Why You Left Social Media: A Guesswork | Sofia Samatar

This piece has some poignant reflections and observations on the interpersonal dynamics of relationships formed between a certain kind of people (writers? intellectuals?) with a certain kind of acadmic background (theory?) who meet and come to feel affection for each other in certain kinds of online “spheres” (so-called “social media”).

What happens when someone leaves the sphere that contained your relationship? How do you understand the ambiguity and complexity of their motivations? How do you stay “connected” (related? affected?) across spheric boundaries?

In the light of recent reading, I particularly appreciate the author’s use of “weather” to evoke the “atmosphere” of these spaces. And I remember the feeling I had, when I deactivated my Facebook account, that as much as I loved individual people there, I was fleeing a toxic environment.

I felt or imagined that some kind of mind-numbing nerve gas had been released into the social psychosphere, and it was essential that I stop breathing it in, move to higher ground as quickly as possible, even if it cost me most of my “connections,” and even if I had to build the higher ground myself. This is what I felt or imagined—my metaphor.

It is interesting to encounter a sensitive perspective from the “other side.” A breath of fresh air?


Well, this was interesting…


I think this guy is right about destructive social media. I also think his belief in rational actor theory, though sincere, is a bit bogus. Show me the money first and then lets sit down and allocate funds efficiently. I dont think this is even remotely very likely. I realize he is talking to people who want to be business leaders and he is using a theory they rely upon to generate wealth but also they fuck things up too. Alan Greenspan called it irrational exuberance! There is no rational actor calling the shots, it is a fiction.

I do agree that we can control our own addictions if we can re-direct our attention to what we value and create initiatives that reflect those values. This is not going to happen by sitting in a passive state, wishing someone would do something. Cosmos is such an effort and I enjoy participating here. I notice a lot of fair play and kindness coming through our conversations, which is why I have left FB world, and give my attention to this community

We are here to influence each other and use gentle persuasion. You dont need a lot of money to do that.


Hear, hear!
Not that there isn’t more to accomplish but, as I’ve said before and will undoubtedly say again, even actively modeling a better internet here is a crucial step.

Now, now, John - you know better than to challenge the underpinning assumption of modern economic philosophy! Whatever will we do without our games theory?!? :scream: :grin:
Mr. Palihapitiya says some nice things about re-humanizing the approach to business (longer and more stable rates of growth, retention of people vs. “portfolio careerism”, even retraining the brain to increase capacity for long-term vision by fleeing social media) but he also acknowledges in between the lines that his convictions are the product of his unique experiences (as they are with all of us). So I agree with you on the likelihood of getting a table full of ‘change the system from within the system’ folks to reverse the trends. More power to those so inclined (for however long they can resist the corruption that comes with it… LOL), but I’m not going to hold my breath either.


Mr. Pahilhapitiya may feel guilty about the role he played in the creation of a company(which he wont let his children use) while he laughs all the way to the bank. I just find his make a fast buck pitch to the chorus a dumb rehash of what has made America stupid. Now that he has made the big bucks he can make his fifty year plan. I’m sorry but I think this guy has a lot of charm and much hubris.

In the meantime, back at the ranch, we will be doing the Cafe today and I am showing off all of our Maps of Time. It would be nice to see you there , TJ. We will, as you have suggested, take up the task of re-modelling the Internet, a very worthwhile effort, that becomes a duty and a pleasure!


I haven’t had time to read through the article nor these responses (nor the Cosmos Cafe stuff–ach! but these are all indexed and ready for me to have some time! ((is that a thing?)))

BUT really want to add this perspective by Magenta Imagination Healer to the mix. She’s been building Bloom Network (formerly Evolver) for years and is super deep into how technologies can facilitate essential, necessary, human-scale transformations of a regenerative kind.


“The problem is, you think you have time.” ~ Fake Buddha

Needless to say, I resonate strongly with Magenta’s feelings about Facebook. Yet, while we have both focused on the experiential soul-suckage of that particular platform, I wonder if the political implications of its social monopoly are even more troubling:

I know that Minds.com and other, blockchain based approaches to social media are trying to get around the problems of corporate/governmental censorship and control, yet from what I’ve seen (at least on Minds) the user experience is even worse. Sure, there’s ‘free speech,’ but these non-regulated spaces easily become havens for spammers, reactionaries, and trolls.

Synereo, Holochain, and Akasha still strike me as promising projects, but they are very early in their development. There is no place yet to go there, for the average, or above-average yet non-technical, user. This is why I have focused my energies on trying to build a community here on the forum. If it serves as a transitional way-station towards some fully-functioning, free planetary internet, it will have done its job…at least for us. We shall see. Perhaps in the new year we will find some points of synergy with the Bloom network. I admire that Magenta has put so much time, care, and thought into developing their project; and I also appreciate their focus on local, face-to-face connections.

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Future Thinkers and their community is a parallel universe, in step with this Cosmos project. I have not checked in there in about a year, but might be worth checking out to gather some ideas. They seem to be interested in blockchain and the more techno-future side of things. Their podcast episodes are pretty solid, with some quality guests, though not necessarily for the curmudgeon or the Gebsarian, perhaps…and signing up for the community has the “facebook signin” option, which contradicts this thread a bit!

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Thanks for the reminder about Future Thinkers. I have been following their podcast off and on for a while. Mike and Euvie have a great ‘meta-mind’ going on together, where they seem to be picking up on each other’s thoughts almost seamlessly. Their overall presentation is well-designed, too (something I aspire to, though I feel we’re a bit messier here, lol :blush:). I have not visited their community space…it’s all I can do to keep with what’s already going on here. Their recent talks with Daniel Schmachtenberger have been interesting—he is an interesting dude, as neuro-optimized as they come, for what it’s worth. I’m glad to see a thousand flowers blooming, and hope these various experiments, with their respective foci, can continue to learn from and enage with each other, in whatever ways are useful.

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Yes, the external design is beautiful there, but the community is a bit tough to navigate…has a less intimate feel. That is what Cosmos and the Infinite Conversations do best, So feel proud of your supposed mess…it makes sense to me!