The advent of the high-tech era, marked by the proliferation of personal computing devices in the 90s, has brought about a social transformation whose effects are still not entirely understood. Communication has been thrust into instantaneity: real-time chat and mobile devices have rendered "snail mail" and more static forms of voice communication to a bygone era, and thoughtful long-form writing has to fight its way across a caustic sea of attention-seeking headlines and quips written in record time.

Now the former can easily be viewed as positive. Distances between friends and loved ones seem vastly diminished when they're nearly always available, and the barriers to meeting people with similar ideas and hobbies or those who share a love for $NICHE_GROUP (which brings its own problems beyond the scope of this essay) is a testament to its staying power. This was the naive idealism that fueled the early years of the Internet, that this new connectivity between the peoples of the Earth would foster growth, collaboration, and transformation across the world. It's the very definition of human nature: that our existence is compelled by and thrives on social collaboration; the Internet was going to thurst that into a new age and open the floodgates of these new channels.

That sentiment isn't incorrect or even misplaced, but like all things idealistic, that idea falls apart when faced with the material reality of our current society. What was meant to usher in a new era of human connection lasted at most a decade. Once the foundation of this new mode of production was set, the ruling class pounced. Under the guise of promoting human connection, the nascent forms of social media sites we see today were built up. Whether or not $SOCIAL_MEDIA_SITE was malicious or idealistic isn't the point, it's what it led to and was transformed into. Like any human creation in the Age of Capitalism, if it can be made profitable, it will be commodified.


Viewed from the imperial core, there seem to be three main social media sites that top the list in terms of popularity:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter

Others that are regularly bunched up (and some even overtaking the "Big 3") include TikTok, Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit, and even chat platforms like Discord and WhatsApp.

These sites are all entirely owned by some corporation, whether they are publically traded entities or not. Corporations do not exist to provide human necessities, they're the means to and end for the ruling class to dominate over the majority by subjugation through wage-labor and the generation of profit; they do not provide these services out of the goodness of their hearts or with the idealist spirit of the early Internet.

These services' management are entirely out of the hands of those who use it. They are, in essence, walled-off meadows giving the illusion of genuine human communication, while their masters view these meadows from above, regulating them to cater to the whims of not its users but those who stand to gain from its profit.

These sites feed off this interaction, draining it and disfiguring it into a mockery of what it means to be human. New "features" are brought in regularly to attempt to garner more attention away from their competitors, denigrating would-be connections to a barrage of dopamine-spiking likes and upvotes. The meadows hide what in actuality is a battleground of individuals fighting each other for clout, a cacophany of voices shouting over each other while advertisers take every piece of data they can to churn out as much profit as possible.

Every word, every post, every connection is wrapped in a straitjacket. "Freedom" is just a concept spouted off to promote individualism which ends up strengthening the bottom line. And while true collectivity and connection can genuinely be made in these meadows, it will always be a shell of itself watched over by the ruling class. They have taken this core aspect of human nature and commodified it, packaging it into a bastardization of its true purpose and alienating us from this fundamental aspect.


Scrolling through social media has become such a rote task it isn't even questioned anymore or negatively viewed by segments of the people. Consumption of this media has expanded to include everyone from children to the elderly. It seems at this point that its tendrils have snaked its way across all of society, and it's incredibly hard to avoid. Nearly every form of media has found a home in social media; the use of RSS feeds, newsletters, and message boards are viewed much the same as items from antiquity.

By commodifying human connection and placing every individual on a soapbox they don't even control and subject to the whims of capital, we are estranged from our own words. Our voices and relationships no longer belong to us, but to the ruling class in control of these platforms. We have become alienated from the material history of our species: collective thought, communication, and organization.

And as a result, we modify our own voices to fit into the constraints imposed on us. Much how capitalism has pushed the idea that hobbies are only worthwhile if they can be made profitable, social media has sucked the life of our voices and injected back in the idea that we are unimportant and worthless unless our page analytics are successful. That somehow our worth is tied to the "profitability" of our social media pages, gamifying our lives to the point of satire. This insidious mentality is near inescapable.


Social media has become an echo chamber of diillusion and artificiality, of constantly fighting algorthims that hinder sincere communication. Pockets exist online of attempts to fight back against bourgeois-approved methods of interperonal communication: tilde sites (like this one), the Fediverse and its sprawling network of social media sites, even federated chat protocols like XMPP or Matrix. Any of these have the potential to offer more feelings of community and foster genuine communication.

Unfortunately, they're simply a band-aid. As long as the bourgeoisie remain the ruling class, attempts like these will remain niche, with any benefits relegated to a small subset of people. There is too much at stake for them to cede control of communications in the social media age.

Although these alternatives and their FLOSS backing pave a vision into our future communication, the only way to have these visions realized and not have them fall into a forgotten heap of idealism is through the mass awakening of a working class bent on the destruction of this dictatorship of the ruling class and the creation from its ashes a state of people power. Only then can the masses regain control of their communications, unshackled from its commodification and control by those who wish to hinder it and twist it into a byproduct of capital.