It’s been said that sub-divisions out in the ‘burbs are often named for the things they replaced. Willow Creek Estates? No Willows. No Creeks. Deer Run? No running deer, just painful repetitions of contractor contemporary architecture and sterile green lawns.
What has the staff here at The Analog Undergrounding thinking sub-divisions and errors of substitution? The newest emperor with no clothes, Social Media. No social and damn little media worthy of the name. If it really followed the error of substitution called out above there would be something about civil in the name, but that assumes a level of nuance far beyond the capabilities of the, well, um, medium. If accuracy were a thing for social media, we’d probably be talking more about anti-social media here.
If it is not what it claims to be, why not just say the hell with it and move on to something a bit more self-aware and authentic? We do get to pick our friends.
And there’s the rub. We’ve got a number of friends here at Analog Underground Central who either never did get on board the social media train or pretty quickly reached the conclusions implied above and got off without a backward glance. But we’ve got far more friends who are on that train and what’s more, given our various gypsy ways that train is the most easily available mode of connection.
So what’s a good digirati to do?
One could put on virtual hip-waders and an OSHA 29CFR1910 grade respirator and wade on in.
Been there and done that. Didn’t pan out too well. Turns out neither hip waders nor respirators provide much intellectual, emotional or spiritual protection. Almost wiped out the staff at the dear old Analog Underground.
We’re nothing if not persistent though, so after some small amount of deliberation, lots of late nights that mainly involved playing video games, and ample amounts of procrastination, the staff came up with a different kind of social media appropriate set of protective gear. Given the virtual nature of social media all the usual Analog Underground stipulations and warnings apply and a more appropriate sanctioning body, if we were prone to such a thing, would likely be something like The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders rather than good old Analog OSHA.
Be that as it may, here goes:
Item 1: Class 1 Gloves of Deliberate Typing (GDTs)
The GDTs are a critical first line of defense against unwonted escalations at worst, and aimless, endless clicking at best. If one is not able to find adequate Class 1 GDTs, an appropriate substitute is to just keep one’s hands off the keyboard or touch screens. This will significantly crimp one’s on-line velocity, but that’s kind of the point. The self-inflicted on-line wounds cut deepest and take the longest to recover from, assuming they are ever even acknowledged.
Item 2: Reinforced, Ballistic Strength Distortion Guards (RBS-DGs)
Assuming GDTs are well in hand (we are soooo clever), the next necessary line of defense is the RBS-DGs. Given the Digital nature of Social Media, it is, at its very best, at least one step removed from Analog reality and the affiliated laws of physics, scientific fact, and inevitable consequences. So basically everything in Social Media is, at its very best, tinged with distortion. Everything. Every. Thing.
If one is extremely lucky, that distortion comes as part of a well engineered, self-aware, and productively used tool set to illuminate something important, kind of like really well written fiction.
Unfortunately, as far as we know, no one who spends a lot of time on social media considers themselves consistently and extremely lucky (despite being portrayed there as so), making those RBG-DGs critical in detecting and deferring the LSD shaming, pseudo-data driven distortions common on Social Media. Note that RBG-DGs tend to lose effectiveness when employed without GDTs.
Item 3: Echo Proof HazMat Suit (EP-HzMS)
The EP-HzMS is a necessary accoutrement to balance out the drastic perceived changes in urgency and content quality one encounters when getting outside of one’s own echo-chamber. Note that the EP-HzMS does not protect from the deleterious effects not unlike intense exposure to radiation that accrue from remaining inside one’s own echo-chamber too long. It only provides a survivable environment for expeditiously exiting said chamber on a periodic basis.
Item 4: Validation Ready Grounding Tether (VR-GT)
Though not technically an absolute requirement for safe Social Media navigation, a VR-GT will significantly enhance the operation of the above Social Media gear. It provides a reliable means of tying anything encountered in Social Media back to wider context in the outside Analog world.
That’s what we’ve got in our lockers here at The Analog Underground. So remember, next time you head off into Anti-Social Media, suit up and be safe.