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I don’t mean brainstorming new apps that could replace outdated ones, the way Facebook did Myspace.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.

Posted in Privacy, Social Media and tagged , , , , , .


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. When I first read the title of the article, I was a bit skeptical. Basically, my whole life I have been told that nothing on the internet truly ever goes away so I need to be very careful in exactly what I say and post, or else it could come back to bite me. For the most part, this has remained my belief as I continue to hear stories of celebrities getting “cancelled” because controversial things come up from many years ago. Upon reading the article, the first paragraph made me stop and think. It brought up the idea that social media platforms are not going to last forever so, what comes next? I have never really thought about the idea that social media will eventually fade in the same way that the internet made television fade. This platform seems so prominent and such an integrated part of so many people’s lives that the idea that it will go out of style seems bizarre. The author fears that in whatever comes next, we are going to “lose our digital public spaces to state manipulation”. What is somewhat hopeful is that the new generation that has grown up with the internet is catching on easier that you really cannot believe everything that you read on the internet. Hopefully, this will prompt future platforms to provide people with more truthful and accurate data and give them the information they need to know that. John Scalzi predicts that this generation will be “internet pessimists and realists”, taking everything with a grain of salt. With this type of mentality making up a significant part of the customer base of any company that is online, this should encourage them to put out only truthful information and with the amount of misinformation circulating social media and news outlets right now, that would be very appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *