Curated Resource ( ? )

To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks | WIRED

To Mend a Broken Internet, Create Online Parks | WIRED

my notes ( ? )

"Our digital public sphere has been failing ... [but] History offers a proven template for how to build healthier public spaces."

Filter Bubble author Pariser hearkens back to Walt Whitman's creation of NY's Green Park, when "New York City had no public parks ...only walled commercial pleasure gardens for those who could afford". He saw American democracy needed "spaces to celebrate individuality and build collective identity... help weave a greater, more egalitarian “we”... Functional public spaces ... allow us to assemble, to share common experiences, and to demonstrate that ... individual struggles are actually the result of unjust systems".

Today we use social media platforms, but they "weren't designed to serve as public spaces. They were designed to monetize attention... [and] make poor quasi-public spaces for three reasons:"

  • frictionlessness is good for business, but bad for public spaces, which are useful "precisely because we run into people we’d normally avoid, encounter events we’d never expect, and have to negotiate with other groups that have their own needs [creating] ... social connections ... critical in binding communities together across lines of difference". This takes time - but VC-backed platforms are in a rush - akin to neighbourhood gentrification
  • Command-and-control by "Boy Emperors with huge blind spots ... public squares designed by a small group of white dudes of a certain age is not going to serve everyone equally or well... Great public spaces are owned by everyone and therefore ought to be designed for everyone"
  • "public spaces require constant, active care and maintenance by skillful stewards ... moderators and editors ... balancers of freedom, inclusion, and safety"

The article doesn't call for today's platforms to be dismantled, but "it’s unreasonable to expect for-profit corporations ... to accommodate every digital need... [we need] digital public infrastructure... parks, libraries, and truly public squares on the internet".

Which means meeting 3 challenges: money, ideally from a tax on targeted advertising, talent and willpower.

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The above notes were curated from the full post

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