|Mutiny web platform|
Copyright © 2013-2014 by Zack Smith.
About MutinyMutiny is my web application that I intended as an answer to Google+, Twitter, VK, Facebook, and similar services. As it stands today, Mutiny has a raft of features, including blogging, microblogging, and even simple project management.
Mutiny is currently 12,600 lines of PHP code and comments.
GoalsThe original goals were:
TrustWhy do social networks violate their own users' trust?
Before the Edward Snowden revelations, Silicon Valley was assumed to be acting solely out of greed and cynicism. So when, for example, Google scanned your emails for keywords, it was argued that they were doing it to improve ad relevance, which sounds benign, doesn't it? Anyway, you agreed to have your data scanned when you agreed to the fine print that you never read. This is unfortunately what passes for ethics at many Internet companies.
However thanks to Snowden's superior understanding of ethics, we now know that the NSA paid millions to ensure that the tech titans complied with the PRISM surveillance program.
In addition to whatever companies agreed to do for the NSA, the agency has also tapped the Internet upstream, and therefore has been able to track users for instance using Google's tracking cookies. Washington Post article Dec 10 2013 You might web-search for QUANTUM COOKIE.
It now seems like a no-brainer that the reason the real names policies of Google and Facebook came about was actually to provide more accurate data to the NSA.
What does social networking really do for people?Scientific researchers have been looking at what Facebook, as a representative of social networking, does for people and what it doesn't do. A coherent image is beginning to form.
In England, Dr. Sam Roberts found that Facebook does not win you new friends, nor does it improve your existing relationships.
In the USA, social networking has been linked with two aggressive aspects
of narcissism: grandiose exhibitionism and entitlement/exploitativeness.
In Australia, researchers Ryan and Xenos determined that narcissistic, exhibitionist, and extrovert personalities are drawn to Facebook.
In the USA, researchers Toma and Hancock, at U. Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell respectively, found that users are drawn to Facebook to affirm their self-worth especially after a blow to their ego, i.e. they use it to see how
In the USA, researcher Holmes of the University of Southern California found that younger people are more likely to lie about themselves on Facebook and to believe the lies of others, establishing that there is a
Researchers Kirschner and Karpinski, located in the Netherlands and the USA respectively, found that students who are
Facebook users have lower GPAs and study less.
This correlation between poor academic performance and studying habits on the one hand and Facebook use
on the other was confirmed in a larger study by Junco, in the USA.
Boston researchers Nadkarni and Hoffman found that the need to belong and the need for exhibitionism drive Facebook use.
In the UK, a survey by Anxiety UK found that 51% of social media users
felt bad about themselves after using social networking websites.
Weren't we always sharing?The
newphenomenon of social networking is sometimes discounted as nothing new. Before there was Google+, before Facebook, before Myspace, and before Friendster, people shared personal data online and with basically no guarantees of privacy. Even going back 20 years, there was then (and still is) Usenet, which was a distributed collection of thousands of online forums. There was then (and still is) IRC (Internet relay chat). And there has been email throughout.
Yes, some people were narcissistic exhibitionists on Usenet. Yes, people shared too much information sometimes. But much has changed:
Weren't we always interacting at a distance?Non face-to-face interactions are often unhealthy. They easily degrade to shows of status, self-deception, mutual deception (fantasy buy-in), fake praise, baseless put-downs, blind belief and stalking.
Non face-to-face interactions have never worked well.
They didn't 30 years ago when they took place in dial-up
Interaction at a distance has always been problematic for many reasons. The online world does not make it work better but amplifies the problems.
What other pitfalls are there?You don't have to be a research scientist to uncover some truths about the perils of social networking. You just have to observe and think, as these people have:
MIT professor Sherry Turkle says we are increasingly alone together: NY Time article.
It is also fairly obvious and established that social networking facilitates cyberbullying, stalking, and trolling by cretins and cowards. This was true to an extent 20 years ago, but today because people put more intimate data online, abuses are arguably worse.
Social networking has also been credited with helping to establish an epidemic of bragging, not just by children but also from parents who ought to know any better but don't seem to:
Project statusFor now I have paused development on Mutiny and if/when I continue with it, it will be somewhat different.
In the end, many people have a need (practical or not) for self-expression and self-presentation. Increasingly, young people are trying to find alternatives to mainstream social networking sites, particularly to avoid their parents, and are embracing a different paradigm: messaging apps.
DemonstrationMy demonstration of Mutiny is here.