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Rabbit Holes 🕳 #8
From the end of social media, to the need of worldview-building, digital purses and the diverse values of nature
This is Rabbit Holes #8. Get ready to dive into 5 perspective-shifting ideas and stories.
Rabbit Holes 🕳
🫂 The End Of Social Media
Yep! Social Media’s days are over! As everything becomes TikTokified, social media gets replaced by algorithm-based recommendation media.
“Last week, Meta announced that the Facebook newsfeed would be shifting towards an algorithmic, recommendation-based model of content distribution. […] Given Facebook’s relevance as the world’s largest social network, this change signals the end of social media as we’ve known it for the past decade and a half.”
In recommendation media, the best content for each consumer wins. This means that consumers are always being recommended and actively served content best suited for them, creating a superior consumption experience at all times. Whereas in social media, people see content from their friends regardless of the quality of the content, in recommendation media, content distribution is optimized for engagement. This results in very little waste in a feed, and consumption patterns are highly efficient.
This will have lots of implications. One major one is that it opens up lots of opportunities for true social networks and micro-communities again (i.e. forums, niche communities, messaging apps, WhatsApp groups….).
→ read the entire article
🤯 The Need For Worldview-Building
I came across the work of Alex Steffen and saw lots of parallels to the core idea and purpose of my newsletter. He has written this great piece about why updating the way we look at the world is so crucial right now, why it’s so hard and how we can get better at doing it. It’s a long read, but here are my favorite parts:
“We grew up in societies built upon certain assumptions about how the world works, and how the planet around us should be seen. We now know those assumptions were wrong in profound ways, and in one human lifetime we have altered the climate and biosphere, squandered vast natural riches and destabilized a myriad of systems we depend on. We have made the circumstances of our lives discontinuous with everything that came before us. The societies we live in are now catastrophically unsuited for the planet we’ve made. Yet we still see the planet around us with worldviews formed inside of those societies.”
“For most of us, it’s no longer enough to take a training now and then, to pick up a few new perspectives at a conference, to scan to the news in our field, to read the occasional provocative book. The speed and scale of the changes around us mean that the shortcomings in our worldview are themselves systemic. They are failures to see the pattern right, and new information can’t by itself correct those failures. We have to not only “think in systems” but learn to see new ones, with new interconnections.”
“All this is to say that the very process of worldview-building is undergoing an unprecedented shift.”
→ check out the entire article here
👛 The Digital Purse
Slowly but steadily web3 entrepreneurs are transforming crypto wallets into the core element of the next internet. Just think of your own personal, physical wallet. You have cash in it, credit or debit cards, your ID, driver’s license, membership cards, and loyalty cards of your go-to lunch places or cafes. It’s very private, mostly you access it, but you use it to get access to certain things or areas, provide identification or do some shopping etc. Well, Web3 wallets will most likely work very similarly…
“Web3 publishing platform Mirror launched subscriptions this week. Creators can now enable wallet-based subscriptions, which will allow audience members to get notified of new posts by email and allow creators to carry the wallet addresses of their readers with them across the web.
“In the same week, WalletConnect announced that they’re launching a WalletConnect Chat, which will allow you to DM any user using any wallet on any chain. Web3-native messaging tools like Bunches are working on similar problem spaces, putting wallets and tokens at the core of the next wave of creator and social tools.”
“As the expected features of a truly P2P web3 social stack get built out (notifications, friends lists, etc.), it will be interesting to see what features begin to develop that we don’t expect. Forefront continues to hold the position that the real unlock is in platformless communities and token networks, but we’re still in the early innings of what this might look like outside of “token-gated X.””
→ read Forefront’s latest newsletter issue
🐊 The Values Of Nature
The UN Biodiversity page is a great follow on LinkedIn. They recently posted research by the IPBES – often described as the “IPCC for biodiversity” – on how different worldviews and knowledge systems influence the way people interact with and value nature including this interesting framework:
“Biodiversity is being lost and nature’s contributions to people are being degraded faster now that at any other point in human history. […] This is largely because our current approach to political and economic decisions does not sufficiently account for the diversity of nature’s values.”
→ read the entire research here
🪧 Progress Studies: The 21s Century Ideology Killing Our Planet and Well-Being
Look, this newsletter is all about new ideas that help us create a better world. But sometimes, to truly understand the problems we are facing, we also have to point fingers at ideologies that do exactly the opposite. Also, we might often think that we simply have to replace old ways of thinking with new, young ones and the world will be a better place. But it’s more complex than that because there are several new ideas, several new visions of the future that are constantly competing with each other.
So let me introduce you to progress studies. Progress studies is a growing field of research, or better-said a growing network of people and ideas that in general aims to better understand the dynamics of progress and to ultimately speed progress up. While this might sound quite reasonable, the problem however is in how progress studies defines progress.
“For one, progress studies doesn't desire a world where humans live more harmoniously with nature. As Crawford [author of a popular progress studies blog] writes: ‘Humanism says that when improving human life requires altering the environment, humanity takes moral precedence over nature.’ It doesn’t necessarily want a world with less inequality and prefers to focus more on growing the pie than on how it’s divided. It also doesn't care much for societal norms that stand in the way of what it conceives of as progress – even ones shared by all cultures.”
“[…] In practice, the organisations and writers that make up the community almost exclusively focus on material advancements, such as boosting economic growth, improving and accelerating scientific research, and increasing housing supply ("Yimby-ism") and immigration (particularly "high-skilled").”
“The worldview of the progress community can also be inferred from not just what they focus on but where. Progress studies broadly prioritises growth on the technological frontier in rich, democratic countries like the US, rather than the catch-up growth that makes poor countries wealthier.”
“Crawford and Cowen also have a specific view of what kind of well-being they are aiming to encourage through progress. It's not happiness – or even the more established metric of "life satisfaction" – instead, their top priority is increasing "GDP per capita".”
Progress studies is supported by many influential Silicon Valley figures and was founded by American economist Tyler Cowen who runs a highly popular podcast and billionaire Patrick Collison, the co-founder and CEO of payment company Stripe, one of Silicon Valley’s biggest and most influential startups. All of this might explain and clarify certain developments and actions coming out of the Silicon Valley bubble.
→ read BBC’s deep dive into progress studies
That’s it for this week!