POLEMICS

Real conversations, Real people

Originally posted at Bit.sv on November 25, 2020 by Donald Mulders.

Given the growing criticism towards big tech social media platforms, the time seems ripe for new initiatives. Due to a lack of privacy, censorship, and deplatforming more and more people starting to recognize the downside of the silicon valley business model. Many good attempts to tackle this problem are now being built on Bitcoin sv. Over the last two years, we have seen the emergence of many new social media platforms and publishing tools utilizing Bitcoin sv. What sets them apart is that by using micropayments they can basically deliver the same user experience, but incentivized by a different business model. Some of them, given their professional look and feel, are ready to be adopted by a wider audience consisting of non-bitcoiners.

BUT...

There's always a ‘but’....

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Although, the idea that the internet can be fixed by adding micropayments or using the Bitcoin ledger overlooks other issues that made the internet of today such a bad experience. It only solves part of the problem. I think that one of the key reasons why today's internet experience has become so bad is that it plays into human weaknesses such as the need for attention and vanity by design. Social media is no longer about connecting people and ideas, but today it is all about lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Big Tech has an army of sociologists to figure out how to generate as much engagement and usage as possible tapping into such human weaknesses. In this battle for your screen time, they heavily rely on our addiction to dopamine. Even if this new micropayments business model no longer depends on advertisements, the inevitable need for profit maximization (more transactions equals more profit) will cause the same techniques as the current platforms will be utilized. And thus further eroding the structure of society.

SO HOW DO WE FIX THE INTERNET?

We need to acknowledge that micropayments only solve part of the overall problem and that the other part is not technical or financial in nature. The next generation of social media should aspire to focus on a different set of human needs and desires. I am convinced that this is possible. Most people in their daily lives are driven by so much more than money or biological impulses. People are curious, have a desire to pursue what is meaningful, are eager to learn, are willing to share personal insights and knowledge with one and another. Where the current generation of social media focuses only on quick and short messages, there is an increasing need for slow media formats that do not shy away from nuance, substantiation, and reflection. I see evidence of this in the rising popularity of podcasting where many people are willing to take the time to listen to 3-hour conversations.

AN IDEA FOR A NEW PLATFORM

So, what better way to start the internet renaissance on Bitcoin sv by sharing an idea for yet another new platform. Actually, the core idea itself, the art or polemics, is old, but I like to introduce a couple of specific rules to make this format a bit more suitable for the modern age. The rules for this platform are fairly straightforward. Unlike Twitter, where you can use a maximum of 280 characters, at Polemics you are required to use a minimum of 450 words or a 1000 words maximum. The second rule is that at the Polemics platform you address a specific person and challenge them to respond to your post. This is very different from current platforms as where anyone, anywhere can respond. This is also a bit different from existing formats that claim to focus on sharing more "quality ideas" such as Medium of Ted Talks. They mainly present ideas in a one-way direction, from author/speaker to an anonymous global audience. The Polemics platform would improve on this as it is not just a single viewpoint presented without being challenged. No, at polemics, a specific person is invited to respond and is kind of expected to try to refute your ideas or to provide new insights and perspectives. Another rule is you cannot use add-homonyms, ideas should be challenged on its content. The last rule is that you are not allowed to hyperlink to other sources. No, you have to explain everything in your own words. These rules aim to generate high-quality content that excites the minds of the readers. A platform like this could claim its own dominion in the existing social media landscape. While the platform itself doesn't exist yet, you could consider this as the first post.

MONETIZATION

The first post in a thread should always be free as it is an introduction to a thread and should contribute to people willing to continue to follow the expected exchange of thoughts after. Maybe the writer of the first post should even put up a bounty to incentivize a response. Any post in a thread after the first could certainly be placed behind a paywall, but it would be smart to make the first 200 words visible for free. The revenue from the paywall could then be split between the authors and the platform that hosts and stores the writings.

INVITATION

Since the platform doesn't have a home yet, unfortunately, I already have to break a rule. This post is not addressed to one specific person. No, this post is an invitation to anyone that likes to respond to the general idea, share insights, like to contribute, accommodate this idea on an existing platform, or even help build a new platform from scratch.

Please contact me at Polemics-sv@protonmail.com

Best Regards,

Donald


Photograph by NASA on The Commons.