Updated: Jun 11
I was literally talking to an empty room.
After high school (2013), I set to the internet because I thought that the mainstream press, schools, and colleges would never let me get my ideas out. I started a WordPress blog. I would share my content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Experience Project. I thought I would bypass the gatekeepers of information and have the last laugh. In 2014, I joined Brian Johnson's Entheos. Experience Project and Entheos shut down down the line. In 2016, I started posting on Instagram. In 2017, I joined LinkedIn. In 2019, I joined Medium. In 2020, I started this blog. And nothing came out of any of it. No one even knows I did all this. I got little to no views across all the platforms. I was literally talking to an empty room. Now, I have finally understood why.
The Internet is not free of gatekeepers. The gatekeepers are people who write the algorithms.
The algorithms do not look for quality but for engagement. You see a post not because it is good but because it has already been liked by others. This system soon turns into a popularity contest. Since average minds like average ideas, most of what you see trending on social media has to be average. This is why Marianne Williamson has 554K followers on Instagram while Taylor Swift has 210M. In comparison to M. Williamson, T. Swift posts nothing valuable. If you are above average, social media is bound to make you sick. Since quality content is liked by quality people only, who are less in number, you are unlikely to see posts from top scientists, poets, authors, and philosophers. Their content would never rise to the top. This system is very similar to democracy. The popular choice is seldom the wisest one.
Today, I have already deleted most of my social media accounts. I still have Instagram and LinkedIn but no longer post anything. I have accepted the reality that social media will never work for me. I am not what social media algorithms are looking for. I can't post vain comments on other people's stupid posts. I can't like my own posts, nor can I aggressively like other people's comments on my posts. I can't make small talks in dm. I don't care to search for hastags. I am not autistic. It is very similar to accepting that I would not succeed in college as a non-liberal.
Every system is designed to produce what it does, via the means of its algorithm. The algorithm at Harvard selects and promotes talent. TED's algorithm promotes people who have great ideas. Social media algorithms promote vain, empty, and stupid people, which is why Kim Kardashian is more famous on social media than Jordan Peterson. Social media is not designed to promote thinkers and philosophers.
In other words, if your content is getting a lot of organic exposure on social media, it might just be mediocre. On LinkedIn, I almost never see good content, because good content does not get enough engagement from average minds. Being on LinkedIn is a very draining and exhausting experience because 9/10 posts are mediocre or stupid. I feel as if the number of followers a person has on LinkedIn is inversely proportional to his intelligence. I would personally never hire a writer/proofreader/editor from LinkedIn if his/her content is getting a lot of engagement. It might be a testament to his/her mediocrity.
Where will I be heading? I am looking for gatekeepers that look for quality, not clickability or popularity.
Internet does not and can not give everyone a voice. It can definitely give everyone the illusion that they have a voice. They have only as much voice as they have in an empty room -- complete freedom to say whatever they want. No one's listening though. Now, get off the internet.