s crazy but people actually have “careers” because of the internet. Families, couples, children, people of all ages make money (some make millions) out of making and posting videos of them doing their makeup, vlogs, story times, pranks, etc. Not only is being an Instagram model a profession for some people now but you can now be a YouTuber too. And some people actually care enough to watch all of these videos. The internet helps you build a platform for yourself because of the followers you have. Let’s say I am really into makeup, I have like five thousand followers on Instagram so I decide to take things a step further and make a YouTube channel. My videos start going viral and because so many people are showing so much love, I decided to start a makeup line and just like that I am an entrepreneur. Social media helps people expand in the real world too.
    The internet is like a universal place. There is something for everybody. The younger generation uses Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. The older generation uses Facebook. The internet has websites where everyone can meet no matter your race, religion, or sexual orientation/preference. The article stated that, “Facebook has 2.4 billion users, dominating every part of the world except China.” Now imagine that… 2.4 BILLION USERS out of roughly about 7.7 billion people in the world. And you’re trying to tell me the internet is going to just fade away one day? That is just too hard to believe.

  29. SergioA February 21, 2020 at 10:08 pm #

    Nowadays, we need the internet for almost everything, for example, to go to places using GPS, communicating through social networks, searching for information on Google, reading books, etc. I don’t agree with the title of the article that says “Nothing lasts forever-not even on the Internet”. I think that since we were little we have always been taught to be careful with what we post on the internet, whether it is photos, comments, opinions, videos, etc. In my opinion, I believe that anything that is uploaded on the Internet can last forever, not necessarily on the Internet. How? Very easy, suppose I post a picture on Facebook. Someone could easily download it or take a screenshot, so that person would have my picture and could print it out. In this way, that person would physically have the photo and even if the internet did not exist, that person would have my photo forever and therefore my photo would last forever.

Leave a Reply to Austin Minogue Click here to cancel reply.