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社交媒体还有救吗?

更新时间:2018-3-31 21:51:11 来源:千亿千亿国际娱乐官网 作者:佚名

Can Social Media Be Saved?
社交媒体还有救吗?

I don’t need to tell you that something is wrong with social media.

用不着告诉你社交媒体出了什么问题。

You’ve probably experienced it yourself. Maybe it’s the way you feel while scrolling through your Twitter feed — anxious, twitchy, a little world weary — or your unease when you see a child watching YouTube videos, knowing she’s just a few algorithmic nudges away from a rabbit hole filled with lunatic conspiracies and gore. Or maybe it was this month’s Facebook privacy scandal, which reminded you that you’ve entrusted the most intimate parts of your digital life to a profit-maximizing surveillance machine.

你自己很可能也经历过。这也许是你刷Twitter时的感觉——焦虑不安、有点厌世;也许是你看见一个孩子在看YouTube视频时的不安,你知道她距离充满疯狂阴谋和血腥的兔子洞仅有几个算法之遥;也许是本月Facebook的隐私丑闻,它在提醒你,你把自己数字生活中最私密的部分托付给了一个追求利润最大化的监视机器。

Our growing discomfort with our largest social platforms is reflected in polls. One recently conducted by Axios and SurveyMonkey found that all three of the major social media companies — Facebook, Twitter and Google, which shares a parent company with YouTube — are significantly less popular with Americans than they were five months ago. (And Americans might be the lucky ones. Outside the United States, social media is fueling real-world violence and empowering autocrats, often with much less oversight.)

民意调查表明,我们对最大的几家社交平台感到日益不满。Axios和SurveyMonkey前不久的一项调查发现,与五个月前相比,三家主要社交媒体公司——Facebook、Twitter和谷歌(它与YouTube隶属于同一个母公司)——在美国的受欢迎程度明显下降(美国人可能是幸运的。在美国以外的地方,社交媒体助长现实世界中的暴力,赋予独裁者们权力,通常受到的监管更少)。

But it would be a mistake to throw up our hands and assume that it has to be this way. The original dream of social media — producing healthy discussions, unlocking new forms of creativity, connecting people to others with similar interests — shouldn’t be discarded because of the failures of the current market leaders. And lots of important things still happen on even the most flawed networks. The West Virginia teachers’ strike and last weekend’s March for Our Lives, for example, were largely organized on Facebook and Twitter.

但如果我们摊摊手,认为这是无可奈何的事,那就错了。社交媒体最初的梦想是制造健康的讨论,释放新的创意形式,把兴趣相似的人联系起来,这一切不应该因为当前市场上领先企业的失败而被抛弃。甚至在缺陷最多的网络上,仍有很多重要的事情在发生。例如西弗吉尼亚州的教师罢工,以及上周末的“为我们的生命游行”(March for Our Lives),它们主要是在Facebook和Twitter上组织起来的。

The primary problem with today’s social networks is that they’re already too big, and are trapped inside a market-based system that forces them to keep growing. Facebook can’t stop monetizing our personal data for the same reason that Starbucks can’t stop selling coffee — it’s the heart of the enterprise.

当今社交网络的主要问题是,它们已经太过庞大,被困在一个以市场导向的体系中,被迫继续扩张。Facebook无法停止将我们的个人数据变现,就像星巴克无法停止销售咖啡一样——它是这个企业的核心。

Here are three possible ways to rescue social media from the market-based pressures that got us here.

市场压力已把我们带到如此境地,下面有三个办法,或许能将社交媒体从中解救出来。

Give Power to the People

把权力交给人民

In their book “New Power,” which comes out next week, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms write about the struggle between centralized, top-down institutions, which represent “old power,” and decentralized, bottom-up movements, which represent “new power.”

杰里米·海曼斯(Jeremy Heimans)和亨利·蒂姆斯(Henry Timms)在他们将于下周出版的《新势力》(New Power)一书中提到了集中的、自上而下的机构所代表的“旧势力”与分散的、自下而上的运动所代表的“新势力”之间的斗争。

Facebook, they write, is an example of a new power institution that serves old power interests. It harvests the creative output of billions of people and turns it into a giant, centralized enterprise, with most users sharing none of the economic value they create and getting no say in the platform’s governance.

他们写道,Facebook就是一个为旧势力服务的新势力机构。它收获了数十亿人的创造性成果,把它变成了一个集中的巨大企业,但大多数用户并没有获得自己创造的经济价值所产生的任何利益,对这个平台的治理没有任何发言权。

Instead, the authors ask, what if a social network was truly run by its users?

这两位作者问道,如果一个社交网络实质上由其用户来运营又会如何呢?

“If you’re contributing economic value to something of this much social consequence, you should share in the value you’re creating,” Heimans told me.

“如果你为产生如此庞大社会影响力的东西贡献了经济价值,那么你应该分享你创造的价值所产生的利益,”海曼斯在接受我采访时说。

Nathan Schneider, a professor of media studies at the University of Colorado, had a similar idea in 2016, when he proposed that Twitter users band together to buy the platform from its shareholders and convert it into a user-run collective, similar to the way a local credit union is run. People who made valuable contributions to the network, such as employees and power users, would receive bigger stakes and more voting power. And users would have a seat at the table for major decisions about the platform’s operations.

科罗拉多大学(University of Colorado)的媒体研究教授内森·施奈德(Nathan Schneider)在2016年也有过类似的想法,他建议Twitter用户联合起来,从股东手中买下该平台,把它转化为用户运营的集体企业,类似于地方信贷协会。那些对该网络做出巨大贡献的人,例如员工和有影响力的用户,将获得更大的利益和更多的投票权。用户将对该平台运营的重大决策拥有发言权。

Create a Social Federation

建立一个社交联盟

Another radical approach would be to make social networks work more like email — so that independent apps could seamlessly work together with one another, across a common protocol.

另一个激进的办法是让社交网络变得更像电子邮件,这样独立的应用之间就可以通过共同的协议无缝连接。

Instead of one big Facebook, a federated social network would look like clusters of independent nodes — Mombook and Athletebook and Gamerbook — all of which could be plugged into the umbrella network when it made sense. Rather than requiring a one-size-fits-all set of policies that apply to billions of users, these nodes could be designed to reflect users’ priorities. (A network for privacy hawks and one for open-sharing maximalists could have different data-retention rules, and a network for LGBT users and one for evangelical pastors could have different hate speech rules.) If a node became too toxic, it could be removed without shutting down the entire network.

加入联盟后的社交网络不是一个大的Facebook。它可能看上去像是聚在一起的独立节点——Mombook、Athletebook和Gamerbook——所有这些都可以在合适的时候接入这个综合网络。这些节点不必拥有一套适用于数十亿用户的一刀切政策,它们的设计可能就反映了用户的重点。(面向主张保护隐私的网络和极力支持公开分享用户的网络可能有不同的在数据保留规则;面向 LGBT用户的网络和面向福音派牧师的网络可能有不同的仇恨言论规则。)如果一个节点的不良影响太大,可将其移除,而不用关闭整个网络。

“Email is the most resilient social network on the internet,” Schneider said, “and the thing that allows it to adapt is that it’s an open protocol, and people build apps on top of it, and we evolve how we use it.”

 “电子邮件是互联网上适应能力最强的社交网络,”施耐德说,“它是一个开放协议,人们在它的基础上开发应用程序,所以它能够适应各种环境,而我们也逐步形成了使用它的方式。”

Versions of this kind of network already exist. Mastodon, a decentralized Twitter-like social network, has gotten more than 140,000 registered users since its debut in 2016. And various social networks based on the blockchain — the ledger system that underlies virtual currencies like bitcoin — have sprung up in recent months.

这样的网络已经存在了。类似于Twitter的去中心化社交网站Mastodon自2016年首次亮相以来,已经吸引了超过14万注册用户。最近几个月,基于区块链(一种账目系统,是比特币等虚拟货币的基础)的各种社交网络如雨后春笋般涌现。

Put Expiration Dates on Social Graphs

为社交图谱设置有效期

A single friend of mine once remarked that the major difference among dating apps like OKCupid, Tinder and Bumble wasn’t the way they were designed or the companies behind them — it was how long they had existed.

我的一个朋友曾经说过,像OKCupid、Tinder和Bumble这样的交友应用之间的最大区别不是它们的设计方式,也不是它们背后的公司,而是它们存在了多长时间。

New apps, she said, were more likely to attract interesting and smart people who were actually looking for dates. Older apps, by contrast, were eventually overrun with creeps and predators, no matter how well built they were.

她说,新应用更有可能吸引到那些有趣、聪明、真的想交友的人。相比之下,旧应用最终会被讨厌鬼和掠食者淹没,不管它们设计得有多好。

A similar theory might apply to social networks. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat all had plenty of issues in their early years, but they were by and large cleaner, with fewer types of exploitation and malicious behavior. Today, the enormous size and influence of these platforms have made them irresistible honey pots for bad actors, and many of our “social graphs” — Facebook’s term for the webs of digital connections we create — are clogged with years’ worth of clutter.

类似的理论可能也适用于社交网络。 Facebook, Twitter、YouTube、Instagram和Snapchat早期都有很多问题,但它们总的来说都更干净,利用和恶意行为的类型更少。如今,这些平台巨大的规模和影响力让它们成了坏家伙无法抗拒的蜜罐,我们的很多“社交图谱”——Facebook创造的术语,指的是我们创建的数字连接网络——充斥着多年积累的杂乱。

In a blog post last year, venture capitalist Hunter Walk proposed an interesting idea: a legally mandated “start over” button that, when pressed, would allow users of social networks to delete all their data, clear out their feeds and friend lists, and begin with a fresh account.

在去年的一篇博客文章中,风险投资人亨特·沃克(Hunter Walk)提出了一个有趣的主意:设置一个法律授权的“从头开始”按钮,按下这个按钮时,社交网络的用户可删除自己的所有数据,清空消息和好友列表,从一个全新的账户开始。

I’d go even further, and suggest that social networks give their users an automatic “self-cleaning” option, which would regularly clear their profiles of apps they no longer used, friendships and followers they no longer interacted with, and data they no longer needed to store. If these tools were enabled, users would need to take affirmative action if they didn’t want their information to disappear after a certain number of months or years.

我想再进一步,建议社交网络给用户提供自动“自我清理”的选项。这项功能会定期清理用户不再使用的应用上的个人资料,不再互动的朋友和粉丝,以及不再需要存储的数据。这些工具被启用后,如果用户不希望自己的信息在若干个月或若干年后消失,就必须主动采取行动。

Making social graphs temporary, rather than preserving them forever by default, would undoubtedly be bad for most social networks’ business models. But it could create new and healthy norms around privacy and data hygiene, and it would keep problems from piling up as networks get older and more crowded. It might even recapture some of the magic of the original social networks, when things were fresh and fascinating, and not quite so scary.

让社交图谱变成暂时的,而不是默认的永久保存,这种做法无疑对大部分社交网络的商业模式都不利。但它可以形成新的、健康的隐私和数据卫生规范;在社交网络变旧、变拥挤的过程中防止问题堆积。它甚至还能重新带回社交网络创立之初的一些魔力,那个时候,一切都还新鲜迷人,没有这么可怕。

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