From my point of view there is now a convergence of Social Media Platforms and Networks that have been formed over time that have resulted in what I am calling The Doldrums (a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art). I think this best summarizes the kinds of things we see going on among the stacks – baffling decisions being made by Apple, Google, and Twitter. And it even emanates out into the political race (an oxymoron for certain) going on in America. People and platforms have lost their moorings and come to a complete standstill, waiting for the next trendy breeze, next event, next anything, to tell them where to set sail.
It’s difficult to even recognize the landscapes, if I may press the metaphor. America looks more like Russia every day. Google stopped playing nice a long time ago and had to rename itself Alphabet so that we might forget. (Kind of like Blackwater – anyone know what their name is now?, Academi, – try and get your head around that one). Apple has offended three of their user bases in one month – putting out a ridiculously sized tablet for the price of an iMac, watches that don’t do anything anyone thought they would, and killing off the 4s by upgrading it to IOS9 (company response, “well, you’ll just have to move up to the 6s”). National response – class action lawsuit. Users 0/ Lawyers 10. Amazon won’t sell Apple products.Twitter abandoning their user base in favor of marketing algorithms. And on and on.
It’s all rudderless – CEO’s bailing from Yahoo, etc. to points North. The dreamers and visionaries who started this revolution are dead or retired and Boards now run the show. We know how that works out – see Wallstreet. And the users and sheep (Applers, can you say, “Baa, baa, baa?”) left behind, caught in the doldrums as well. And as companies disappear over the virtual horizon users will discover that clicking on that “Accept” button gave away all their content in the EULA. And now the company is around the bend, under some new name, some new merger, some new corporate ‘personhood’ no longer accountable for nor responsible for all your data. Lovely.
Time for users to set their own sails, form their own networks and agree to an ethos that promotes sustainability, resiliency, (g)local ground-up action within the communities in which they live, a collection of collaborators, cooperators, team players, forward thinkers committed to enabling and enhancing a world in which their children and my grandchildren and children unseen and unmet can live a life of freedom in order to fulfill their dreams and visions, whatever they might be. The user base on Facebook now outnumbers the population of China. Time to envision Digital Democracy, or maybe some entirely new political platform – Holocracy perhaps? Who knows. But it is definitely time for something new, NOW!
So maybe it’s a good place to be right now – The DOLDRUMS. Set your sails and pray for a mighty wind.