Social Media and big Data have sort of become a lot like an awesome party that we were told about for weeks by some of your friends. “Come on in, free food, free booze, plenty of hot girls and guys, and did I mention great music? It’s going to be so amazing, because now everyone will see how awesome everyone else is, and everyone will love each other... and weed will just instantly become legal, and racism will stop. Oh and celebrities, have we got celebrities... (accept it’s almost always a marketing team working for their agent, and they just want to sell you things...and a lot of things they sell will be probably useless and occasionally harmful.. and when it is they will never apologize, and then will eventually say or do something that makes you wish you didn’t ever know of them in the first place.) ... but all your real* friends are going to be there, you don’t want to be left out do you?”
*-real in this case being that sort of nice guy or girl you met at a party that one time in college, and since then have never actually interacted in any meaningful way... “real”.
Then you go to the party and while there is some free stuff, a lot of it is crap, and not nearly as nice as they promised. They start rifling though our coats and wallets and purses the moment you come inside, but they don’t tell you they are, or when they do it’s very quick, and theres’ no way you heard every warning they gave you....then at the back of the house, they start selling our id’s to crooks, and anyone else who can pay, including some very nice Russians. Meanwhile there are people following us around in the party writing down and recording everything we do, these same people start trying to give us things we never asked for, but they keep pushing them into our faces, “because...” one of them says “the alorithim says you fit the profile”.
So many people start pouring into this party that it get’s super crowded and as you start to think about looking for the exit, a group of ISIS recruiters, Neo-nazi skin heads, white nationalists, and trump supporters start sending us memes and are asking why you haven’t liked their last couple of posts about the global Zionist conspiracy, and how 9/11 was aninside job didn’t you know? Then a friend you came in with starts telling you how the earth is Flat, and reptilian aliens built the pyramids, and then you tuned him out because clearly he lost it. Every man for himself at this point. However when you try to leave, you realize that leaving is a lot harder and convoluted, because who can do without a google account anyways?
Then, as you decide to try to make the best of it and take a selfie, and a breath because well... life, someone calls you a fat pig, and your wife who you met while at the party, can’t even show off her latest dress without sexist ‘get in the kitchen’ comments being flung at her every other second by random hate filled guys and even a couple of women. Now some of the comments are becoming open threats, it’s getting dangerous and wierd...er. Then another old friend starts sending you inappropriate gross pictures, then sends you a text asking “u like?”, then later “sorry account was hacked” when you didn’t respond. Then top it all off another old friend that you met once at a party three years ago starts literally throwing stuff and calling everyone the ‘n’ word, but he’s not using the ‘a’ he’s using the hard ‘r’. Yikes. You’re still here though, why exactly are you still here?
Quickly blocking them out you start to head to the door, but you see that your kids who you’ve boasted about to everyone are now also at the party, and are being talked to by a very strange guy in glasses and holding a camera who is promising them candy... but theres’ no time to deal with that, because all of your older relatives suddenly want to send you a picture of Obama and Clinton eating a watermelon...with a vaguely racist, sexist, and homophobic caption...and wait...is that your Aunt Gloria hanging out with a strange Trump supporter? Nope... it’s just uncle Bob... the one who used to complain about immigrants, (even though he came from Jamaica when he was 23, and he’s wearing a MAGA hat, and also throwing white supremacist gang sign despite being a middle aged black man from a carribean island. This is taking bad turn... you should go.
You’ve made up your mind to leave, but figure you’ll just hang out on the back porch taking nice pictures and occasionally liking other peoples as well, but then you realize that the entire house has been built by some of the worst people on the planet, they’ve got literally every device you own hardwired, and that it’s gotten so big, that leaving it is virtually impossible, unless you literally want to move to the hills and grow crops. Meanwhile the hosts of the party now have the means to control and manipulate almost every nation on earth from tax policies, to abortion rights, to even credit rating and financial systems.
Yet even more people are flooding into the party and these new people are from places that have very few civil rights, and occasionally some of them are taken out the back and they don’t return. They didn’t look happy to go, but the hosts aren’t acknowledging it, they are all just smiling and nodding and going on about privacy rights... and you don’t want to think about it, because it would mean that you’d have to acknowledge that there are bigger grosser problems going on then wondering if “OK Boomer” is too soft or too hard on your mom and dad.
Then one of the now fabulously wealthy hosts of the party (who earned his money after going through your pockets and selling your information to the highest bidder) announces how sorry he is about the terrible lies that have been spread with his complete knowledge, and promises that while it might, probably, likely happen again... it’s ok, and he’ll feel really bad about it, but that right now he’s got a dinner to go to with Ben Shapiro, Donald Trump, and Stephen Miller, but everything is under control.
IT’s sort of like that.
It’s been time to leave the party for a while now, but you’re still here... why are you still here? Why?